Is A Dead Hero


baxter_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif leland_icon.gif jack_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif rocket_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

The crew of the Delight, refugees, the National Guard, SCOUT, NYPD and pirates.

Scene Title …Is A Dead Hero
Synopsis NYPD is called in on what appears to be a pirate raid on a vessel in the harbor … all is not as is appears.
Date March 1, 2009

NYPD HQ, and Hudson River

It's been an auspicious start to the year for the NYPD, insofar as business would be booming if they were in any other industry. As it is, the hours only seem to get longer and the available crises progressively worse, and the only real way to cope is to adapt. One hour at his desk with nothing three-dimensional to deal with and Baxter was literally climbing the walls. Only sat the fuck down after Harvard told him to.

Half an hour until sundown, the sky is bleeding orange in through the window and he's migrated from his own seat to the satellite console that's part of their techy uplink to the Coast Guard. Mostly, people only drive-by to check that he hasn't figured out how to switch the channel to porn, or something, but as professionalism would have it— he hasn't.

Jordan Baxter is just looking at the brightly color-coded dots and triangles inching around on the plain LCD map. Fixedly. After a moment, he snatches an arm out behind him, snags at the nearest click of heels passing by, indifferent to whether it's another hovering chaperon or somebody on their way to doing something constructive. Lucky for him, it's Elisabeth Harrison. "Hey Lizzie," he greets, tilting his head backward to see her upside-down. "Doesn't that dot look like it's more on our side of the border than Staten Island's side?"

The monitor depicts a battle by sea. And it is on their verymost physical //edge //of the jurisdiction. Squint a little. The resolution isn't that great, but if you excuse the blinking symbols and text label that indicate an outbreak of Evolved violence and ongoing piracy, SOS, civilians on-board—

Down by the riverfront, a stone's throw from the pier and its company vessels, three militiamen are nodding in commiseration with one Detective Daubrey. Over the course of the past half hour, Leland has come to find that the National Guards' boys aren't really as incompetent or uppity as some of the indigenous Force like to think. Two sailors worth their salt; a medic who was Premed before he got his EMT certification. Here for what would easily be identified as the right reasons and appropriate qualifications. Leland hasn't yet, for example, met a single one of them who is Evolved.

"Goes to fucking show." A rough hand slaps down on the sheet of cheap tabloid newsprint, where the latest Chinatown clusterfuck went down, concluded with a digram of Triad dynasties; on the opposite half of the pagespread, one Evolved SWAT Officer Thomas Keown has his arrival celebrated with open speculation and veiled criticism. "It's the worse form of fucking nepotism, isn't it?"

Grabbed in passing, Elisabeth is unfazed by either Baxter's tendency to call her Lizzie *or* being grabbed by a man who hangs upside down from the ceiling. "Hey, Batman," she greets mildly, turning obligingly to look at where he's pointing. Squints a lot. "Weeeeeelllll…." She eyes his upside-down face. "You gotta be kiddin' me. You wanna go out *there*? Like we don't have enough shit on our plates yet?" But there's an SOS, civvies on board, *and* Evolved crap. She sighs. "I didn't wanna be in the Coast Guard," she laments without any heat. "Fuuuuuuck. All right, I'll tell Harvard we're out, you round up whoever's going with," she tells him with a roll of the eyes. "And I don't care *who* goes, I'm fuckin' driving!" she hollers over her shoulder.

Leland is chewing a piece of gum, of all things, as he watches the Guardsmen, one eye half-squinted, hands dug in his pockets. "Eh, you know. They're trying to wield these people like weapons. Dangerous, dangerous shit. We should just find a way to repress 'em all if you ask me." Ah, a relief to be shooting the shit with like-minded gentleman. "So none've you've seen this fucker, ay?" He holds up the photo again. A petty criminal who suddenly got a lot better at B&E. Suspected to have developed an Evolved ability. Lives on a houseboat, hence why he's working the waterfront.

Capitulation before Baxter even has to make with the big eyes. That's something. He shows Liz a wide, wicked grin and bounds out of his chair in an acrobatic fashion that can't possibly be attributed entirely to having the best legs for five miles in every direction. "I'll never say you didn't get me anything," he tells her, flitting off through the room. She should probably know better than to point out that she hasn't give him anything yet. He'd bend those words, and really, he has precious little brains to waste on anything but rounding up troops.

By the time she reaches the car park, Baxter is sitting on the squadcar, armor up, rifle on shoulder, with no apparent plan to get into shot gun. No apparent plan to get in at all. "I don't know," he says, open his arms expansively. Fifty yards behind him, the van load of other SCOUT operatives is hurtling off toward the coast. "Tactically speaking, why drive at all?"

The bulletin is out in a matter of seconds, lighting up the network between Police Department, Coast Guard, National Guard, and HomeSec — more as a courtesy than anything else. Leland's partner sticks his head out of the car door, hurls a coffee cup in the Detective's direction, before the door clunks open. "Daubrey! Pirates. Get one of these mooks to put us in a fucking boat."

"What if it's a different color?" the medic is asking, his nose right up against the grainy photograph he was given for perusal. Plainly exasperated, one of his companions aims a punch at his shoulder.

Slanting Baxter the hairy eyeball, Liz grins at him. She, too, is in full tac gear at this point, though she'll leave off with the rifle until we get where we're going. "Why, you offering to play taxi?"

The answer is a flying SCOUT trooper swooping the blond off her feet and into the air. Which…. you know what? Is *really* freakin' cool. Although she gives a somewhat girlish shriek when it first happens, by the time she and Baxter hit the ground at the waterfront, Elisabeth is thoroughly enjoying Baxter's God-given gift. "I have *got* to get me one of *these*," she tells him with a wry chuckle. But when they hit the ground again, she'll join the group in the chopper, that includes Knowles.

Leland reaches up and deflects the coffee cup as it comes flying. Little bits of brownish water splatter out over the dock. "Fucking pirates," he mutters. Then, casual as a walk in the park, he turns back to the Guardsmen. "Well," he rolls his shoulders back and continues to roll the hunk of gum around in his mouth, "How 'bout it boys? Feel like chasing down some river pirates?"

Then he turns his attention back to his partner in the car. "Well? Get on the goddamn horn and get us some coordinates. For Christ's sake." He spits out the hunk of gum, then shoves the shoulder of the nearest Guardsman and indicates a speedboat. "That yours?"

After some organization - too much for Lee's liking, they're on the boat. It takes a little manhandling on the detective's part to light a fire under their asses. But eventually they're speeding out in the direction of the broadcasted coodinates.

In the cabin, Leland gets on the horn, "This is Detective Daubrey of the NYPD. Myself, another officer and three Guardsmen en route in the National Guard vessel registered C2XNI to the source of the pirate activity. What is the position of others in pursuit, over?" Chhhk.

SCOUT gets to go in a helicopter while Leland has to struggle with a few extremely surprised if reasonably well-trained civilians and the fact that the radio his partner was outfitted with was made in Taiwan with parts that came out of a monkey's ass. Life isn't fair. In a few seconds, however, both the air unit and the sea unit are sucking in the same mad rush of salty sea air and racing time toward the same slow-changing set of coordinates.

ETA is three minutes. Talking in a helicopter is hard; the speedboat, slightly less so.

"The victims are on a cargo freighter!" Leland's partner shouts over his shoulder. "Registration says there's a crew of nine, but we're suddenly getting reports of other people on-board — not pirates. Seems another ship saw something going on and sent out the initial SOS that the Coast Guard picked up. Pirates have a speedboat and a yacht — SCOUT's en— enroute and — I can't fucking here anything, you try." A round fist shoves the radio unit into Leland's hands. The curly cord almost rebounds against the tensile limits of its build, but the Detective manages to lock his fingers around it before it jumps entirely free of his hands.

And he finds himself ear to ear with one Elisabeth Harrison, despite that she is hundreds of feet above and behind him. Baxter stares at her from across the helicopter's cramped space quizzically, his own hands clamped on the headset around his own fluffy blond head. Plan time.

When the radio down below changes hands, Elisabeth is listening intently. Into the radio, she says, "This is Officer Harrison of SCOUT. Tell me what you've got down there again, please?" She leans forward too, to tap the helo's pilot to see if he can get us closer to the boat ahead of us. With the helo's doors open, though, the frigid air is swirling through the passenger compartment around all the officers on board.

"Harrison, I've got an NYPD detective and three members of the National Guard including a medic." Leland squints out the front window of the boat as it skips along the rough late-winter waters. A beat, then he activates the radio again, "So how do you want to play this, uh? I'm betting you SCOUT kids have more tricks up your sleeves than we do down here." He means Evolved. Good thing the distaste doesn't really carry over a crackly radio into a noisy chopper cabin.

How does she want to play this? Shit. "I need a better read on how many pirates we're talking out there, and how they're armed," she tells Baxter. "Think you can get a bird's-eye-view for me, Bax?" He'll be quieter and hopefully far less visible than the inbound helo and the boat below it. "See if you can get me a read on how many people are actually on the vessel they're trying to take, too."

She puts the radio back to her mouth and calls into it, "Speedboat and yacht, check. Anyone boarded yet that we know of??"

Now, everybody in the helicopter is staring at Liz — with the thankful exception of the actual pilot. Baxter is visibly fighting down the urge to say something, and it helps that he can merely fall sideways out of the chopper and go to work, as graceful in the air as anything that's surviving the Hudson's waters down there. However, the Non-Evolved officer to his left grunts, says it instead. Leland fucking Daubrey. If she hasn't heard of him yet, none of the SCOUT operatives particularly envy her first experience being hollered across the radio.

She has four with her. Scratch that. Had. With fly-boy gone, she's left with the two Non-Evolved Brighton — a maritime specialist for most intents and purposes and Manford, and Everett's ability to convert heat into concussive force. Not that Leland would likely understand that in those terms.

When asked, the sailors sort of fight each other to tell Lee what they know of the Hudson river pirates. The bounce and skip of the boat intensifies as the cooling air of evening and ocean currents throws a harsher chop into the stretch of water they're traversing. All they have to offer is guesstimates, averages, rumor, but it's better than nothing.

"One sec, Harrison." And then Leland takes a minute to confer with the others on the boat as to what the likely situation is. Then he clicks the radio back on. "Right. So the boys down here tell me they've run across these pirates before. They say they would've boarded by now and are probably well on the way doing whatever the fuck it is they're doing." Somehow the detective manages to say all this fairly lazily. Why get excited? The Evolved are going to steal all his thunder by zipping in with their magical powers. A sigh, then, "Expect a dozen or so between boarding party and crew on their ship. They'll be packing a fucking lot of heat. You better have brought some heavy-hitters up there, SCOUT. Or we're in trouble."

Elisabeth fires back in an equally lazy drawl, "What's the matter, Daubry, your men not up to a firefight tonight? I've got a couple people who can do some damage, but this is going old-school. You ready to play?"

"These aren't my men down here, Harrison. It's a couple of Guardsmen and two cops," Leland drawls in response. "You're taking point on this one, lady. We'll shoot where you say. You lead us through this, I'll buy you a drink."

"I'm holding you to it, man!" Elisabeth smirks. Men.

"Of course, if you don't, we'll all be floating face down in the river," says Leland. No pressure!

Elisabeth can't help it, she laughs. The other guys in the helo look at her like she's perhaps insane, but well…. if you don't enjoy your job some of the time, you might as well quit. She presses the button on the radio and quips back, "Aw, a little paranoid, are we? Well, if I don't… I'll see ya in hell! And you're still buying!"

"Ladies and gentlemen," Baxter's voice filters in through both comm units. "I have news. Boarding party has some two big mooks who like like they're charge, a chick on fire, who I think can fly, three drudges, and some fucker who looks exactly like Sylar. Crew was on its knees, gunpoint, no casualties yet, but it looks like the civvies are in a fucking freight container that just got blown wide open. There's just a little kid in the pirates' speedboat and three or four other men on the yacht. I'm on your starboard, Liz," he adds gallantly. If she looks, he is: sailing apace the chopper, one arm up, waving. "Your ETA is two minutes."

"Jesus Christ," mutters Leland, but not over the radio. He looks to the other men on the boat, then clicks the radio on again. "All right lady, so how do you wanna play this, uh? We surprise 'em and they're liable to get twitchy and shoot a hostage. And then everyone's gonna start shooting and it won't be pretty. We gotta make waves coming in. Maybe we can negotiate the safe release of the hostages if nothing else. Let them run away to Staten with their loot. We'll deal with that later." But after he's unloaded all this advice? "But it's your call, sweetheart. You're the ones with all the experience wrangling the Evolved."

There are two ways this can go…. we can go in fighting, or we can attempt to negotiate. She makes the call quickly on that one - it's a no-brainer. But the news that there's SYLAR on board? Totally freaks Liz out. She doesn't show it, coming back at Leland with, "Always better to talk then go in fighting, Daubrey. And I can't do that from here." She turns off the radio and taps the pilot, shouting to him, "Keep these four and if you see an opening to drop them onto the ship without being spotted, take it!" She nods to the man sitting next to her, and says, "Martin, you're in charge. You see an opening to get on board, take it. Just don't move on them unless I say so. I've got the comms." Then she looks out to starboard and keys on her radio, "All right, Bax… you and me got a date with the National Guard. Let's get down there."

And the damn woman trusts the flyer to be exactly where he needs to be so that Liz doesn't land in the freakin' river as she drops into his arms out of the helo's open door. And holy shit is she scared to death when she does it, her heart going 100 miles a minute. But she needs to be down low, away from the helo's noise, to try and do this.

It's terrifying if you aren't used having to eat the wind as it funnels down your throat, beats the sky and clouds into an eyewatering blur, and it's worse still with the tangle of chopper blades overhead. Still, Baxter's arms are secure around her, and it's hard to mistake the agility with which he maneuvers in the air for anything else; he's solid as a rock in the sky, but better than that— given rocks don't fucking do much good up there, do they?

They hit the deck of the speedboat, which had only decelerated for pickup. By now, the sky's more purple than red; probably, if Liz had sent him out a minute later — or if there hadn't been a burning woman aboard the cargo ship for illumination, Baxter wouldn't have been able to see a single thing in the usurption of darkness. Fly-boy lands with a scuffling thump of boots, steadies Liz at the waist before setting her upright. "Your cop cock looks a little bigger up close," he offers Leland, by way of compliment. He claps a glove on the Detective's shoulder, and reaches up to grab the edge of the boat's roof as it bucks, jumps.

The cargo ship and pirates swoop into view, and a fumbling militiaman shoves a bullhorn into Baxter's chest. When he is merely Looked at, the sailor them staggers over to thrust it into Elisabeth's hands. Nerves are stretched a little thin between the National Guardsmen.

They know that name. Sylar.

Leland watches Baxter and Elisabeth descend from the chopper with a mix of wonderment and deep-boiling resentment. When they land on the deck, the detective moves towards them. He's clad in a heavy, water-proof jacket that's too small on him. The cuffs barely cover his wrists, suggesting it was borrowed from one of the boys on shore before they took off.
Baxter is given a dark, half-squinted look. His arm is tense as it's clapped, though it's hard to feel through the layers of the jacket. "Some trick," he mutters. That was not a compliment. Then he turns to Elisabeth. "Harrison, I presume? What's your plan then?" For a guy about to face a firefight, his tone and demeanor are surprisingly flat. He has to force it to a baseline to keep his assholeness in check.

New engine noise gutters into Tavisha's hearing now. Distant. Thin. Staticky; there's too much going on right here, though, so until he finds a moment to step around containers and up to the railing—

"That's bullshit!" Though her First Mate might have been willing to do well by the rank and file of sailor protocol, the pyro-form female seems to have accidentally lit the fuse on her own tampon in the process of igniting herself. Her hands are knotted into fists that smart to look at, and her hovering flight emanates waves of hot air against those around her. "We didn't even get the fucking till we came for, and now you want to— Orson!" She rounds on the First Mate. "Fucking tell them! Get Roscoe on the line! We can't leave without at least what we fucking came for."

Jack is serious. Cro-Ma — that is, Orson kind of can't believe it. "Cherry, shut the Hell up. You too, Rocket," he tells the radio, which squawks into an uncomfortable silence, halfway through repeating his warning. To Tavisha's hearing, every time the boy speaks, one of the crewmen's pulses begins to hiccup and falter, a subtle but almost mathematically proportional relationship. "Y' man John Logan has stock in human cargo, right? River's getting crowded. Maybe we sh—" Whatever he's about to say next is cut short, interrupted by Roscoe's voice across the line, abrupt, though strangely not without orders relevant to the immediate discussion of industry, economics, and the imminent prospect of going home empty-handed.

"Fuckeeng coppas incoming. Boat and choppa. I see the sign for SCOUT."

And what would you know? That's what finally drives the cargo ship's crew to action. Suddenly, two out of nine are pointing guns; one of them at Jack's back, the other at the First Mate's profile. Click. The other seven move somewhat slower, clumsy, obviously characterized by a more ordinary level of field experience. The table's haven't quite turned, but they're beginning to seesaw, crazy angles.

The little kid inside the freight container closes his mouth and his eyes at the same time. Chokes back a sob.

A little over a minute out across the water, the National Guard's speedboat is finally puttering to a diplomatic halt on the wrinkling sea. The SCOUT helicopter hangs in the air behind it, an angry wasp looking for a spot to sing.

Steadying herself on the boat deck by putting a hand on the boat's frame, Liz glances at Baxter and grins a bit. That was a hell of a rush. Her attention, however, is given to Daubrey and his team. "Gentlemen," she greets mildly, even as the boat full of National Guard and SCOUT members comes to a halt on the waves a distance back from the ship. She takes the megaphone, but doesn't seem to bother with it much, setting it on the deck next to her. "My *plan*, Daubrey, is to talk to them." She moves cautiously to the front of the speedboat, putting her hands on the low windows to balance herself. And then, without the use of the megaphone, she pitches her voice and projects it without appearing to shout at all.

"~Ahoy the ship! This is the NYPD. We have no desire to do this the hard way, where both you and we lose people. We couldn't care less what you're after, our interest is in getting the hostages off the ship safely. So let's talk. The radio's open. I invite the leader of the boarding party to call it.~"

Tavisha stares in open-mouthed disbelief at the idea of human cargo but he doesn't have the spine right now to say anything, he can really only hope Jack has his head screwed firmly onto his shoulders and get everyone off this ship before they get further entangled in this mess. He's not quite the hero enough to propose somehow setting these people free— or— something—

Especially not when the sound of a helicopter makes his head turn. Rocket was right. They were too close to Manhattan. And this is quickly whirlpooling into more trouble than any of them signed up for.


"Hey!" Tavisha growls, head turning and a hand going out on instinct. Pew pew. Except not, the lasers making no sound as they flash bright blue and green from his fingers, cutting through the gun leveled at his captain's back, and possibly through a little bit of hand too. As for Roscoe's first mate? He may well have to take care of himself or hope Jack has the presence of mind to do so as Tavisha's gaze sweeps along the suddenly restless captive crew, then up towards the skeletal appearance of the approaching helicopter.

Time to bail, a lot, again, some more, five minutes ago. Especially when the extremely clear-sounding announcement courses it's way across the river, the word hostages makes it clear that this was entirely the wrong ship to board.


Holy shit. There are so many things happening at once that there's no real way to sort them out. Jack flinches away from the sound of the gun being cleaved and glances over at Tavisha gratefully. His next glance is guiltily directed at the refugees. As much as he'd like to help them, getting he and Tav off this bullshit boat alive is his highest priority.

With a shake of his head, he glances at the flaming woman and curls his lip distastefully. "Stay and die for Roscoe if you want. We're outta here. C'mon, Girlname."

Knots of inchoate, not-quite-realized conflict have caught up all over the Delight's broad green deck like somebody's having an incredibly bad hair day. Sylar's lazer lops the nozzle off a gun and takes a layer of skin off the wielder's fingers, forcing the man to jerk back with a scream that makes most of his comrades look; exploiting the instant's distraction, Cherry plants two glowing hands against the gunner she had picked out of the line-up seconds before and shoves him, sharply, backward into the man still holding the firearm to Orson's great caveman brow.

The gun goes off.

Ricochets a bullet off the freight container, eliciting another staggered arpeggio of squeals from the refugees. The black boy's voice sends one of the pirates who'd sought to start to follow Tavisha and the other captain tumbling onto his ass, before the child's mother seizes her offspring around the head and lurches to her acheing feet, starts to stagger after the retreating duo while trying to keep her body interposed between the boy's thin body and all of the firearms. "Wait," she says. Manhattan accent, reek of sweat, her dreads going woolly on the left side where she's slept awkwardly a few too many days in a row. The people she leaves snatch at her pant leg as she goes, either fearfully to dissuade her or enviously— wishing they had the same courage. Maybe both. "Wait, sir. Pl—please take us with you."

Crackzzzzt — Roscoe's voice flares back into life over the radio, overlaying her female pitch with his rumbling notes of distaste. "Jack, if you don't fuckeeng call the lady, I'll shoot you all down miself. Use your head, white bwoy. Don't dash it all 'way."

From view of the NYPD's speedboat, it is evident that the pirate yacht is capable of doing exactly that. There is a machinegun is perched by the railing like an enormous black carrion bird, its brutish black nozzle pointed out across the wrinkling sea at the speedboat's approaching shape. There's another, turning around, angling threateningly toward the shape of the chopper in the sky. No shots yet; merely a massive caliber threat phrased in terms pretty difficult to mistake for anything else. They would probably be doing this even if they knew the cops thought they had Sylar on them.

Baxter pulls his monocular away from his face, offers it to Leland. Jerks his head up toward the Delight, ignoring the yacht for now. "I think I see one of the civvies. Woman running around with a little kid up there."

"Roscoe. Shut. The. Fuck. Up." Jack clenches his fist around the radio that's attached to his shoulder until the plastic casing creaks protestingly. "Shit. Shitshitshit." He can't tear his eyes away from the woman's face. When he finally does manage, they settle on the child just as unwaveringly.

This is what's ubiquitously referred to as being stuck between a rock and a hard motherfucker.

The pirate sighs, shrugs out of his armored vest, and hands it to the mother. "Put this on your boy," he says quietly. "And stay down on the deck where it's safe. As for you…" With as reassuring a smile as he can manage under the circumstances, he reaches out to ruffle the youngster's hair. "You just keep your mouth shut for now."

Jack spares an apologetic glance for Tavisha as he flicks a switch on his radio. "This is the leader of the boarding party. You can call me Captain. Pleasant night we're havin', wot?"

The glance is met with a slightly wide-eyed look from Tavisha. This wasn't part of the plans at all, but then again, uncovering a hornets nest of refugees and getting in between them and the police was kind of an unexpected variable. To say the least. So he simply nods to Jack - okay, we're doing it like this. I'm with you.

Turning his gaze towards where the distant police boat bobs on the water safely out of vantage point, he squints and— his whole body suddenly seems to line with tension when his sight zooms in, and for a moment, it's too alarming to do anything with, standing stock still. "Uhhh…" Very helpful. But then he can manage it, this sudden shock of detail over distance he gets, sweat standing out on his brow, pupils going wider than normal. Hopefully beneath that of what the radio can pick up, Tavisha quietly tells Jack, nodding towards the boat, "They have the National Guard and the police out there. One's armed pretty heavy. Woman on the radio less so." Head tilts, listening. "The chopper's still circling. They're hanging back for now."

And with a blink, the vision ceases it, Tavisha wincing at the migraine-twinge it brings before he turns his regular gaze towards the cargo ship's crew, a warning glance as much as he can muster. Behave.

Leland takes the monocular from Baxter and puts it up to his eye. He squints out at the deck of the boat and purses his lips into a thin line. "Fuck," he mutters, then pushes the glass back towards the flyboy. He walks towards the storage area and kicks open a case to pull out a rifle. He loads it up and hefts it, then turns to head back out onto the deck. The weapon is hoisted up and he uses the sight to scan the deck, one ear on the conversation Elisabeth is having with the 'Captain' over the horn.

Listening to the radio makes things easier in some ways. Elisabeth keys on hers and replies back, "All right, Captain. Lovely night indeed." Not. "So obviously there's something on the vessel you want, and there are certainly things on the vessel we want. What will it take for us to go ahead and talk about getting the people off, out of your way so you can go on about your business?" Because frankly, she couldn't care less at this moment what's on board the vessel, except for the human factor. The rest — like what they want and who they've got with them — will just have to be dealt with later.

'Later' is a somewhat ambiguous timeframe, but the flurry of activity lessens and leaves one to believe it might actually be an option. Neither Cherry nor Orson liked to think that Roscoe's partner was going to try and summarily ditch them here, not while one of their boys was piloting their boat; they're visibly reassured when Jack picks up the radio and Tavisha holds steady by his side.

The man who'd been audiokinetically flung back against the other stack of crates is making a hideous noise, reedy, clutching his arm, holding it up against his ribs in a way that indicates the bones in it probably aren't in their proper configuration anymore. When he glances up, his eyes are hazey and pointed with unmistakable resentment at the dusky-limbed child responsible for his injury.

And the child sees. Mama — Mama. She tells him to hush, and she does mean hush, even as she straps him up into the armored vest, multi-tasking at a mad rate that only mothers really can. The garment is too big for the kid, naturally, but she squeezes it close around him with her arms and lowers her frizzy head over his, murmuring a litany in his ear. "Don't worry, babe, they aren't going to hurt us. See? See, they came on a boat, too, and they're talking the cops down. They're just like the Ferrymen. Just like your Uncas, right?"

The Ferrymen — because that is what they are, stand in narrow-eyed stalemate with the pirates. The gentleman with the lazer-burnt hand has his jaws clenched to the point of bulging around, exhaling pain into the wind. Balance recovered, the man who'd caught the gunner still has his gun up. As the sky darkens, Cherry's tense, hovering figure seems to burn brighter and brighter in contrast, a beacon for miles around — as eye-catching as it is a clear sign to anybody with sense to stay the Hell away.

Ferrymen. Well, that makes things interesting.

"This is gonna get worse before it gets better," Jack assures Tavisha grimly. "Just back me up. We're not gonna die on a shitty boat in the middle of the Hudson."

He squares his shoulders, takes a steadying breath, and activates his mic again. "Now here this, NYPD. I'm giving my crew a chance to depart, so mind your manners and let 'em go peacefully. We can continue this conversation once anybody wot wants to leave is aboard the yacht and they're well away. Agreed?"

Click. The radio crackles down to silence and Jack glances first at the boarding party, then at the crew of the Delight. "Go," he urges them both.

The Ferrymen fall on oblivious ears in regards to Tavisha, save for some faint reference to mythology texts he's read in the past month— he's had a lot of time on his hands— and he only spares the woman and her child a glance as she murmurs her reassurance. Maybe some story time myth to chase away the nightmares, Tavisha doesn't know.

What he does know is that he's not expected to leave the boat with everyone else, judging by Jack's words to him, and he likely wouldn't go anyway. His eyes narrow, again, looking out across the water. "Cop took out a rifle," he says, gently, without panic. From what he can see, the policeman is mostly using the telescope in the same way Tavisha is using his eyes, but it's still a sniper rifle, isn't it. Last he checked, he couldn't sniper someone without a gun.

It's too far away for him to do much of anything, actually, apart from see. "Pointing this way," he adds, voice quiet, reporting calmly.

"I hate to nitpick there, Harrison. But how do we know he's not taking hostages back on to his boat?" It's easy to nitpick when you're not the one calling the shots. Leland very neatly absolved himself of that responsibility at the start of this venture. That way if things go bad, it's the Evolved types who get the heat.

Yeah, he's a petty bastard. What of it?

Meanwhile, he just keeps an eye on the deck via the scope of the rifle. He's not picking any targets, just tracking movements and counting people.

Shaking her head at Leland, Elisabeth says quietly, "We don't. But maybe we can level the playing field some." She looks at him. "Get me one of the FDNY fire boats on the horn, in case we need to offer an alternative possibility."

She keys on her radio again and replies calmly, "Captain, I'm more than happy to have my guys keep their distance so long as we're all on the same page. I want all the passengers and crew of the ship left on board, and I'll allow your men — and only your men — to remove themselves to your yacht without interference. No hostages, no additional people. Deal?"

By now, everybody aboard the ship is listening to the conversation between the negotiator and Jack on the radio. Trying to, anyway. The crouching mother looks up from her child and up at the Captain, sharp with maternal fear; so does the Delight's crew, even as they begin to step away from the pirates and the pirates away from them, like some bizarre naval warfare reinterpretation of a genteel Austen novel dance.

The pirates are moving quicker than the Delight's crewmen, more eager to scuttle now that somebody is talking about sniper rifles and the grim reality of circling SCOUT choppers. Cro-Magnon's the first one off. Cherry floats five yards past Tavisha's shoulder, her mouth pulled into a bright white sneer, an infernal specter that dares the crewmen to try anything.

The natives — well. They have a boatload of 'fugees and a somewhat more ponderous vessel. "M-maybe we can hide them again, aand" one of the civilian sailors mumbles; he's silenced with a scowl from the authoritative man with the handgun, though most of his attention is on Jack, slate gray eyes and stubbly jaw squeezed narrow with thought. After a moment, he suddenly clicks the safety back on his gun, gestures to speak with the pirate Captain with a faint crook of fingers and a grudging, pleading tilt of his head.

The audiokinetic's mother is murmuring a different litany now. Something more desperate, lower, and beseeching not her ungainly whelp but Tavisha and Jack. Pleasedon'tleaveuspleasedon'tgiveust

"You're mistaking this for a negotiation, NYPD. We do what I say, savvy? Now have your man throw that fuckin' rifle into the ocean before I get cranky. Friends don't point guns at each other."

Click. The radio sizzles out again and Jack turns to his motley mixture of crewmen and refugees. "Get in the cargo container and change clothes with some o' the 'fugees," he orders them. "Stay outta sight. I don't want them knowin'. Go! Tav, if he don't drop that rifle in the next two seconds, you swat that chopper outta the sky. Hit it in the tail rotor and it'll drop like a mosquito. Go!"

"J…" And that's about all the protest Tavisha makes, mouth thinning into a line and nodding once at the order. He looks out towards the chopper, that strange half-hearted perception of spatial awareness that goes hand in hand with the ability to move things when he flails his arms telling him that yes.

Yes that's possible. His dark brown eyes seek out the man that had clicked the safety off the gun, one of the crewmen of this particular vessel. "Did you hear him?" Tavisha asks, pointedly, with a gesture of his head that suggests gray-eyed man get moving as Jack instructed, before he's throwing his vision out towards the police speedboat, a hand raising, partially, and waiting for those two seconds to tick by. A long two seconds, granted. One, one and a half, one and three quarters…

Shaking her head, Elisabeth says quietly, "This is going to go really far south if we're not careful, and we're at a painful disadvantage." The darkness, however, is getting far deeper, and the helo is circling in a wide circle. The only illumination out here is the ship's lights, and the spotlights that the cop boats are using. She looks at the man who, for all intents and purposes right now, is her partner tonight. "We need boots on the ground as fast as you can get them there, Bax. Head for the chopper, stick to the darkness. Take the snipers off, one at a time if you have to, and drop them on the far side of the ship from where the group is standing so they can't see you do it. Tell the pilot to just keep doing what he's doing, but tell him to keep off any direct vector from this boat." She slants a look at him. "If you start feeling sick, get the hell out of Dodge, and tell our snipers to hang in there. I don't want to do it, but I'll lay them *all* out, hostages, crew, and pirates alike, if that's what it takes."

She looks at Leland and says, "Go ahead and drop the rifle, keep the scope, okay? Because they've seen you, I can't send you up there yet, but how good a shot are you?" She waits only long enough for his answer, and then she steps back out to the front of the boat — because what she WANTS to know, she can only try on a straight line; she doesn't have enough experience with it to attempt it any other way. She keys on her microphone and tells the person on the other end, "He's putting it away. Take your crew, Captain, and get the hell out of there," she says firmly.

"Savvy? What the fuck? Does he think he's a…" Pirate. Oh. Leland makes an irrated face. Like he just swallowed something foul. He's loathe to drop the rifle. Its weight is a reassurance, even in the face of a boat full of Evolved. "Tell them to drop their fucking powers then," he mutters, venom in his voice. This is why he didn't get on the radio. Him negotiating with Evolved terrorists would only end in bullet-ridden corpses.

He sets his jaw when he listens to Elisabeth's plan, but nods. The scope is tugged off. He pockets the rifle's clip (why waste it?) and then drops the weapon into the water. Now he's unarmed and feeling naked. "What does it matter? You told me to drop my gun in the goddamn water." A beat, then, "I'm a good shot. Better at closer range. I'm no sniper though."

Plainly, the gray-eyed man is confused — but he's dealt with enough pirates and mercurial weather in his life to be able to tell when the terms have changed to his favor, however temporarily. "Yeah." Tavisha's question gets a simple, articulate nod. He repeats Jack's order, in case his men didn't hear; there goes the clanky scattering of boots into the freight container's cramped space.

"The men could pass for pirates," he calls back, over his shoulder, the skewed remains of a plan rent to ragged pieces before he could even offer it to the pirate. "My men and I could tell them that the women and children were stowaways." At least some of them would get away, then, and he could salvage his ship. License. Maybe even his relationship with the Ferrymen, if the refugees keep their mouths shut. Right? Yes? No? Either way, a change of clothes doesn't matter too much. Reholstering his gun, he accepts somebody else's dirt-rimed sweater, tosses his jacket into their fumbling hands.

Five paces from Elisabeth, the boat's driver hits the last of the external lights, flooding the dark river water with stark, mobile lines of texture. The sky behind them is still mottled purple and ochre, cumulus clouds and sunset; the sky ahead of them is black and blue as a beaten corpse. Sudden as a lightning strike, the chopper sends down a ghostly lance of searchlight. It's too far to blind anybody on the cargo ship, but Jack and Tavisha find the air overhead swept by a fuzzy skewed circle of impersonal, chalky illumination.

"Yes ma'am." Without ceremony, Baxter vaults up into the sky, a bullet-like blur in Tavisha's peripheral, streaking straight for the chopper. As he eases into darkness and the flying machine's lights cut past his vision, however, the flying man and his movements and intent are momentarily lost. Momentarily. When the moment's over, the erstwhile serial killer can hear them, twinned heartbeats easing down from the sky toward the bow of the Delight, seeking cover behind freight containers.

Several yards below, Rocket is still driving the Dirty Deeds. Putputput filters through the edges of both Elisabeth and Tavisha's auditory perception. As he passes by the yacht, he yells: "Captain Roscoe? Captain Roscoe? What should I do?" Roscoe's answer is short, sweet. Ask your fuckeeng Captain. Good night and good-bye. Grappling lines twang short and Cherry slips off the Delight, treading wet air.

Jack grits his teeth and jerks his shirt off, marking him as the only bare-chested and heavily tattooed man on the deck. The garment is tossed to one of the refugees without a second glance.

When they're lit up by the lights, he turns to the leader of the cargo crew and shakes his head. "We do this together, mate. They might have us outnumbered, but we have them outgunned." With a grin and a wink, he chucks a thumb over his shoulder and points to Tavisha.

As for Tav, he gets a brisk clap on the shoulder. "We gotta do whatever it takes to keep these people safe, kid. You watch my back, I'll get 'em off and to the Deeds."

His next words are spoken into his radio. "I'm sendin' the second batch off now. They're headin' to the speedboat. Swab, you hearin' this? Take 'em the hell out of here."

Plunk. Tavisha watches as the cop drops the rifle as Jack advised and Tavisha no longer has to worry about sending the chopper hurtling to certain doom, hand lowering again, and he flashes an uncertain grin at Jack in the semi-darkness. "Understood." It's all about knowing what you want, and this is an objective he can work towards.

Then he hears a sound that makes his heart skip icily in his chest, head whipping around towards the source of it and he hesitates, too long again, to make sense of it. The sound of Baxter's mass plus one cutting through the air, the gentle landing, the twin heart beats hammering in chests that weren't present a second ago. "We have company," Tavisha says, and now his voice comes out like a growl, less the hesitant out-of-his-depth wannabe pirate and more like, well, himself. Whatever that is. "I'll be right back." Jack did say to watch his back… and right now, it has unwanted parasites.

As the light from above sweeps hazily across the deck, Tavisha tries to wait until darkness has fallen over him again before moving. How successful he is, well, that's up to fate, but without another word, he darts off between freight containers, headed for the sound of life that isn't welcome here. If he was aware of a certain ability that he'd gotten not through killing, but homoerotic handholding one time outside a church, this would be so much easier. As it happens, Tavisha has to sneak, so he does, moving around the metal and trying to keep his eyes on the sky and his ears focused where they need to be. The sound of the flying man taking off once more makes him go still, duck, wait. Before stalking once more, foot steps falling as quietly as he can make them.

Then it's a matter of who can act first as Tavisha rounds around the container - if the sniper can fill him with bullets before Tavisha can sweep his hand and let both sniper and his gun be flung overboard into the choppy, icy river. Or a little bit of both.

With her eyes closed on the deck of the speedboat that Leland and his National Guard companions came out on, her whole attention is focused on something Leland can't see or hear. She doesn't hear Leland and his men talking, the distance involved here, whether the limitation is all in her mind or not, is wreaking havoc on her control. She doesn't know how the person — she doesn't even know Sylar/Tavisha's voice to identify (until now) — knew that there was company on board, but as soon as the words escape the man, Elisabeth is already acting. Keying her comm radio (not the boat's that we've been using for negotiation), she murmurs to Baxter, "Duck and cover! Incoming!" It's all the warning her partner — or anyone else for that matter is going to get. It requires all her focus to try to pull it off.

Sucking in a deep breath, her blue eyes pop open and she shouts with all the breath control a singer can manage, enhancing it for both volume *and* as powerful a subsonic carrier wave for compliance as she can manage, "~«Get your Evolved asses off that vessel in the next two minutes or I will launch the two dozen flying Evo snipers who just arrived on the scene and NO ONe outside the refugees will get off that boat alive! This is your only warning!»~"

Now that he's unarmed and vulnerable, Leland moves himself off the deck and towards the wheelhouse so that he's harder to track. Without turning, he murmurs to one of the Guardsmen, "Get down low and stay out of sight. Go into that case and get me another rifle. Do not put yourself in the line of sight of that freighter while you do it. Got it?"

And then Elisabeth is booming out her voice. "Remind me never to piss her off when she's on the rag. Jesus," he mutters. Fortunately, only the guardsman medic is close enough to hear. He's a real classy gent.

Hesitation marrs the gray-eyed Captain's features, briefly. After all, only he and the man with the singed-off knuckles have any real military experience; the other seven are civilian seamen, exchanging clothes in obvious confusion, and more perplexed when Tavisha's trotting figure is pointed out as the ship's greatest weapon. "A'right," he says, cracking a sliver of a grin in response. "That case, you should know, a technopath's driving the Delight right now. We need him to do more than that, the radio band is—" a few integers, rattled off, before he gives the fleeing refugees an encouraging wave and shout.

Tavisha can hear the pitter patter of their feet, heading toward the grappling hooks that he and Jack had left hanging off the nose of the cargo ship. It's fortunate that he manages to lash out telekinetically before any of them round into view to see that happen.

His blow catches the sniper squarely in the vest, startling a gasp of a cry out of the armored stranger's lungs, sending him cartwheeling into the air, overboard. His body plunges into the water, a burst of static on Elisabeth's comm, only to burst right back to the surface again as graceful as a dolphin, up into view of the Delight's railing with a plank of ice forming underneath his parted boots.

Well-aware that they're out of their depth, for reasons they had discussed with Leland earlier, the National Guardsman are throwing themselves down. All except for the driver, anyway, who's left to cast panicky stares left and right, before simply wadding himself down as low behind the steering wheel as he can. TWo rifles scrape along the bottom of the boat, past Liz's boots, pushed along toward the Detective and another one for his partner. Through the windshield, Liz and Leland see running figures blinking past the freight containers, the gaps between them. The next moment, the Dirty Deeds bellies into view, just behind the cargo ship's foaming bow. The lanky teenager hangs onto the wheel for dear life, peering upward, trying to inch his tiny vehicle into range of the two lines that snake down from the bow. He fails to notice there's some crazy SCOUT dude surfing the kahuna on a chunk of ice nearby.

"Do I put this sniper back in the chopper?" Baxter inquires, somewhere between here and there.

With a roll of his eyes, Jack keys his radio and drawls, "Your dick-waving just got costly, NYPD. Enjoy your swim. Tav? Sink 'em all. Start with the chopper. I'll sweep these ill-mannered shites off the deck."

That's all the more Jack needs to say. He unslings the shotgun from across his back and pumps a shell into the chamber. "Any of you who have guns, now's the time to use them. You wanna be free folk when you get outta here then you're gonna have to fight. Scramble their radios. Shoot 'em. Bite 'em in the nose if you have to. You—" he takes lays a hand on the shoulder of the boy wearing his flak vest and points out toward Elizabeth's boat. "See those lights? There's the lady who wants to hurt us." Not you. Us. "You wanna scream, you scream at her. Show me what those lungs can do, lad."

Unfortunately for Tavisha, the sound of Elisabeth's announcement is a blow of more force than he'd anticipated, a pained yell tearing from his throat before her subsonic words can cut off, hands clasping over his ears just as the SCOUT operative goes tumbling into the water. And when he comes back up on his platform of ice, Tavisha is kneeling, almost trembling from the high pitched whine going on in his ears. If they're not bleeding, they feel like they should be, and a hot coil of a headache tightens in the front of his skull.

Breathing in a way that makes his voice edge each gasp and sigh, he looks up with blazing, angry eyes. He didn't even hear Elisabeth's words, only her voice that knocked him off his feet. He doesn't entirely hear Jack, either, when he speaks up - not at all with his superhearing, but the radio crackles with his voice, a faint and tinny, distant sound. Tavisha is too busy letting bright, vengeful lasers shoot forward anyway, maliciously slicing through ice, through legs, before he looks, again, to the skies.

Baxter goes unnoticed, too small and too quick to fall under Tavisha's searching gaze, eyes trailing up, instead, the length of the beam of light emitting from the helicopter. The steady buzzing engine escapes his hearing, now, halved by normal standards for the time being until his head can clear, but he can see, even in the dark of approaching night. A hand goes up— hit it in the tail rotor and it'll drop like a mosquito— and he pulls.

Oh yeah…. it's *so* going south. Elisabeth looks at the boat's driver and calls, "Pull back!" in a normal voice. She knew better — hostage situations are hostage situations; she knew better than to push them, and it's on her head that it's going south. In point of fact, there *is* no good way to take a ship that's being held by hostiles — not really. The only excuse she'll have to give is that SYLAR was spotted on board, and to her way of thinking that escalated the situation. Or maybe her judgment was clouded. Either way, it won't matter. Unsure what they'll launch at the boats and helo, she keys the comms and shouts all the law enforcement types, "Pull back!"

Oh Leland's gonna get his pound of flesh here.

"Why do I get the distinct fucking feeling that no one on that boat wants our help?" says Leland with his lips snarled. He snatches the rifle from the Guardsman and takes aim out across the water. He takes careful aim at anyone who looks Evolved. Each squeeze of the trigger is a sweet release. Take that, fuckers. Doesn't matter if it actually hits - the shooting itself is cathartic. He's careful though. His hand is stayed unless someone's shooting lasers or on fire.

"Good call, Screaming Betty." In the heat of battle, he's seen fit to give Elisabeth a nickname. "They're not…" triggersqueeze. "…concerned about their targets. We are." Which puts them at a distinct disadvantage. On top of all their other disadvantages. Like Sylar.

Shooting. Scratching. Biting. Check. Liz's terms make the the Delight's crew remember that they are, in fact, all criminals subject to court proceedings and growing more culpable by the minute. The sudden searing light of Sylar's forefinger further illuminates the situation, and the sudden scream of the SCOUT officer below clarifies the situation again. A jumbled mix of Oh Gods and curse words scatter into the air above the sailors. Gunmetal clicks out.

"There are a lot more hostiles on that ship than we thought," Baxter agrees via radio. "We tripped on something big here."

A female voice blares in Jack's ear. "No! Wait — you can't make him do this!" the young mother's arms are tight around the husk of her boy's torso, some sentimental, last-minute, hopeless effort to correct the situation before her child is forced to do something unimaginable when he's barely into puberty. Unfortunately, her son's was pretty fucked the moment he registered for the criteria of Tier 3 at the age of pubescent. "Please don't—"

Her boy's fingers tighten on her forearm, and she feels him take a deep breath, swelling in the ring of her embrace; he opens his mouth. The air before him ripples and the Hudson begins to bend, two severed legs and ice and an amputated body sloughing into the massive, forming foaming furrow in the river's surface, sonic waves hurtling out toward the National Guards' hapless little vessel—

And a single sniper bullet cuts through, barely slowed, racing toward the boy's round fish mouth.

A dozen yards over, Baxter winks in and right back out of view past Sylar's peripheral, back underneath the nose of the ship, the second sniper carried in one arm and knife shining in the other. Rope fibers give way to the slash of blade, dropping five refugees into the sea — another instant, and the ship summarily tramples them, burying flailing limbs and small voices in roaring water and the crushing velocity of iron. Rocket shrieks.

The moment the Delight's technopath kills radio, everyone knows it. It's fortuitous timing, maybe: Elisabeth, Leland, and their companions don't have to hear the screaming cries of Mayday, mayday going end over end into the sea. They only see the searchlight snuff out in a burble of inky water. It's not like they don't have a tearing sonic salvo to focus on, anyway.

A separate arc of sniper autofire sings off toward Tavisha, ricocheting sparks off the deck's surface, punching puckered holes as large as teacups through containers from Bangkok and New Zealand.

Long-forgotten military training kicks to the fore when Jack hears the distinct whizzing and pinging of sniper fire. He springs forward and drags the young boy to the deck. "Down! Everyone get d—"

His shouting is cut off when the bullet intented for the child pierces him high on the right side of his chest. There's a gurgle and hiss of escaping air as blood froths and bubbles across his chest and down his belly. He clutches his fingers around the hole and gulps for breath that won't come. Though he falls to one knee, a tenacious, stubborn grip on the rail keeps him upright for the moment.

He has to. Jack has to do it.

Grimacing, he stuffs two fingers into the wound and plugs his perforated lung. Though his voice no longer booms, he can still speak. "They're fallin' back." Wheeze. "Let's give 'em some encouragement." Wet, hacking cough. ?Put some fire on 'em, and somebody find me my shotgun." As if it would do him any good. Right now it's all he can do to draw his revolver and snap off a few poorly-aimed shots.

They're trying to put holes in everyone, it seems, and as the first bullet connects into the metal container just behind Tavisha, he drops down, bullets whizzing by overhead, just in front of him, scurrying away as long legs suddenly kick up under him, sparks flying until he can duck behind something large and metal. Over the high pitched scream of the injury Elisabeth had dealt him, he semi-hears the muffled distance shouts and spit of gunfire, and as if his voice were miles away, Rocket's shriek. He doesn't know that Jack is injured to the point of fatality, or else Tavisha might reconsider his next move.

Something moves, a figure in black racing across the deck, and then, perhaps he's hit by gunfire, because he suddenly falls overboard. Or more accurately, leaps and tumbles down into the water.

Several seconds later, that same dark-clad figure bursts out from the surface of the river, a hand coming up, and gripping the side of what is temporarily Rocket's speedboat. An urging of hydrokinetic ability, and Tavisha quite suddenly spills on into the far, far smaller deck, coughing. Rocket gets no words, Tavisha getting to his feet, sealegs braced beneath him as he clambers towards the mounted Vickers machine gun Jack had just taught him to use.

"Drive," he mutters to the kid, and to his muffled hearing, he feels more than hears the sound of the machien gun spraying bullets like so much water from a garden hose in the general direction of the police boat. Again, more of a 'fuck off' than deadly maneuvers, but that works just as well.

Ignoring the nickname, Elisabeth merely says tightly as she climbs back through the boat to retrieve a rifle of her own from one of the guardsmen, "Apparently we didn't need to be either, considering the hostages appear to be joining the fucking firefight on THEIR side."

And just about that time, Elisabeth senses the sonic shockwave heading toward their boat. The only thing that really alerts her is that she's still got an ear (metaphorically speaking) toward the vessel, and Conrad Wozniak taught her to listen for sounds — and for the absence of. Knowing what her own shockwaves and his felt like gives her that one moment of warning. Her head whips around, pure horror showing in her expression for that split second, and she throws up the biggest silence field she's ever thrown toward the front of the boat. It won't cancel the initial wave, but it's the only thing she can concieve of in that bare moment that *might* at least cancel out some of it and give her enough time to sense and completely cancel the other person's attack. And though he might have clocked in at Tier 3 while she's officially a Tier 1, Elisabeth wasn't stupid enough to really show the testers the range and breadth of her own ability.

"Jam the fucking hammer down or whatever the hell you call the pedal on this barge!" barks Leland as he spots the ripples of movement that indicate the gun-mounted speedboat is coming their way. Between that and the weird, odd quasi-loud, quasi muffled audio field, it's definitely half past get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge time by his watch.

He ducks and grabs hold of the back of Elisabeth's jacket to yank her down forcibly as the bullets start to rat-tat-tat across the deck. The sniper rifle is tossed aside in favour of his pistol. Like a groundhog, he pops his head up to fire off a series of shots aimed at Sylar, but given it's two moving vessels and his service pistol isn't exactly long-range, it's likely to have little effect.

Bullets and shotgun pellets hit torquing water, plip, plip, audible, until they hit the zone of silence that Liz opened out around her vessel. One round from the .40 hits the windshield, sending a wild starburst shattering of white lines through the laminated glass.

The National Guardsman at the helm, but less because of the round than because there's a giant thing of water coming and he can't fucking hear a single fucking thing, not even his heartbeat thrashing in his own ears, not even when he opens his mouth to scream, there's nothing, until the silence field edges further away from him and suddenly sound returns to him in a thunderclap cacophony.

Elisabeth's null zone stops the child's scream effectively as a wall. It can't stop the kinetic motion of the water below, that slavering, almost rabid maw sonically induced into the river's surface. Like a rubber duck in a tub with a thrashing tot, the tiny vessel is hurled into the air, its propeller spinning helplessly in empty night air, belly glistening under the Delight's lights. Gravity seems to take its time reattaching itself to the speedboat, but when it does, it brings the vessel crashing down at a 45 degree angle.

The second sailor connects head-first with the corner of a bench, and bounces overboard in a tumbling orange life-jacket. Somehow, the boat finds itself upright, taking water, but the motor still functioning, screeching, making space between it and the Delight's unexpected numbers.

Somebody gives Jack a shotgun. The kid is mute with shock beside him, his eyes wide behind the cover of his mother's palms.

Baxter drops his knife into the sea and hoists the sniper in his arms, tightening his grip, steadying as they turn, high in the wind, holding, steady, steady. Officer Manford shoulders his rifle, points it at the skinny back of the Dirty Deeds' pilot, and squeezes the trigger. Somehow, between the juddering and toss of the waves and some miracle of luck, the bullet finds its way not into the teenager's flesh but the pirate speedboat's controls, sending up a crackling flash of damaged electronics. The second shot goes wider still, burying lead in the deck just in front of Tavisha's gun station.

Jack licks at his bloody lips and grins fiercely. The sight of his shotgun is as welcome as a lover's embrace. He crams his revolver back into its holster and accepts the longarm gratefully. For the boy, he spares another wink and pats his pants pockets. A brief search produces a slightly melted but otherwise intact chocolate bar. "There y'go. You get paid in sweets until you're a grown-up pirate."

Before he makes the mistake of unplugging his chest wound, Jack peeks over the rail in search of aversaries. There aren't any. The chopper is gone and the National Guard boat looks thoroughly capsized.

His vision is growing fuzzy. What breath he's pulling in is coming in progressively shorter and more painful gasps. The last of his strength is spent. He blinks once. Again. Then, suddenly, he's lying on his back and looking up at the stars. Though it remains unfired, his shotgun is clutched in his hand and drawn close like a teddy bear. He doesn't speak or cry. Grievously injured and alone among strangers, all he can do is bleed.

Shit. Tavisha ducks, for all the good it would do, when bullets both tear to pieces the boat's controls and threaten to do the same to him. The ones from Leland mostly fall short, punctuating the water with sharp splashes of white. The Vickers gun is left unmanned, for now, Tavisha getting himself out of the way and falling against the seats in the back of the cigarette boat. Electricity sparks and crackles, the little speedster boat floating dead in the water.


Nervously, Tavisha's gaze goes up towards the sky, searching for the incoming attack. As determined by himself and Jack, they do not have the same control over the water - one man can pull it out of the air, and one man can walk like Jesus did and likely have no trouble in operating a dead boat. All the same, Tavisha tries, gently pushing the Dirty Deeds back towards the cargo ship with haphazard waves and the urging of current. His own body, too, suddenly seems to go hazy, a flickering of colour as if he were melting into the backdrop of the cigarette boat, an unconscious effort at hiding as they head for what he hopes is safety. Relatively speaking. Meanwhile, he searches the skies for Peter Pan, a hand partially raises, ready.

Her attention solely on the sonic wave, Elisabeth doesn't even see the boat with the machine gun coming. When Leland snags her jacket and yanks her down, her focus falters, and then the sonic attack washes over the boat and flings it about like a child's toy. To her credit, Liz does *not* scream — which is probably a damn good thing. Leland might have shot her himself at that point. She lunges away from him to try to grab for the officer who went overboard, but the gesture is futile as the small speedboat slams back onto the water amid choppy waves cause by a sonic boom and several vessels in close quarters. She manages to hold onto her rifle, but there was no way in hell she was going to get a shot off. By the time they land, all the blonde can do is get the wind knocked out of her for a moment until the boat steadies a little. "SHIT!" she gasps.

This is what happens when the Evolved run around unchecked, goddamnit. If there were any mindreaders around, that's what Leland Daubrey is broadcasting as the boat slams vertical. He's jostled, slammed, does all he can to grab hold of something so he doesn't drop into the Hudson's dark waters. The sniper rifle he discarded goes clattering down to the rear of the boat, though by some miracle he manages to keep hold of his pistol.

As the boat rocks back into its proper configuration, he's jolted sideways. His right shoulder jams into a rope loop on the deck. He lets out a muffled sound of pain and squints through watering eyes. He grabs blindly for something to steady himself, then slowly opens his eyes. He only has a second to try and get his bearings before a residual wave jams again and he's thrown against the bulkhead.

But Leland's a tough SOB. Even though he's sporting several new bruises, he manages to get to his feet and make his way into the wheelhouse. He gives Elisabeth a long, unimpressed look. That couldn't have gone worse. "Do we still have a fucking engine?" he mutters to the Guardsman at the wheel.

Yes, they still have an engine. And a medic, too. Good, first because the law enforcement need those two things; second, because they've lost one Evolved sniper, another officer, a chopper, the pilot, and a sailor. And there's still more to lose, yet, if they aren't careful.

Prudence isn't normally becoming for Peter Pan, admittedly, but spying the orange vest in the water and the retreating speedboat, he's forced to take the path of least casualties. Leaving Sylar and his young companion a disdainful glance, he swerves through the night sky, racing away and down toward the National Guardsman in the water. Experimentally, Manford calls into the radio, tries to alert them ahead: "We're catching up, be coming back aboard right away. Bringing the NG kid."

The message bursts through, loud and clear.

It turned out, the scenario aboard the Delight required the full attention of those on-board. Jack is lying in a puddle like ketsup, and it's soaking into the baby audiokinetic's shoes, much to the chagrin of his mother. She is dragging him away in little smeared increments, screaming hoarsely for help. He's been shot; he's bleeding.

Gray eyes sweep into view in the dimming peripheral of the pirate's vision. The captain, muttering something about the 'fugees back on-deck, safehouses, Filatov's, somebody radio out, Wireless is back and we need the switchboard to get us safe harbor. Leathery hands lattice together, applying pressure to Jack's ribs. Hey, sailor. Stay with me. A groan of metal on metal goes up, a sound so large it seems to take up the whole sky and all the twinkling stars in it, channeled through the entirety of the deck and all of its cargo. That's the ship picking up the pace, turning hard toward Staten Island.

Rocket spiders out from underneath something like a hermit crab, scuttles up to seize Tavisha's half-vanished sleeve with one skinny hand. "They're leaving!" he yells, pointing at the Delight. "We gotta go! How are we gonna go! Oh my God! We're going! How— many powers do you have, man?" His curly head goes through a loop so quick you'd think it should have induced whiplash, craning over the side of the Dirty Deeds to see crest away from her dogged prow, before double-taking at the eerie vanishing of Tavisha's long body.

"Uunng," Jack groans as pressure is applied to his wound. His eyes fly open glassily and he pants for air that won't come. "Hurts," he complains eloquently. "Hurts lots." He coughs and chokes up a wad of bloody phlegm. Convulsively, he fights against the hands that hold him in an attempt to curl up around his injured torso.

The fight is brief and ineffective. When he gives up, he squeezes his radio and gasps, "Swab? Tav… ? You did good, boys. You all did real good."

"A lot," Tavisha says, simply (and a little too loudly the way the temporarily deafened might), the colours on his body inking back into place when Rocket proves to be correct, the boy getting a glance between the Delight and the sky above. They won. Or they defended themselves, which is a lot like winning.

Sitting up as the cigarette boat drifts, Tavisha takes his radio out of his pocket, scowling a little as he shakes it free of water. It crackles brokenly, and summarily abandoned on the bottom of the boat. It's then that Jack's voice sounds out from Rocket's radio, barely perceptible from Tavisha's hearing, but just loud enough that he's moved to snatch it up. "Jack?" he says, again, too loudly, but that might help anyway. "Jack, are you— " And even with his hearing, he can sense that something is not right with the world. And he's down here in a broken speedboat and Jack is up there as the Delight groans her way on to Staten Island. "Just hang on. Please." Courteous! "I'll see you at shore."

And out. This is going to prove to be a long trip, and he tosses the radio back to Rocket, concentrating on the rise and fall of waves beneath them, propelling them after the much larger boat. With a slump, Tavisha rests back against the seats, holding his head. Well that went smoothly. They have a whole ship now. Profit.

Struggling to her feet, holding the side of the boat as it continues to rock in the wake of the fight, Elisabeth growls quietly. "What a *clusterfuck!* Those weren't fucking HOSTAGES up there, they were runners." No wonder they were fighting back. Shoving a hand through her hair, Liz keys up her comms and says, "Bax? You in one piece out there? Christ…." When the flyer drops off the guy who fell overboard, she asks, "The guys in the helo?" With it snowing — *AGAIN* dammit — and the water at frigid temperatures still, she's concerned about the teams that went into the drink. All she can do now is damage control — throw a blanket around the guy who went into the water and help the medic where he needs it. She looks at Leland and the driver. "Go ahead and take us back," she says wearily, adding "If anyone at all gives you shit for ANYTHING that happened out here tonight, give them my name and my captain's name. It's on me." She won't let any of them take the heat for this mess.

Well, that was a complete and utter disaster. Leland sets his jaw and clutches at his side. He can't quite stand upright, so he lowers himself slowly onto a padded bench in the wheelhouse. He turns to Liz and then says, plainly, "I'm going to take you up on that." Then he slowly slides his gaze away to stare out the front of the wheelhouse. Fucking Evolved.

March 1st: The Only Hero..
Previously in this storyline…
The Only Hero...

Next in this storyline…
The Price of Freedom

March 1st: The Price of Freedom
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