Made Broken

Participants:

carmichael_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif verse_icon.gif

sylar_icon.gif

Also featuring:

elle_icon.gif gray_icon.gif kazimir_icon.gif peter_icon.gif wu-long_icon.gif

Scene Title Made Broken
Synopsis There's a flaw in the watchmaker's argument. Some things truly are built to break.
Date March 18th, 2009

???


"No god damnit! She's gone!"

"Mister Zarek, over here!"

"Son of a bitch they're in the elevators!"

Feet thunder down a flight of stairs, dress shoes and black suits moving in hurried pace, guns drawn, brows tenses, jaws set. This can't be happening, not on Kain Zarek's watch. "Thompson!" Pressing his fingers to his earpiece, Kain shouts over the communications link, stopping at the bottom of a series of stairs before bursting into the ground floor lobby, "It's Zarek, Walker's gone from the top floor— the elevators are moving down to ground level, do you see Bennet anywhere?"

Hastily following behind Kain, a young pair of men in matching dark suits stride into the lobby, moving to stand in front of the elevator, pistols drawn. "Danny ain't answering up in his office, an' Ah' think Ah' saw Sanders and Hawkins on the security feed a minute ago…" Aiming his pistol, Kain watches the elevators descend, one number at a time, clicking down, down, down.

Finally the doors open, and the three Linderman agents tense to find— the elevator is empty. "Son of a— "

Any protest to having fallen for this trick ends when the windows of the lobby blow out, shattering with a tremendous force as a police cruiser comes soaring through the front window of ther Linderman building, lights flashing and the officer within the car screaming. Kain's eyes grow wide as he dives to the side, shoulder slamming into the floor as the car crushes one of his bodyguards into the wall in a red smear. Glass rains down all around him, and through the broken and twisted framework of the front lobby, Kain sees something even more catastrophic. A flash of steel, someone screaming, and a young Japanese man launched through the air like a missile towards the building, ony to vanish from thin air a moment later. "Oh shit," Kain spits out, scrambling to his feet as he watches a pair of men, one dressed in a long white coat, the other in a matte black jacket standing opposite of one another in front of a spiraling red fountain outside of the building. Each man widens their feet, hands glowing with a brilliant white-gold radiance of atomic fire. Kain's mouth hangs open, "Son… of a bitch."

New York City, Kibry Plaza — November 6th, 2006

"Sylar." The cloudy skies overhead mute any sunlight filtering through them, casting everything into a slate gray desaturation that robs the world of color and life. The wind, crisp and cool blows between the towering skyscrapers, plucking at the long trail of Peter Petrelli's jacket, casting his hair around wildly as his skin throbs and pulses with that fiery orange glow. He struggles, tensing up, trying to keep it all under control. Dark eyes peer across the divide of cracked concrete and toppled police cars to the man dressed in nothing but ink black clothing, his dark hair swept back away from his face. He raised one radiant hand, a single finger wagging back and forth in some sub-atomic gesture of chastising the proverbial white knight standing before him.

But even as his hand makes the motion, something about it feels wrong, feels confusing. This place, these people and these faces, it's like waking up into a dream already in progress. Tavisha's mind reels as he finds himself face to face with a furious looking young man with blood running down the side of his head with no visible cuts. His clothing is tattered, jacket shredded, but it is as though his emotions are even more severely ruined.

Unlike Peter Petrelli, Tavisha can feel the heat and warmth of an injury to his side, blood flowing out of a wound caused by a sword, one that may have belonged to the idealistic Japanese man he just telekineticly launched into— well it's hard to say where he is now. Peter's lips downturn into a scowl, his breathing becoming faster and faster as his eyes begin to glow with a faint orange luminescense, "You're going to pay, for everything you've done!"

Unfamiliar words somehow strike humour through Tavisha's chest. As if what this stranger was saying was funny on some level, in the same way a puppy baring its teeth might incite the same reaction. He can even feel the smile on his face widen, voluntary and yet not at the same time. Driving through a script that he only knows the words to as he says them.

"I'm not the one who's going to pay."

Pay. Yet another person asking him to pay the tolls of his sins, and around him, the world seems to shift a little - as if everything in his line of sight were doubling in a drunken haze before regrouping, stabilising. This is wrong. This isn't familiar, and yet here he is, lift a hand to send the man in white in front of him slamming to the ground, to crush the only one who stands in his way—

He hesitates. Deviating. That smile vanishes as that alien rage is looked at closer, and Tavisha looks around this piece of city unfamiliar to him. What is this?

It only lasts a moment, before his hand thrusts out unwillingly, sending his enemy tumbling through the air, to make the concrete beneath him crack with force. He takes another step forward. He can taste blood from former blows, his clothes feel damp and stiffened from the blood leaking out his side. Painfully real, and therefore a slippery slope. With a path so neatly paved in front of him, how can he not follow it?

Struggling up to one knee, blood flows freely from Peter's forehead as the cuts and splits in his skin from the telekinetic blow begin to seal shut almost as quickly as they are gouged into his flesh, leaving only the tacky blood behind. There's a sudden rupture in the air, a burst of pressure around the white-jacketed man as loose pieces of newspapers scattered from the demolished news stand are tossed into the air. Peter launches himself forward like a bullet in a blur of flight, his shoulder slamming into Sylar's midsection as he drives him back against the windshield of one of the parked police cruisers, shattering the glass and sending them both sprawling away from the source of the impact.

Peter collides with the stone steps in front of the place, bones cracking and skin splitting open as he bounces across the concrete, only to seal and reset before he even hits the ground. The white jacket is soon dappled with red, "You killed Ted."

There is a static crackle in the air, everything changes for a moment, revealing a narrow street and a black van flipping end over end in the air, crashing down on its roof and sliding forward in a shower of sparks. The doors fling open, revealing a bearded man chained up to a seat, screaming for help. Screaming.

Screaming as his skull splits open and—

Peter's back up on his feet, hands glowing in flickering pulses like a dying lightbulb, he's struggling to keep control of this ability, and its eating him alive in the sunken-in quality of his eyes, in the pallor of his skin and the sweat clinging to his brow.

He's weak.

It hurts. Bruises bloom, cuts bleed, head spins. But Tavisha gets up as smoothly as if his ribs weren't cracked, the deep gash wasn't tearing worse from all the movement. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is strength, control… and winning.

"I've killed a lot of people, Peter," he hears himself say. Peter. Peter Petrelli. The real Midtown Man. The slamming realisation does not show outwardly, his eyes remaining cold and his steps taking him closer and closer towards the struggling younger man and the poison light radiating from pallid skin. But inside, Tavisha knows a disruption of panic and desperation. It doesn't show in his voice, which comes smoothly, taunting. "So many. And I'm gonna kill more. That is…" His gaze drags deliberately up and down the other man. "Unless you beat me to it."

His hand extends, a small explosion emitting from his palm in a ball of light, casting strange light and stranger shadows. He shows teeth in a wide smile. "Boom." His other hand flicks, summoning up a broken piece of roadside debris, whipping and spinning through the air to take off the other man's head—

The crystal is raised in the air in his own hand and Tavisha watches as it comes down again onto the unsuspecting man's head, cracking his skull and sending him sprawling, the sound of clocks ticktickticking in the background as he moves forward to begin the bloody work—

"No!"

Brian Davis hits the ground with a wet slap, blood spurting forth from the crack in the back of his head, pooling out beneath his body onto the hardwood floor of the apartment. Pale gray light from a cloudy sky spills in through tall windows, and all Sylar can do is stare down at the blood-drenched piece of jagged crystal in his hands, small pieces of which are now embedded in the back of the other man's head. Fingers loosen, and the crystal tumbles out from Sylar's hand, twirling in the air to reflect the dim light coming in through the windows, before striking the floor hard with a dense thunk, bouncing away to slide beneath a table.

There is something about Brian, though, that seems to resonate with Sylar. He is a humble, meek man with unassuming looks and darkly framed glasses. Glasses like the ones Sylar can see in his peripheral vision, resting upon the bridge of his nose, ones that he sees the world in slightly distorted view through.

Ones he sees Brian Davis' unmoving corpse through.

"So…" The voice comes out of nowhere, just like the dark silhouette across the room leaning with his back to the window, arms folded. Stephen Verse is an unassuming man, his long black coat buttoned from throat to waist, giving him a narrow and angular profile. Dark brows lower, eyes focused on Brian Davis' body. "This is where the monster took his first life… I always wondered."

He lifts his hands to remove the glasses on his face, looking down at the black frames and the prescription glass that glints in the light. Puts the world in a different focus, but all he can still see is Brian's bulky frame sprawled silent on the ground. Tavisha's hip hits the corner of a table as he backs away, head whipping around to face verse when the man seems to simply— be there in the next blink.

"You're not real," Tavisha accuses, and stops, heavy brow furrowing. No. Wrong way around. None of this can possibly be real, as much as all the details are there perfectly, the dust motes swirling in the bleak light, the scent of blood starting to thicken. But no, this, isn't real, which means…

He slides the glasses back on. They settle there seamlessly, as if he were used to such eyewear. He looks younger, because he is, but the cleanly shaven face, immaculately combed hair and the shirt buttoned right up to his throat lay emphasis on this youthfulness. "Where am I?" he asks the other man, now, a plea in his voice. "What do you mean, I— didn't do this, I don't… remember this."

"Someone did a number on you, Mister Gray." The man at thew window murmurs in quiet contemplation, "I'm just trying to put the pieces back together again, so I can see if you know anything worthwhile." One moment the man is by the window, the next he's standing across the apartment, looking up at a noose hanging over a chair. Brian's body and the bloodstain are gone, the scent of blood now having faded from the air as he skitters and jitters through time like the skipping frames of an old film.

"Driven to suicide by the guilt you felt at the crime you committed," Verse's eyes narrow, "I studied serial killers in college, they always fall for the same things, into the same patterns." He looks down, slowly, letting his dark eyes settle on the man across from him.

"Though, you know, for all the government has of you on record, there's still something I'm curious about…" The room jitters, and the noose is gone, severed at the midpoint by something that burned the rope. Frozen in time behind Stephen, a young blonde woman kneels down beside Sylar's doppleganger, with a noose hung around his neck. Verse steps around the phantoms, even as a dull ache throbs in the back of Sylar's head.

"Serial killers don't just spontaneously spring up, they're forged, sculpted like a clay statue by careless hands." He looks down to the floor, then up to Sylar, "This wasn't were it all started, was it now?" Lips curling into a cruel smile, Verse tilts his head to the side as he talks, "How did a bumbling watchmaker turn into you? Turn into this?" The throbbing sensation grows stronger, "Whoever broke you did so with finesse. I'm actually impressed."

The world shifts around him seemingly at this stranger's whim. Raises proverbial hackles, makes Tavisha tense up under the realisation that— he has no control here. He stares down at the frozen figures of the young blonde woman cradling an arm around the shoulders of his younger self, and slowly shakes his head. Denial.

"What do you mean broke me?" he asks, unable to look away from the frozen scenario. Even stepping forward. A wince crosses his features at the continual throb at the back of his head, hand drifting up as if to touch but never quite making it. "I was— I hit my head, what— you're doing something." And now Verse is treated to a stare, accusatory and cold. Hackles up once more, a hand partially raising as if perhaps this place were real and so therefore he can do everything he knows to this entity. Maybe.

"You didn't hit your head." Verse is suddenly behind Sylar, one hand on his shoulder, "Someone tampered with your mind, I can feel the scars in here, the blockage and repression, but there's these places… she wields a scalpel, but I guess," he squeezes the shoulder his hand lays on, "you could call me an archaeologist."

With those words, the surroundings flicker and blur, distorting until what was once the interior of a gloomy apartment changes into an exterior view of a wide building with plate glass windows giving way to view people sitting in booths, wrap around counters — a diner. The billboard sign over the entrance reads Big Jim's Franks and Fries.

No longer standing behind Sylar, Verse is instead seen as a muted image through the glass of the doors, his back to Sylar. Something about this place, about the dusty parking lot and the flat blue sky above it that seems to stretch out into infinity in either direction is familiar.

Something about it is terrifying.

Silence stretches for as long as Tavisha can see, and there's an electrical taste in the air that speaks of a coming storm, and then something more abstract. The fear that rises off the heated ground like wind kicking up the dust and makes his heart hammer, anxiety of some childhood notion of—

Abandonment?

A sound, the beating of wings. Tavisha turns his eyes from the road, towards the diner. A raven rests on the top of the sign, preening its feathers before snapping its long black beak with a sharp click. The feathers at its curving neck stand on end, and it gives a long, lonesome caw that makes his soul shiver. A warning. Its head twitches to look at him with one blinking, beady eye, before Tavisha follows the direction of where the beak is pointing, towards the car with its idle engine running. A woman sits in the passenger seat.

"I know this place," Tavisha tells no one. The raven ruffles its feather restlessly when he doesn't move. The promise of memory is as tempting as it is horrifying, and it's hard to tell if this place is a hook to lure him in… or gut him.

Inside of the diner, Verse sidesteps someone emerging from within, a rough-looking man buttoning up his jacket, wavy brown hair cascading down to his shoulders, a brown beard trimmed close to his jawline. He brushes past Tavisha as if he isn't there at all, but Verse's attention is focused somewhere else, eyes fixated on a pair seated at one of the booths, and the cry of a young boy running away from them. Verse's eyes follow the child as he moves to the door, "Dad! Dad!" Then focus to the pair seated at the diner table, through the haze of the windows, the man and woman there seem familiar, seem — something — but —

"Dad!" The doors to the diner fling open, sending the raven high above alight to the air, wings spread and a dark feather left adrift in its wake. As the boy rushes out into the parking lot, it is that same sense of resonance he felt when he looked at Brian's bespectacled form, but instead those thick perscription glasses seem so much more familiar.

The boy runs right past Sylar, towards the car. "You were broken," Verse's voice is heavy, breathed out just behind Tavisha at his ear, breath felt against his cheek. But it's not Verse's words, it's more the click of the car's passenger door opening that has Tavisha's attention, "You were made broken."

Tavisha can only watch the boy run— Gabriel Gray, all of five years old, coming to stop in his tracks and watch with incomprehension as the car doors shut and he's left standing. His adult counterpart a few feet behind him knows, intensely, everything behind felt, the twisting anxiety and confusion and the slow dread that comes from feeling lost.

"No, I— " he starts to say in denial of Verse's words spoken so close to him, but he's fixated on the argument beginning to start up in the car. Escalating higher and higher, and then suddenly, a bright splash of red, stunning in the bleaker surroundings and drawing a gasp of horror from Tavisha.

Unlike the memory of himself still standing fixed and watching his mother's murder, Tavisha turns with sudden ferocity, hands reaching out to grab the front of Verse's black clothing. The man is shaken rough, met with the blazingly angry, pained eyes of the erstwhile serial killer, twisting fabric in his fists. "You're lying like everyone else lies!" he snarls at the telepath. Behind him, the sound of a car door opening, the fleshy thud of a dead body falling to asphalt. "Show me the truth."

Brown eyes seem to turn a more luminescent, radioactive orange, much like Peter Petrelli, hands seemingly singing the fabric beneath him. He can't be broken. He can't have always been broken, it has to be possible that he's not—

Sylar.

Verse tenses visible when Sylar is able to grab him, and the expression on his face reads of evident horror at the serial killer's capability to reach out and touch his mental form. It shows a vast aptitude for adaptation, for understanding and comprehension. Quickly, and perhaps because of the fright, the scenery changes in a sudden eruption of flames and light. The world burns away, crumbling like ash as a blast wave demolishes the diner, rendering it so much wooden flinders and crumbling stone. Verse too explodes away in Sylar's hands, his clothing peeling away like the flesh from his bones as his muscular system is ripped free and blackened to reveal bones exploding from the shockwave of a nuclear detonation.

When the blinding light fades, all Tavisha can hear is screaming, wild and horrified screaming like some animal being tortured on a table. Through pillars of smoke and rolling waves of fire, he can see a man on his knees in the center of a broken crater beneath orange-brown skies. Flames rise up through the jagged skeletal hulks that were once skyscrapers, office buildings and apartment complexes. His clothing is charred and blackened, nearly blown entirely off of his body, hair wild and desheveled, but despite the soot, ash and dirt clinging to his sweaty frame, he is uninjured — physically.

Screaming, staring at his hands, tears streaming down his cheeks as his entire body convulses into ragged, gasping sobs and paniced cries, Tavisha sees another form amid the rubble. Laying in the dense debris, slumped over the broken stone with his clothing too flayed from his body, Tavisha sees himself.

He sees himself slouched over a piece of concrete that was once a sidewalk, surrounded by blackened bones and twisted unrecognizable heaps of metal and stone. His skin is reddened, seared in places, hair smoldering and eyebrows nearly singed clear off. But he is — perhaps impossibly — alive.

"This is the truth," the pillars of smoke and ash whisper.

His knees almost weaken to the point of crumbling at the sudden shock of destruction around him, backing away a few staggering steps as his gaze switches from the devestated hunched figure of Peter through to the figure of himself, unconscious and still, save for the flapping of what remains of his clothing.

"It… it was his fault," he hears himself spitting, the dust in the air, the smoke of burning rubble, almost enough to sting his eyes, close his throat. "He wasn't strong enough to control it. All those abilities and he had no idea… It's a waste." Why? Why this sudden hatred for the man several feet away from him, sobbing? There's jealousy, there, and disgust, the same disgust that drove him to lift the crystal high and bring it down to smite Brian Davis and steal from him what he did not deserve.

Tavisha— Sylar— someone transcending those labels of time and places, leaving behind only emotion and essence, turns in a circle to find the man who dragged him down memory land. "Don't hide," he growls, a hand coming out, telekinetically shoving aside the broken husk of a car, blasted clean of paint and glass. "You brought me here. Why. Who are you."

The smoke and ashes swirl and churn, forming into the man in the long black coat once more. His head inclines, even as the sounds of fire and Peter's screaming go on behind him. "I was looking, inside, to see what you knew. Unfortunately, your mind is too fragmented to be of any use to the government…" His head cants to one side, "So," Verse's shoulders shrugs slightly, "I'm just going to trap you in here— in this cycle of nightmares and destruction for you to watch for…" There's a vague motion of his hand, "Forever is a long time, I guess," one dark brow arches, "isn't it?"

Taking a step back into the ash and smoke, Verse's voice raises again, coming from all directions. "In the end, I think, this is better for you, better than a man who took so many lives in the selfish pursuit of power deserves. You won't even know you're rotting away in prison, for however long it takes for you to be nothing more than dust and bones."

The voice grows distant, "Just like these people here."

Fear stabs through the anger, but doesn't disperse it - hot and glowing white inside him, lips pulling back in a sneer as Peter screams on and on in the background and the sound of death rings silence through the smoke, destroyed city for as long as the eye can see.

"Better men have tried," he says, but his voice sounds thin in the air, and Verse is getting further and further away, until he gets the impression that he's saying nothing to anyone at all. But this does seem awfully familiar…

"Doesn't it, Gabriel?"

Tavisha whips around when this new— no, not exactly new voice sounds out. Accented, vaguely, with an old man's gravel to it. A silhouette in the dust and smoke, hunched shoulders, the shape of a cane extending down from one hand. Even in all the haziness, Tavisha bringing up a hand to shield his own eyes from the billowing smoke and ash that seems to thicken around this shadow, he can see a pair of bright blue eyes that look upon without kindness.

"You know who I am," the figure asks, in a voice that starts to distort, to sound like multiple voices all murmuring together. "And yet you don't know who you are, do you?" That blue gaze seems to sharpen, focus, a pause of uncertainty. "Do you?"

Peter is gone. The unconscious form of himself is gone. But Tavisha isn't alone. The world around him flickers, a moment of darkness— and brighter lights. The sound of metal screeching and the distant hum of a vast engine, voices. He's lying down, his eyes crack open a fraction, lights overhead—

"Wo yiwei ni bi zhei yangzi qiang."

Amongst the smoking rubble, black boots step casually over the rock. A long rawhide black coat, glossy black hair and dark eyes. Sharper cut of white teeth, a smile without soul. "I said that, I thought you were stronger than this. You've forgotten your Mandarin," says the sharply accented voice, a shake of his head. "You'll hope you have not forgotten how to fight, dixiong."

"I haven't."

"Then…" That head tilts up, chin lifting, a stream of cigarette smoke in all the dust and ash. "You need to get up."

He breathes in air that isn't polluted with smoke, clean and sharp, a small gasp as he's pitched back to where he's lying prone, head turning. He sees— a cage. A wall. A shut circular window. A blur of orange down the length of his body—

"I know."

Forming a triangle, Tavisha turns one last time towards this voice. Beneath him, it feels as though as the world is crumbling. A man steps forward, just over 6' in height, dressed in black with an ice cold look to the way he stares. It's himself, a swagger in his walk as he comes all the more closer, flicking a glance towards the entity of Zhang Wu-Long, and then Kazimir Volken, then back to Tavisha. "It's about time…" this identical man says, and from his hands, lasers spring. "Been waiting for freedom for a long time, Tavisha." Sylar's lip curls a little as Tavisha only stands, paralysed. "It's nothing personal."

The lasers move too swiftly for Tavisha to feel them, if he could feel anything at all. Through his throat, his chest, his head, his limbs, everything crumbles into so much… ash, as does the world around him, breaking, coming apart—

Strapped on board the plane in a jumpsuit of orange, Sylar gives a gasp, eyes fluttering, body tensing against restraints before relaxing again. The beat of his own heart beat keeps him grounded, even when he shuts his eyes, he does not slip back into Verse's invented world. Playing possum. Still, he can't help but smile. It's good to be back.

"He's out cold." Over the roar of the engines in this C-130 cargo plane, Sylar can hear the voice of the man who tormented him in his dreams, in his nightmares — Agent Verse. Standing beside the hospital gurney that is strapped down to the deck of the plane, the government agent in the long, black coat turns to a man in full body armor with a respirator mask, goggles and helmet on. The same security force that apprehended Tavisha in the Rookery. "He'll be in a coma until I say otherwise, there's no need for the sedatives, that might actually let him wriggle out of his mental restraints — it's been known to happen."

A door from the flight deck slides open, and another man in body armor emerges from the pilot cabin, his voice too familiar to Sylar from a dream of a simpler man. "We're over Ohio right now, just a few hours from Utah. How's our sleeping princess doing?" Jonathan Carmichael is a formidable presence on the plane, and his presence here elicits a salute from the armored soldier carrying the assault rifle.

"Like I was just telling the Lieutenant, he's out for the rest of…" Verse shrugs one shoulder, "Whenever, really. I'll bring him in for another round of interrogation once we reach Moab, and then it's up to the higher ups how long we leave him comatose in Red Level. Maybe we could lock him and Petrelli in a cage?" One dark eyebrow rises, "Carmichael, you wouldn't believe what I found inside of his head, about the bomb…"

The statement elicits a tantalized raise of his brow, but before Carmichael can comment on it, there's a ringing inside of his suit. Flipping open a pocket on his black tactical vest, he slides out a slip cellphone, opening it up as he begins to pace away from Verse and the soldier. "Hello? Ah, you're back in the States, sir? Excellent, how did — " There's a tilt of his head, "You captured Case? Did you get the blood sample for — " A hasty nod as he's cut off, "That's fantastic news. I've got Sylar in transit to Moab as we speak, Verse did his first round of interrogations in flight." A pause, followed by a furrowing of Carmichael's brows, "Oh, yes — we had him moved to New York for a rest period and to fill us in on — right, yes I understand the importance of Peter's — " Hissing with frustration, Carmichael paces back past Sylar.

"No, no, they all worked out perfectly. For the first unofficial test of the preliminary FRONTLINE unit, they were able to make Sylar's capture much easier. I've been able to work on pinpointing the concussive blasts better as well, they hardly felt — " A confused sound in mid sentence, "Pardon? No I — No, I haven't heard anything about that…"

It's been a long time since all three categories of mind, body and soul were Sylar's own, and ironic that he experiences them now while trapped. A plane, Ohio? Moab? While he lies still, with no choice to lie still, he tries to pick out the last month and a half, a collection of memories that feel as alien to him as the ones he got through tactile telepathy. Some naive idiot calling himself a strange name, letting himself be so easily manipulated by those petty thieves and vernim of the Pancratium, the boat rat pirates, even Eileen.

No time for that now, the thought of it makes his head swim with rage, makes his world tilt. It's too much. Better to remember the crumbling bridge and what it felt to be free of Volken, the last of his memories, at least. He focuses, now, letting his hearing sweep the length of the plane, detecting heart beats, human presences, from the pilots in the cockpit through to what passengers and crew there are.

Sylar was never good at plans, not in the tactical sense. But he's good at knowing what he wants.

And as a rule… he's good at getting it.

The hand nearest the pacing Carmichael, hidden from the stoic Verse, curls fingers inwards. It's the man with the assault rifle that goes stiff and still and silent, a rigid statue in black fatigues, goggles hiding panicked wide eyes as puppet-like control courses through his body, rendering him a living, breathing statue. This one will do.

"…Thirty Six?" Carmichael pales, rubbing a gloved hand at the side of his face, "Jesus Christ, I— No, I've been too busy to keep an eye on the news, when we got word that Sylar was — " Carmichael stops, looking up to Verse for a moment with his head tilted to the side. "Stephen — " the sound of his name causes Verse to look up from the stack of ammunition crates nearby, one dark brow raised. "Go to the forward cabin and see if you can get one of the local news networks on the satellite television, apparently Petrelli is about to make a speech about some Evolved mass-suicide."

Verse nods slowly, tucking his hands into his pockets as he quietly shoulders past the paralyzed FRONTLINE agent, moving into the forward compartment of the cargo plane, where the other four FRONTLINE soldiers rest during the flight. With Verse gone, Carmichael's tone changes considerably. "He's out of the room…" Carmichael paces back past Sylar again, phone to his ear, "Did he get a bead on Bennet's location?" There's a hopefulness in Carmichael's voice, "Right, well— it's a start. How soon until you pull Winters from the Company and over to Pinehearst?" One, slow nod of his head comes immediately after, "Good, good. Last I checked Parkman is still stumbling around Staten Island like a blind monkey, we're solid on going ahead with our plan. There's no one in HomeSec or the Company to get in the way. I'll order the transfer of Case from Primatech, and we can have the transport hit, make it look like a Phoenix job. We'll smuggle Case out to Primatech…"

Pausing for a moment, Carmichael raises a brow when he notices the FRONTLINE soldier not moving, eyes narrowing slightly, "Where's Monroe, by the by, has he left for… hold on a sec," Carmichael approaches the soldier, one brow raised, "You alright, Lieutenant?"

No response, although a full bodied twitch suddenly ripples through the soldier - but nothing. Not a word. Pulse raises, breathing starts to rise, responses of a different kind. Sylar's hand suddenly twists on his wrist, and in the same movement, the soldier swivels around to face Carmichael.

Two of Sylar's fingers curve, and pull.

The deafening release of bullets from the muzzle roars in the cabin, continual, penetrating flesh and then metal, the soldier standing helplessly as the weapon judders in his hands until its empty, left to stand as Sylar whips the restraints are with a simple thought, staggering up and off the gurney which rocks against its straps. His limbs feel heavy from the induce coma, and the world tips a little as dizziness catches a hold of him, but like the sword slice in his side in Kirby Plaza, it simply doesn't matter.

He's not going to wait for the plane to land to get out of this.

Carmicharl smashes up against the side of the plane, his back lamming against netting hanging from the walls as an entire clip from the soldier's M-16 is unloaded. While Carmichael had avoided using the heavier body armor of the other soldiers, now is the time when he would have wished for it, when the rounds from that machine gun saw through him and the plane's cargo hold like a needle through paper. Blood sprays against the back wall, and Carmichael slides down, leaving a dark crimson streak on the wall of the hold as the soldier's gurgling and strangled cry behind his respirator gives no semblance of freedom.

Immediately on the sound of gunfire, the door from the forward compartment slides open as a pair of the FRONTLINE agents emerge from within. Immediately, a familiar sound ghosts into the back of Sylar's mind, a horrible and nagging cacophony of psychic whispers that pervades his thoughts. The noise, the psychic static has an effect unexperienced on Staten Island, it disconnects him from the soldier he had puppeted, serving as some kind of dampening field for psychic commands.

The soldier behind that one raises his assault rifle while screaming from the pilot's cabin ahead is clearly Agent Verse's panicked voice. The FRONTLINE soldiers, however, do not hesitate when confronted with Sylar, all that is afforded to him is a horrifying expulsion of greenish vapor from the respirator of the guard he had been puppeteering, a cloud of chlorine gas that begins filling the cabin, stinging the eyes and choking at Sylar's lungs.

The other FRONTLINE soldier immediately rushes to Carmichael's side, taking a knee to lay one hand on his chest, looking up to Sylar with his rifle still held out in one hand. Quickly, there is an exchange of light between the soldier's hand and Carmichael's chest as the dying Homeland Security commander's wounds begin to seal shut, spitting out bullets that clatter to the steel underfoot.

The worst surprise comes quickly from the doorway to the cabin, where the last of the five FRONTLINE soldiers emerges with a taser gun, launching darts directly into Sylar's chest. The sudden voltage of electricity hurts for only a moment, before a numb pinprickling sensation comes over Sylar's extremities as the plane buckles and shakes from the depressurization caused by the bullet holes. The prickling feeling in his fingertips isn't from the taser dart, but from the inky black vapor being expelled from his body in reaction to it…

At the sudden plume of greenish fumes from the soldier's mouth, Sylar's lips pull back in a snarl, orange clad arm extending, fingers curling as he clamps down around the man's throat, cutting off breath save for a final, forlorn wisp of chlorine. The probes of the taser are a disruption, the sudden surge of electricity enough to kill the telekinetic hold and send the soldier sprawling and choking.

The numbness is only familiar in the most distant of senses - he'd never been privy to Kazimir's legacy, not willingly, and now it happens as easily as, well. As the Hunger. Glancing down at his chest, he tears the wired probes from his body, which skitter on the ground. The damage and pain caused vanishes into nothing, and the corner of his mouth pulls up into something like a smile, but certainly can't be.

Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.

A sweep of his hand has the soldiers sprawling in a tangle of limbs and equipment, another sending the gurney tearing out of its straps and out of the way as his foot steps carry him closer and closer to Carmichael, eyes healed skin beneath torn clothing. "Well, well," Sylar murmurs, gaze shifting to the healer. A hand goes out, a telekinetic hook dragging the soldier closer, under Sylar's grasp. The mask and helmet yanked off ruthlessly, and one large hand clasping over the healer's face. Beneath Sylar's fingertips, skin begins to flake, veins begin to go rigid and black.

And then it all backfires.

As Sylar begins to call out Kazimir's life-leeching power, the healer panics and grasps at Sylar's arm. In the moment of panic, a pale white-green glow spreads form the hand into Sylar's arm, followed by an intense and disruptive feeling of colliding energies as Sylar's arm flakes and splinters, bones softening and flesh withering from the healer's touch as his energy and Kazimir's collide much in the same way he must have felt under the touch of Abigail Beauchamp. Sylar's fingers wither and thin, turning into something Skeletal and mummified, flesh flaking apart to match the healer's horrified and dessicated face as he scrambles away on his hands and knees once he hits the floor.

The chlorine agent continues to choke, grasping at his neck where his trachea has been caved in by the telekinetic hand, wisps of chlorine gas seeping out of his respirator as he falls backwards to the ground. «Open fire, open fire!» One voice crackles through the respirator, and three of the soldiers raise their rifles in a hail of bullets, deafening report and brilliant muzzle flash.

Unfortunately, the bullets ricochet around the cabin, punching through the hull and out into the open air as the plane wavers again. A crackling white field of telekinetic force that stopped the shockwave of an atomic blast enough for Sylar to survive easily pushes those bullets away. Several of them puncture one of the engines, followed by a shattering sound of exploding metal and a shudder of the plane in mid flight.

The whispers of the telepathic disruption agent grows louder as his heart rate escalates, fear rises up in him. Somewhere in this chaos, a gleaming length of steel is slid out from a boot, a long combat knife, and Carmichael is up again. His bulky frame rises quickly, the knife moving fast, punching against the telekinetic shield, sliding and scraping against waves of unseen force as Carmichael pushes close, a rippling wave of telepathic energy forming in front of his brow before —

It all goes black. And silent.

Not even a dying roar from the plane penetrates the sudden clamping down of lightwaves, soundwaves, but it flickers, hazily, coming into being in flashes when Sylar's concentration falters.

A deafened clatter of a combat knife falls to the ground in hazy light before it shorts out again—

— a spatter of blood and ash against the curving cabin wall.

" — we have a situation up here, repeat, the prisoner— "

Carmichael pinned to the wall, arms splayed and vibrant red running in streaks down his face as skin splits—

All the while, the plane buckles, dips, and through the oppressive darkness, lasers sear though, the only light that seems to get by, a vibrant green that severs flesh, bone, metal, and the feel of wind pressure starts to grow and grow, when suddenly, the attenuation of light and sound lifts— to a roar of screaming engines.

From the cockpit, Sylar can hear the panicked announcements to no where. "Mayday mayday!"

Carmichael screams, pinned to the wall as his skull splits open under Sylar's focus. The other FRONTLINE soldiers, struggling to maintain their balance amidst the chaos have but one moment of thought once they see Carmichael's brain being bared to the air, before —

The collision is abrupt, the plane's nose smashing into the ground of a corn field, upending as the entire cargo jet flips and cartwheels, wings shearing off in the first rotation, flaming engines rocketed away from the fuselage. In mid-air, the contents of the steel tube of death are thrown around violently. Sylar's world becomes a blur of bodies, blood, branches, flames, smoke and eventually cracked steel as the tumbling wreckage of the now burning plane smashes across the ground.

The last thing Sylar catches in his vision is through the smashed open tail section of the plane, which are approaching trees hovering upside down in his field of vision as the fuselage barrels towards a forest, smoke and flames enveloping the cabin before—

Darkness.


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March 17th: Pay Up
Previously in this storyline…
Pay Up

Next in this storyline…
The Survivor

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March 18th: The Survivor
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