Pay Up

Participants:

carmichael_icon.gif felix_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif victor_icon.gif

Also featuring:

jenny_icon.gif

Scene Title Pay Up
Synopsis Victor has just one thing he wants from the man who killed his sister.
Date March 17, 2009

Swinburne Island

Originally man-made to quarantine immigrants found carrying smallpox, cholera, and other potential outbreaks, Swinburne Island later fell under management by the National Park service. It's largely been forgotten in the days since the bomb. Few have the time or resources to spare for a ten acre plot of rocky, overgrown land. More than a mile off of South Beach, it's reachable only by boat, helicopter, or grueling swim. The sole standing structure, an immense, sprawling hospital complex, has fallen into a state of sad disrepair since it was last used in 1911. Portions of the roof have caved in and entire wings have been swallowed by encroaching plant life, including a tall, razor-sharp form of yucca often reffered to as 'Spanish Dagger.'


The moon's risen over a rowdy scene at the Angry Pelican, pirates and sailors alike drinking to their health for St. Patrick's Day. The dingy light bulbs light up the sheltered area and beyond while a select few talk and laugh noisily over pints of beer that aren't even luke warm. Within spitting distance, the harbor begins and draws out along the coast, a collection of wood both rotted and repaired, and docked boats and yachts of varying degrees of age and disarray bob listlessly in shallow waters.

Even further from the festivities, until the only thing to light the area are the lights of the boat and the half-covered moon above, several men are clamboring aboard a decently sized yacht, and on a jetty, two of them stand and converse, the papery shape of money in one of their hands. A regular routine for Tavisha, bargaining his way aboard a boat that with the right motivation in cash might just stop at Swinburne Island if they'd be so kind. Or so inclined to accept a toll.

Good thing he's become familiar with the routines of many of the pirates who dock here, and he's come at the correct hour. The money is passed over, and Tavisha casts one more glance inland before he's moving to follow the captain aboard, staying out of the way of the crew and keeping to himself. Out here, at this hour, the river seems as black as ink, and the sky not much better.

This time Victor's learned his lesson. Or at least one lesson. Less reliance on conventional stealth, step up the game to use his speed. While it's quite possible the man he thinks of as Sylar pinpointed him last time by reading his mind, he thinks really that it was the bird that spotted him.

There were no crows here but Vic has in the past fifteen minutes or so before Sylar's arrival captured and stuffed no less than twelve pigeons in a cardboard box. The box itself sits on top of a derelict building, boxtop shut with holes poked in it (because you gotta poke holes right?) with the occassional flapping of protesting wings from within. And an errant pigeon coo.

He couldn't really get close to any seagulls.

Vic has a small pair of binoculars that he's watching his quarry with from a distance, on top of the same derelict building. Money for a boat, huh? And because he's wearing a wire Vic talks as if to himself, "I'm watching him pay these guys money for something. I think he's probably paying them for a ride or something. Dunno why. He could be buying stuff…drugs?" Never occurred to Vic that Sylar might like drugs, but why not?

One of the boats at the dock is not the tramp freighter out of Indonesia it seems to be. She sits low in the water, not because of illegal goods, but because she is, at the moment, crammed full of varying flavors of govermental goons, armed and ready. There's a little command center jury rigged and set up in one of the passenger staterooms. There are fake 'crew' pretending to load and unload cargo, with the hurried furtiveness of those who trust no one not to rob them, and her engines are warmed for a quick launch.

"Well, that's somewhat encouraging," Felix says over the link, drily. "That he doesn't just fly there. We'd be SOL."

It takes a few minutes for the the crew of the boat named The Fair Lady to organise themselves. Tavisha stays upon the desk, moving to the railing where he knows from experience no one will necessarily usher/shove him out of the way, long legs braced against the metal in defiance of the gentle rocking of the yacht.

Incidentally, he can't help but glance off in the distance towards where a dozen or so pigeons flap and twitch restlessly within their prison. Nothing he can see or really understand, but the sense of distress is distracting, makes his shoulders knot with tension beneath his coat and strive to ignore it, concentrating instead on rippling black water below him. Besides, the boat is beginning to pull out, headed for his secluded home away from the coast of Staten Island, an independent and largely forgotten scrap of land.

Ohcrap. It's happening again. "He's looking this way…wait. Okay he's not now." Vic had a moment there. In fact he still has his own knot in his stomach. "He might know I'm here. I'm gonna follow him anyway." He waits for the boat to clear the land before turning around and lifting the lid off the box.

The pigeons practically explode from the box when he does that, giving a wash of psychic pigeon-relief.

Vic works his way down the building. By the time he makes it to the shore in a place other than the dock, that boat is out on the water by a few hundred yards. Cracking his knuckles, the speedster rubs his palms together and considers the water. It's a little choppy in close to the shore. He'll have to step high to keep from tripping on the waves. Taking a deep breath, he bursts into motion and leaves a brief rooster tail of seaspray as he darts right for the boat and then clings onto the side, finding purchase on a tire bumper there. It's cold out here and he's going to get wet, but he's along for the ride.

"Holy shi- can you do that, Ivanov?" says one of the fake 'crew' of the Wandering Star, as he watches Victor walk on water. Fel's been watching himself, and he arches a brow in surprise. "No, indeed, I can't. But he's going to teach me," His tone doesn't really brook any argument. They finish their tasks, and the Star pulls out, following the yacht Tavisha's on, albeit at an oblique angle, to make it look like she's making her way to one of the channels to the open sea. "You there?" he says to Victor, down the wire.

The Fair Lady cuts through the river at a decent speed, heedless of the additional young man that's clambored aboard. Tavisha just as heedless, allowing the bitingly cold wind to relax him now that that niggling tension has finally bled away.

If the youngest Childs sibling is listening, conversation can be heard in thick Brooklyn accents just above his head, practically. "Time is money, what's the captain got us dropping this guy off for?"

"It's just Swinburne, no return ticket. Relax."

"The fuck does he want out at Swinburne Island?"

"Beats me, 's where Discreetly docks, isn't it? Time's money, money's money, he can go out there and howl at the moon for all I care."

"Mm hmm." comes Vic's voice in a grunt for the benefit of the wire. Mustn't speak too much if at all. He's holding on and the icy water washes up on his legs before he's able to haul himself up a little more and more or less hang there on the tire for the long haul. Good thing he's got good strength for this sorta thing. Listening along, he says for the benefit of his wire-mic, "Swinburne."

"Understood," Felix says, tugging on his gloves. God, it's cold out on the water. "We'll be right behind you." And the Star starts to turn in a long arc that'll bring her to Swinburne.

It's not the longest of rides, the detour taking them speedily further and further from the shore, minutes passing by like the flowing water beneath the hull, out into a nautical middle of nowhere. Swinburne Island is near invisible, but the haze of lights beyond it outline its flat structure and silhouette against the backdrop of distant cities across the water. Tavisha steps lightly from boat to stone, barely giving a last glance at the yacht that took him out here.

It's a desolate place, with a breed of grass growing that can cut through bared skin, and the sprawling mass of the abandoned hospital is a broken-window presence, like gaping, sightless eyes that lead onto into unpromising darkness. Here… apparently, is home away from home. Tavisha wraps his coat tighter around himself, ignoring the sound of a second boat somewhere in the distance, mostly drowned out by the departing engine of the Fair Lady as he moves for the buildings.

One good thing, perhaps the only good thing, about being kind of washed with icy cold water is that it acclimates Vic to the temperature. But he's thinking as soon as he gets into the water that wire's going to short out and go fritz. Him getting wet was not part of the original plan…he had no idea they'd be leaving Staten Island. Although his fingers and hands hurt where he's holding on, they've gone semi-numb too so that helps him trick himself into holding on a little longer. Once the boat pulls back out to the water he says for the wire, "I have to get wet. We're on Swinburne." Then lets go and sinks into the water to let the boat go on its way.

Cautiously Vic swims up to the island in the dark and pulls himself out like some sort of sea creature that says, "Uck…" Because he says Uck, which you would say too if icy-cold water stuck your clothes to your body like that.

And of course, the wire dies. Oh, shit. There's a whole chorus of curses in various languages and at varying degrees of volume. "Fuck it," says Felix, looking to the HomeSec and NYPD ranking officers. "We get in there and dogpile him. No subtlety, no waiting. I'll be damned if I find that kid with his head scooped out on Swinburne, and Sylar sitting there licking his whiskers."

Step, step, step… step… step… stop. Tavisha's casual, weary walk for the hospital slows right down around the time a splash sounds out, which has no outward reaction apart from the slowing of his walk. Inside, however, his inward, thoughtful self slams from that to something far more wary and sharp, listening to that one remaining heart beat slowly moving for the shore of the manmade island.

Victor's progression onto and over the foot high stone barrier of Swinburne's manmade coast is possibly slow going for a speedster, water heavy in his clothes, but by no means impossible. However, before his legs can completely clear the icy hold of the river— yoink. An invisible hook of kinetic energy settles painlessly through his torso and propels him up and out, releasing to let him stagger or balance as he will onto dry land.

Tavisha? Tavisha isn't amused, hand lowering, fingers curling as does his mouth into a scowl, both irritated— and, well, concerned. Teenager stowaways rarely fair well. "What are you doing out here?" he says, voice low and sharp, and without recognition. Not yet.

And just like that Vic's heartrate is going like a hummingbird's. That's not a metaphor for him, as it would be for someone normal. In fact with Vic there are rare moments when he is able to perceive things in slow motion without actually moving in the corresponding speed. Those moments generally are induced by panic.

Panic happens.

So it is that to Vic it seems like he's taking about ten full minutes to get around to answering the man who has him hauled up and deposited rather unexpectedly in the open. To Tavisha it's probably more like an instant response. "Are you Gabriel Gray? Sylar?" he asks. Which is probably the dumbest question in the world, considering. He's seen photos. He's got every reason in the world to know the answer to that question is Yes, but still he asks it.

Fel can sympathize. He's already at the rail of the Star,as if he could urge to go faster by pushing on it. Not about to try that walking on water trip untrained, but as soon as she's within reach, he's frantically slinging over the walkway and pounding down it, not waiting for the normal humans to keep up with him. Gray will hear the sound of another vessel approaching.

The hand lowers further, an open look of surprise now showing themselves on features only barely visible. A pause that takes an eternity to the panicked senses of the speedster, Tavisha taking a step back and listening to that rapid heart beat with fascination entirely detached from the colder shock of reaction when his name - both his names - are spoken.

He could lie. But there feels something pointless about it, mouth parting to speak and nothing coming out. Then, finally, "You're the kid that followed me." It won't be the first time he's encountered someone from his past, some final mistake he's yet to know about and rectify, if he ever tried. "What do you want?"

The sound of a boat makes him start before an answer can be given. No one comes out here, save for Jack who isn't due for a while yet, and to his sensitive ears, it doesn't sound like the Casino Royale. Okay, new question, dark eyed gaze resting sharp on the boy. But he doesn't lash out, only asks in gentle tones, "What did you do?"

"Yeah." Yeah Vic's the kid that followed him. If he can be called a kid anymore. He'd have agreed with that word a scant few months ago, feeling like a kid. Still kind of thinking like a kid. He doesn't think he fits the criteria anymore. Strangely the question of what Vic 'did' goes over his head. He doesn't hear any boat. His ears are those of someone who is otherwise normal, so it doesn't get acknowledged just yet.

"I'm Victor Childs." he finds himself saying, experiencing that slight out of body experience one gets under dire pressure. It's like he's watching somebody else do this, not himself. His breath comes fast, panting. There's fear in his demeanor. Fear of Sylar, although the man in front of him does not act like the boogeyman he's come to expect. "You killed my sister. Her name was Jennifer Childs. Why?"

The choppy river is unpredictable, and the presence of boats coming and going could be accused for the sudden slap of a wave that beats a fist against the shore, frothing over the edge without actually reaching either man on the island, just a sudden crack of water against rock just a split second after the name Jennifer Childs is spoken.

A verbal electric shock if there ever was one. It's such a simple question. Why? For now, the distant sounds of the approaching boat can go ignored, and almost as if caught in some incredibly slow going waltz, Tavisha steps forward again. "I'm sorry," he tries, the words sounding flimsy even to him. The cold wind whips them away into nothing, but it's an attempt. "I don't why I killed her. Because I wanted her power. It's not simple." Convoluted answer to a simple, one-worded question. Another wave smacks against the manmade shoreline.

What do you do when the man you're convinced is a serial killing monster takes a step toward you, and you possess the power of superspeed? For Victor Childs on any other day that answer would be a flip of the coin between Fight or Flight. Tonight and at this moment, guided by his journey to this point, that coin lands on edge. He stands his ground.

"Gillian says she loves you. How in the fuck is that possible? After what you've done? Did you do something to her? You want a chance to do something to me?" What does that even mean? Once again, it's like somebody else is saying it. Vic didn't have a script coming into this, but apparently somebody else in his head did because he's just spitting out words he had no intention of saying.

It would have been too good to be true. There's a moment of silent faltering at the notion of have done something to Gillian, because god knows Tavisha asked her exactly the same thing as to how it's even possible and what if he…? No.

That— no. "Gillian knows me beyond what I've done," Tavisha says, experiencing very much Victor's sensation of hearing words come out of his mouth and feeling like he has little control as to what they are. Unlike the younger man, he struggles to get a grip, take control of the situation. "You shouldn't have come out here. I told you… whatever it is you want, you won't find it with me."

The chainsaw sound of the distant engine is a constant rub against his nerves, Tavisha's jaw clenching before he takes a few strides towards Victor. "There's a speedboat docked on the other side of the island, I'm taking you home— "

Home, the sudden notion of that flooding through him like so much water breaking from a dam, stopping Tavisha in his tracks before he can even contemplate grabbing Victor's arm. The mirage of a woman with red hair made redder with blood suddenly flickering into place, making the steady breath of steam against cold air flicker and falter.

"I'm not finished!" shouts Vic, some of the lava that's built up starting to find a path out toward an eruption. He wants to step back and keep distance between them, but what point? The other man can just pick him up with a thought. He tries to calm his voice again before whatever that is threatens to spin him out of control here. "Look…I don't care what you say. I don't care what any of them say. All they've done is try to keep me from the truth. Gillian's lied to me because of you." Oh, she eventually told him the truth, but the lies were ones of omission, not falsehood. "To protect you. What the hell about you is worth protecting, Sylar? Why would she do that?" Perhaps that most of all is what has him tumbling. Confused.

"There's nothing worth protecting about Sylar," Tavisha snaps, in an almost distracted, almost injured tone of voice, unfocused gaze sharpening once more and setting on Victor's. "But I'm not that man anymore. I'm…"

Is this what you're going to do? A feminine voice, it seems to blend in with the continual waves, the spray of water, even the sounds of the boat coming closer and closer. Are you going to kill all of us? Does he have something you want, like I did?

"Doesn't matter. We're going," he finally asserts, trying to distract himself from the glimpses of the redheaded phantom that both urges and warns him against the desire to repeat his mistakes. Over Victor's shoulder, Tavisha can see it now, the boat's urgent approach. His hand lashes out to grip a handful of the boy's soaking cold sweater, to drag him back and away.

Vic makes himself a dead weight. He's not cooperating, not fighting. He'll definitely slow Gabriel's escape. But he grits his teeth and says, "You're not him anymore? You what? Changed? What'd you do, tell everybody you're sorry? I had to come here in person to get my apology. You gonna go to my mom and dad and tell them too?"

Vic directs a brief shove at the man who has him in his grip. It's not designed to get him to let go. Just to provoke him. "You owe. Pay up. PAY UP!" he cries, anger in his voice even while tears of bitter rage and shame well up in his eyes. Rage at this person in front of him and shame that in spite of it all Vic does feel like less of a man for NOT trying to get revenge. For not trying to kill him.

Tavisha is strong, but he doesn't have it in him to manhandle. Despite— well, everything. They get several feet, at least, down the dirt track pathway, past the razor sharp grass, until Victor's shove has Tavisha letting go again, eyes blazing with a warning kind of anger and Victor will know an invisible grip tightening somewhere in his chest, feet feeling lighter against the ground as Tavisha seals a telekinetic grip on the young man—

…but the anger dies again at the display of emotion. Far from fear, or acceptance, or Teo's brand of resigned, thoughtful help. It's pain and anger and all those uglier emotions that might be the reason Tavisha hasn't turned up on the Childs' doorstep and given his condolences about the girl whose blood still stains his hands in the ways it counts.

With a misdirected burst of frustration, the haunting words of Jenny Childs still echoing in his recent memory, Tavisha lets Victor go with a shove of his own, not gentle but not savage. "There's no payment," he insists, but the anger's gone, drained away. Giving way to weariness. "I'm sorry. Please. I'm so sorry. But there's nothing I can do for you. I can't bring her back, I— " All of those sentiments of wanting to learn from his mistakes and improving himself from being a serial killer all seem so petty and frivolous in this light. "What do you want?" Back to that question, which in hindsight doesn't seem to be so unimportant after all. Focused on the speedster, he can barely concentrate on much else

What does he want? That part's easy to answer, but so unsatisfying to say. Now that he's got this guy here Vic can feel that visceral call of darkness. Blood for blood. Eye for an eye. What he WANTS is to know that this man suffers exactly what his victims did, but what he says is, "I want you to turn yourself in. And stand trial." It sounds so stupid to his ears, but it IS one of the only things Vic actually came here intending to say. For that alone it's a mild shock that he managed to say it.

To Tavisha's sensitive hearing, there's suddenly a whole lot of noise at the edge of his range, growing closer. Feet on the deck, on the gangplank, on the soil. The rattle of armor and weaponry, the thud of human heartbeats, like distant drums. All of them spiked by adrenaline, but one has that hummingbird swiftness, not quite a match for Victor's own.

It's that nears first, with Felix aiming a flashlight at Gabriel with one hand, gun in the other. "Victor," he says, even before he addresses the serial killer. "Run."

Turn himself in. In a way, Tavisha senses the misdirection of this sentiment, can see that there is so much more Victor might want to do now that his heart is pounding and he's face to face with the prey he's been hunting. Tavisha can sympathise, looking across at the younger man with something like apology that goes beyond a simple sorry for the murders.

The roaring presence of the boat is enough to turn Tavisha's head, numbly watching as a flashlight beam swings around on to him, obscuring what he can see of the boat - but not what he can hear. Icy realisation makes his mouth set in a line. That's right. Run, he mutters in Victor's head— and with a hand movement, the flashlight's beam suddenly twists in an unnatural arc of light, up and away and back around to direct into the fed's eyes. It snaps back into a normal trajectory a moment later, but shadowy camouflage is already seeping over Tavisha's form— which is already bolting away.

Answer enough to whether he will willingly turn himself in, really.

Oh, Vic intends to run. But not away. In this the man calling himself Tavisha will find a problem because while Vic does not intend to try to murder the man, he will do everything he can to keep him from escaping. It's with a dumbfounded look that he spends the next three seconds watching the flashlight trick, more mind-over-matter, and then bursts into speed after Gabriel, all energy and intent focused on a tackle. The plan: Grab him around the legs with both arms and hang on!

In all honesty, were they alone, Felix would blithely consider murdering the man. But there's a whole pack of varying flavors of other real cops, and thus he's after Sylar like a grayhound after the little plastic rabbit. Blindly, however - he pauses after a few steps to shake his head, try and clear it. "Get him," he says to the cops with him. The weapon he pulls is not his usual pistol - it's one of the HomeSec tranq guns. They do intend to take Sylar alive, if at all possible.

Oof! The partially camouflaged erstwhile serial killer winces as sharp grass cuts into his hands, the speedster managing to fairly tackle him around the legs, far outclassing Tavisha's mundane long-legged lope. Not inclined to kill as he once was, he still cut his teeth in the ring of Staten Island's Pancratium, and he's quick to retaliate, twisting around on his back to wave a hand— and bat Victor aside several feet with a sudden, far rougher slam of telekinesis than he'd intended.

Panic will do that. Through the night shadows, the needle-thin lasers look brilliantly green as they sweep across the ground from Tavisha's fallen form, cutting through the ankles of the cop quickest to follow Felix's orders, bright enough to burn but not to sever. Can't afford to kill, not now, and he's scrambling back up to his feet.

It's such a strange thing to be batted aside by a force you can't see or really feel so much as be affected by. Perhaps even stranger that in the midst of this Vic realizes that he SHOULD have just been killed. He goes tumbling over the sawgrass, which of course bloods him quite thoroughly even if superficially. It all hurts so much worse than real cuts would.

Although there's plenty of action going on around here, feet pounding the earth, shouts and orders and a hot pursuit, Victor takes his time extricating himself from the grass. Because just blazing out of it full-speed, he could potentially flay himself alive.

The cop collapses, keening in pain. "Officer down," comes the response from at least one in the pack, and another stops to help him. "Gray, halt!" Fel barks. He doesn't go for the tackle, but for the shot, the drugged dart hissing through the air after Gabriel.

The air-pressure sound of the dart leaving the gun is enough to have Tavisha throw up a hand, halt the flight of the dart and letting it drop carelessly onto the ground. By that point… he's almost imploded into what can only be described as a cloud of ink, as if injected into water rather than air. It leaps intangibly across the ground— no intention of obeying Felix's command, apparently— over the saw grass and almost seeming to devour Victor as it spirals around him— before becoming tangible in the form of the Midtown Man standing right behind the youngest Childs, a hand gripping into the back of his sweater, other hand at his throat. Lasers leap out from his fingers, pointed towards the flesh of Victor's throat.

They glow harmlessly red, no worse than pen pointers. It's a threat.

"Can't do that," Tavisha tells Felix. Drag, drag, he pulls his hostage back by a foot. "I don't want to kill anyone. I just want to go. Let me." They'll put me in a cage and throw away the key, he whispers to Victor, savagely, in his head. I'll never have a chance at anything again. Do you understand that.

Sometimes even a speedster doesn't have time to react. Having to slow his roll because of the sawgrass put Vic in exactly that bind, and he finds himself being held hostage. At this point though he's beyond fear. If the worst was going to happen, it'd have happened. Anything from now on cannot be the worst possible outcome, so that is some peace. But still, he's angry.

"Probably." Vic grunts, eyes straining down without tilting his head so he can try to see the lasers. In the gloom their glow is unmistakable. Strange. He didn't know the man had that ability at all. "Man, you wanna chance? I'm as caught in this as you. I just want free of this. Free us both, Gabriel. Give up." He hits his captor with an elbow that glances without finding much purpose, a gesture of emphasis more than fight. "Give up if you've changed. You haven't changed anything if you keep running and hurting people."

"Let him go, Gabriel. And we'll see what we can do," Felix says, trying to convey a calm that his pounding heart gives the lie to. "He's right. They say you've changed. ANd you haven't killed anyone yet. If you're truly innocent, we'll prove it. But it's time to stop running." There's a negligent gesture from his hand, apparently a random twitch. But it's the signal to call in the cavalry.

"I'm not innocent," Tavisha snarls back, yanking Victor even closer despite the elbow directed against him. Too much going on to care about a bruise. He can feel his own heart beat starting to thud like a war drum, no where near the pace of the speedsters, but it pushes adrenaline, makes his gaze dart around wildly to try and keep everyone in his sights. Cornered animal syndrome, he shows teeth, and hopes. "Not in the ways you people would understand."

It's a slow walk back towards the hospital looming behind them, but it's where they're headed. The lasers die as Tavisha's concentration gives way to thinking, hand coming up to almost gently but firmly grip Victor's throat instead, just at the base. A second ticks by, before in what must now be a familiar throw of telekinetic energy, the younger man goes plummeting forward— straight for Felix. Standing his ground, Tavisha lifts a hand, sends another cop flying, and another has his weapon whipped from his hand.

Yes it's getting familiar to be tossed around by TK. It's also getting OLD! Vic's starting to feel a little embarassed at being ragdolled about so easily, but what can you do? Unable to do anything to halt his flight, he managed to grunt an abbreviated, "Sorry…" just as he's coming in toward Felix.

The good news is that if he can just hit the ground freely he's easily able to tumble, roll, and pop to his feet. Once again let's hear it for athletic ability.

Felix whips out of the way, and keeps coming. Victor free can take care of himself, if he has sense enough. Felix, with sense enough? Not a chance. He lunges for Gabriel, trying to grapple and cling, to beat Sylar's reflexes. Anything to keep him from turning to smoke and vanishing away.

Sylar hears it before anyone, a sound that is reminiscent of something hauntingly familiar. There is something in his mind that brings about a sense of deja-vu at hearing the chopping noise of helicopter rotors moving in the air. Out at sea, a spotlight shines from the bottom of a matte black painted helicopter. Still far out, the vehicle is making a direct path towards the island, spotlight shining ahead on the water as it leads the way.

While Tavisha may not be able to tell what the helicopter means, Felix knows all too well what it signifies, not that the Calvary has come, but that the iron fist of the government is clawing its way towards Swineburne Island.

Not for the first time tonight, strong hands close on Tavisha's clothes and arms. In hindsight, Muldoon did Tavisha more of a favour than he'd ever realised before, and he rather gamely allows Felix's momentum to follow through, his back landing against the ground, own hands coming to grip.

Except his hands emit those deadly beams of light, and cut needle-thin burns through whatever gets in their way. Short of slicing, Tavisha only lets them pierce the fed for a moment before cutting out again, enough to hurt with miniature cauterising wounds.

But not kill.

Beneath Felix, Tavisha once again implodes into that inky entity, flowing out from under the fed and eddying speedily across the ground, only to stagger back into himself, a hand raises and prepared— and Tavisha falters, a hesitation, at the sound of the chopper, eyes darting up towards the sky.

It's with some relief that Vic registers Felix dodging him. Makes it that much easier to tuck and roll once he hits the dirt, and he comes to his feet with a spring in his step. This almost seems like a fight to him, although if so it'd be his first fight really. He doesn't see HOW Tavisha vanished, but notices that the man is no longer where he used to be. Look. Look around. And Vic catches a glimpse of Gray once again, this time looking up in the sky.

…which is all the distraction Vic needs to cannonball at the fugitive, this time aiming to hit HARD. Last time was nice. This time he's kind of getting pissed about getting tossed around by TK. He's gonna hit like Terry Tate!

Fel has the idiot persistence of a lobotomized terrier. He's hurting, and though none of the wounds are close to mortal, it is enough to slow him…..but not stop him, entirely. Frankly, when there's a moment to stop to think about it, he's amazed he's still alive. Some of that supposed change of heart must be true. "Gray, stop," he says, panting, hands limp at his sides. "Don't make them kill all of us just to get to you. They'll scour this island to bedrock rather than let you go free. Please, surrender." And then there's Victor, all over Sylar like a cheap suit on a tall man. So Fel has to help. It's like shake and bake. He pounces, too, though with far less speed and force than Victor, trying to knock Sylar out with a blow to the head.

Bones break beneath Victor's sudden attack, ribs cracking and joints shuddering in their sockets. Tavisha gives a pierce of a cry as he's taken down by the speedster, the federal agent coming in to finish the job with a knock that has Tavisha's head whipping to the side. He barely even thinks to turn to inky shadows once more— possibly wearing him out, fatigue in his muscles from the constant shifting— but there's another substance that kicks in without remorse.

Much like that shadow form itself, tendrils of darkness seem to thicken the shadows, a fog of black that makes the immediate light hazy in a way Felix might recognise. That caustic prickle of lifeforce being lovingly drawn out of both men from all over, feeling like weariness and infection all at once, drying mouths, eyes, poking at injury. "No," Tavisha gasps out, eyes going darker. "No, stop, get away."

Oh my god what's happening here. Never mind that Tavisha wasn't the only one to break bones in that impact. Vic felt a lot give. Shoulder. Ribs. Something. Now it hurts to breathe, and he's rolling on the ground with an open-mouthed silent scream of pain that never issues. Even if he'd like to get away just now, it's not happening.

"Oh, Jesus, Volken," Fel's voice is barely more than a whisper. "Run, all of you, run, get away!" That's a hell of a lot louder. Not this again. The wounds from the beam weapon fingers, previously cauterized, begin to run with blood, and his suit is abruptly starred with scarlet. He sinks to one knee, an odd genuflection, trying to pull his actual pistol. To shoot himself, perhaps, if Volken's ghost decides that yet another FBI Agent would make a good chevaux.

The sound of the helicopter grows closer, and the spotlight finally reaches the island, shining white on the rocks. The wind picks up, blowing hard as the helicopter soars overhead, followed by the silent deployment of cables out from the opening door on the side of the vehicle. There is no departmental identification on the chopper, no number designation on the tail, it a conspiracy theorist's nightmare put into starkly contrasting reality, a proverbial and literal unmarked black helicopter.

When the cables finish spooling, there is a whirring zip as figures dressed in black uniforms and heavy body armor begin to descend down the zip cables, unclipping themselves from the ropes to drop the last few feet. The four men land in unison, dropping into a crouch. Helmets and tactical armor covers their bodies, assault rifles slung over their shoulders, helmets covering their heads and goggles that reflect a faint crimson glow in the night. Their mouths are hidden behind respirator masks as they rise, followed by a fifth man dropping to the ground from the cables in the spotlight, bald-headed, not wearing the same gear as the others; lighter, thinner, less designed for a full on confrontation with Sylar.

Immediately upon the arrival of the masked soldiers, whispers begin spreading out from them. Not spoken whispers, but something more horrifyingly inescapable, these whispers resonate in the mind, a susurrus of psychic murmuring that follows in their wake. The soldiers move to form a circle around the last cable, shoulders locked and rifles raised, even as the haunted psychic whispering that emanates from them begins to grow louder, like a chorus of people sharing some dire secret.

But when the bald man raises his head, and levels his focus on the group not far away, his orders are clearly barked into the headset he wears, "Take them all in." This order is followed by a sudden ripple in the air around his head, extending outwards from his body like the lapping waves of the ocean. When that psychic tidal wave collides with the minds of Tavisha, Victor and Felix, it is likened to the sensation of sudden oxygen deprivation. Vision immediately flashes white, and comes back spotty and filled with stars. Extremities tingle, limbs begin to go numb, and the wave receeds, building up again as the soldiers form a perimeter around Agent Jonathan Carmichael, rifles raised.

This is what they have been looking for, the Midtown Man.

As Victor and Felix have no choice to fall back, it's almost ironic that when Tavisha next gets up… it's to save their lives, meanwhile trying to reel it in, that power that's more like a force of nature than a true ability. Slowly, the legacy of Kazimir Volken ebbs away, reluctantly releasing its clammy psychic control over the bodies of the two speedsters, as Tavisha gets to his knees, his feet.

By the time he's peering up at the helicopter, its wash of spotlight cast down onto them, the sound of feet touching the ground, it's far too late for even that. He starts to run, one step, two steps away when the sudden flood of psychic energy floors him, collapsing when the shockwave passes through him, renders his legs useless which collapse beneath them.

Twisting around on his back, Tavisha lifts a hand clumsily, unable to feel anything beyond his wrist, and lasers lance out gain - flickering lights more blue than green before blazing hot again, searing through armor, stabbing through to flesh before weakening, off and on.

Vic can do a lot of things fast, but healing is most certainly not one of them. He's in no shape to fight anymore, pretty much at the mercy of his surroundings now because of how much he's broken his own body by colliding with Gabriel. And when you're confined to looking from the ground up, there isn't much you can really see about what's going on. He does see the fugitive fall, though. And there are those voices in his head. Is that Gabriel again? Damn.

Oh, not again. You have to be kidding me. Twice in two days, there's HomeSec to snatch Felix's prey right out of his jaws. He's crumpled sideways on the sere grass, barely conscious - the only sign of any protest is that gleam of sheer fury in his eyes. Seeing Gabriel topple is enough to provoke a lopsided smile. Take that, Sylar. Even if I have to, too.

One of the soldiers drops like a sack of stones as a laser beam lances thorugh his body, cutting a needle-thin smoking hole through his torso. When he falls, the circle grows tighter to fill the gap in the peripeter as Carmichael closes his eyes, unleashing another wave of concussive psychic energy, not satisfied with the first. This onslaught comes so soon after the last, a ringing blow to the minds of those near the bald agent, and once the wave begins to receed, once the blearing and paralytic haze begins to clear, Carmichael is moving, his voice a dull echo in the ears of those he has affected. "Get the Federal Agent out of here, you, take the boy, you two," each word accompanied by the gesture of a gloved hand, "Tranquilize Sylar and get that chopper down here, we're moving him tonight. Goodman isn't taking this one from me, this— " Carmichael strides across the broken and rocky ground, "This is mine."

The lasers die upon the concussive psychic blast, Tavisha letting out a pained grunt before he falls, finally still, back against the ground, seeing stars that split into double and collect together once more. Frantically pawing through his powers under a scattered mind— what does he have? What is in his possession that can throw this off, that can get him out of here?

Nothing.

There are flickers of ability, like the lights in a broken toy, that flicker without execution. Parts of him seem almost inclined to turn into that inky shadow ghost again, before stabilising. Camouflage crosses over his skin and clothes in a rippling change of colour in frantic, scattered attempts to hide, but it shorts out again. There's even a moment where his skin starts to glow with an undiscovered ability of poisonous radiatian but that, too, dies quickly.

Footsteps seem to make the ground vibrate as the men move around them to collect up the victims of the psychic assault. Victor's broken bones are jostled albeit carefully as he's hauled up onto a stretcher, Felix given the same treatment, vitals checked and rushed away. Then finally, a man clad in black comes to kneel beside Tavisha, who tries to look up and can only see his reflection through the glassy window of the helmet. His breathing hitches as a needle elegantly slides into the side of his neck.

After that, he can't see anything at all, the sound of the helicopter hovering over the earth wishing him a pleasant sleep, as does the fleeting sight of a woman with long red hair, whole and happy and healthy, giving him a last smile before sedation takes him completely.


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March 17th: Babysteps
Previously in this storyline…
Go Home

Next in this storyline…
Made Broken

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March 18th: Made Broken
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