This Twilight


caocao_icon.gif cardinal2_icon.gif cat_icon.gif claire2_icon.gif clara_icon.gif danko3_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif felix2_icon.gif francois_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif hector_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif kazimir5_icon.gif magnes2_icon.gif noriko_icon.gif peter_icon.gif raith_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif veronica2_icon.gif wagner_icon.gif

Scene Title This Twilight
Synopsis The end of a long journey finally arrives.
Date January 16, 2010

Amundsen-Scott Antarctic Research Facility

The sudden fwoosh of utterly breathtakingly cold air suddenly rushes down the hallway as fast as the strange Antarctic sunlight makes eyes squint. The hatch bounces off its hinges, revealing a metal platform with stairs leading down two storeys towards the ice shelf below, and in the short distance, Team Shield 3 can see the promised helicopter guaranteeing home and safety. Hostages, spurred on, flood out the door, feet clattering down the metal stairwell, gripping onto themselves and each other against the terrible cold, but there's only so much distance to cover.

They're gonna make it. But what of the other teams?

When Felix and Gillian arrive at the crumbling corner of the ice, they can see just how far the sinkhole has progressed, it's almost to the drill site by now. Distant sounds of gunfire and screaming fill the air, along with a crackling voice coming over their SatComs, but the identity of the speaker cannot be heard.

The Amundsen-Scott Antarctic station slides, dragging its concrete pylons through the ice, and the weight of the facility that has already succumbed to the abyss threatens to swallow the whole structure.

The collapse simply cannot be stopped.

Nor can Noriko's as her legs give way, followed by a gout of blood snorted out of her nose and mouth. Vision blurs, she can hear everything muffled, her heart races, pupils dilate, and the hydrokinetic collapsed onto her side, arms and legs twitching, blood pooling out from her nose ears and mouth. She's barely conscious, and that won't last for much longer.

The building shudders again, enough now to send Veronica tipping off her feet and Francois' shoulder crashing into a wall, the last one out. Two seconds, and then there's a series of automatic fire from behind them - but it's their own, the former Resistance fighter finishing off the last of the pack on their heels. As they climb down and away, the whole building seems to be falling somehow, pillars sinking into snow, the entire facility shrieking and groaning under its own weight.

For the record, this wasn't a part of the plan. The power plant of the facility is gone when they think to look, a gigantic hole in the ice shelf drawing in the rest of the buildings after it. They can see a small blur - Felix Ivanov running for the helicopter, bundled with two bleeding bodies.

"Run." Someone says it. Hard to tell who. As Shield Three herd their way for safety, it's almost unfair, finding freedom without the knowledge if they were successful, but at least, for now, they're alive.

Half the station's length away, Noriko lays down there on the ice, her eyes watching the blurry facility as she closes her eyes. The only thing left that she can do is just hope that none of their team was left in there, even that is a fleeting thought. She feels like she's stroking once more, and this time, there is no Tau to save her. Her eyes looking around widly for the few more moments that they ahve left to be concious, looking over to Gillian as she tries to say thickly to the augmentor, "Everything? be? fine."

Charge of the trenchcoat brigade. All Fel can do is drag them away, at speed, towards whatever looks like stability. Good luck there. No grace, no skill, just him throwing up a roostertail of ice and snow like Speedy Gonzales gone too far south for his own good.

Right hand useless and frozen, tears turning into ice crystals on her face, freezing small fissures in her lips as she can't help but breathe through her mouth- By the time Gillian's up on top of the ice, she's not seeing white at all. She should be seeing white. Antarctica is white all over, from sky to ground. But for her, it's decidedly gray- even veering toward black. The tugs of the speedster are the only thing getting her moving much, feet dragging in the snow and ice, arms weak. The light that once glowed has dimmed and paled, until it vanishes completely.

As the light goes out, so does any semblance of strength keeping her upright. The last of the energy she has pours into the speedster, before cutting off all together.

The battery has been depleted. And just as she warned she might, she's out. But her heart still beats, if slow, she still breaths. And unlike most batteries that run out, she couldn't be called dead. But she is bleeding and frozen, and very much unconscious.

When the denuded twilight sky- dawn, by now, really- finally comes into the view of Shield Team 2, replacing the erratic blink of the LED lights under Raith's deft digits, their faces change. Eileen had been the same way, once, locked up before. Humanity's enamorment with bustling metropolises, fabrications of dwellings and homes, artificially-created environments never seems so crucial as on the brink of a flooding apocalypse, but captivity is different. Leaves a man thinking, maybe, open sky is all you need.

Only, then, the Shield Two starts to point. The sprawling sinkhole that's eaten up half the base, groaning like Sedna's wicked twin, then the massive chopper on the snowbowl's horizon. They begin to shout: "Fire in the hold. Run. Zou. Go, go go."

The ice is collapsing piece by piece beneath Felix's footfalls, snow is rising up from where portions of Amundsen-Scott are being devoured by the growing sinkhole, and as Felix makes his way to the helicopter, trailing blood behind him from the two young women he struggles to carry across the ice at superhuman sprint, he can feel the ice in his lungs turning his breathing to wheezing rasps.

The sound of Amundsen-Scott collapsing behind him comes like the horrible roar of some great metallic beast shrieking its last breath, yawning some cacophonous death-rattle into the Antarctic skies.

But then, over the SatCom communication links, a voice crackles staticy once more. This time, however, they can hear it.

«Th- - omb is g - ng t- bl- w! T- ere's - o time le- »

He can barely make it out, until a warning comes in loud and clear.

«We're out of time!»

Meanwhile, at the Drill Site

T-Minus fifteen minutes until detonation.

Richard Cardinal rips himself back out of the darkness once more, the shadow peeling itself away from two dimensionality that allows him to step out onto the catwalk to look down towards Kazimir down at the edge of the hole, boots clanging loudly on the metal grating of the walkway around the rig. The rifle still in his hand is swept to one side, his gloved hand dropping down to grasp the rail firmly against the shaking of the station as he stares down a the bomb that's suspended by that cable of braided steel.

"There's always time," he shouts across the room, "At least enough to save the world. Fifteen minutes is forever and a— Steel damn it, tell me there's something you can do here!"

Eileen's hands come away from Gabriel bloody. Not being able to save someone is always difficult to accept — not being able to save someone you love is even harder. She hooks her fingers in the chain he wears around his neck and snaps it with a swift tug, his dog tags lifted from his chest with a faint tinkle of metal against metal as she wraps the chain around her fingers with one hand and smears his hair from his brow with the other.

What she's whispering now is audible only to Ethan's ears, though none of the words spilling clumsily past her lips are meant for him. Gabriel's skin is cold and clammy, and when she feels again for a pulse at his neck and the soft spot on the inside of his wrist she finds none.

Wiping her face with both her hands — dog tags dangling and glinting in what little light the windows afford — she looks blearily up at Ethan, searching, before her attention is inevitably drawn to the hole at the center of the drill site. No sign of Danko. Only Kazimir, Hector, Cardinal.

She places both her palms on Ethan's cheeks, made warm by the residual heat in Gabriel's blood, and kisses him between his eyes. "Find Jensen," is all she can manage.

As the facility shakes and quakes under them, Kazimir looks up from the drill rigging towards the voice at the catwalk. Blue eyes snap towards where Hector is hunched over the computer, searching for data and information on the bomb. "He'll do it." Kazimir intones gravely, looking at the cord going down into the hole wobbling and waggling. "Hector!" Kazimir calls out sharply, still staring down the hole at the flashlight beam shining up through it, "hurry up."

T-Minus 14 Minutes and 30 seconds until detonation.

In the hall by Gabriel's corpse, Eileen can see a look coming over Ethan's face. His lips downturn into a scowl, that hand on her shoulder squeezing in a don't make me carry you out gesture. The Wolf rises up slowly, looking down to Gabriel, there's no words he can give, not to Eileen, not for Gabriel's corpse. God knows he might well be saying them to his face soon enough if this plan goes any more pear shaped.

The sound of footsteps at the top of the stairs rouses Ethan's attention, that borrowed assault rifle whipping up at the noise, but only Claire bennet's bloodied form is visible. Ethan exhales a sigh, nodding his head. "Almost put on in ya." He admits, looking down to Eileen. "Come on, love, we need t'get outta' here. Let the old man an' the princess 'angle this." And by Princess he probably means Hector, which is very rude.

Claire offers an anxious smile, coming down the steps one clanking footfall at a time. As she enters the drill site, her blonde hair and small frame is something of a relief to Cardinal, but then— he knew she'd be getting back up quickly once her ability kicked back on. As she makes her way down the stairs towards the ice, Ethan is headed up the stairs to the hall to try and guide Eileen away from the warhead. It won't matter if the bomb does go off, but she doesn't need to be kneeling over Gabriel's bloody—

"Whot." Is all Ethan can say when he arrives at the mouth of the hall at the top of the stairs, and the Wolf's eyes turn saucer wide. He turns, muscles tensing beneath his skin, assault rifle whipping up to aim down the hall towards Eileen— or perhaps past her.

"Kazimir." Claire calls out from the middle of the stairs, her head quirked to the side. As Kazimir turns at the sound of Claire's voice, he feels the pain at the middle of his chest grow suddenly sharp and intense, as a purple tendril of crackling electricity rises off from the middle of his body and leaps towards Claire, who seems to be exhibiting no reciprocal tether of her own despite— suddenly gaining a swirling cloud of charnel miasma around one of her hands. "I was wrong. Your ability might be useful."

A haze of horror and confusion dawns on Peter as Kazimir's thoughts are yanked from him. Falling backwards, the scarred Petrelli's eyes flicker like a dying fluorescent light, sputtering and sparking blue to brown before he collapses to the ice. When Claire's blue eyes divert to Cardinal, he feels a snapping pop as a purple tether of energy crackles from his chest and points to Claire, "You all have such marvelous talents."

"Wagner— " Peter breathes out as he scrambles back, his shoulderblades pressed up to the drill rig.

Meanwhile, Outside

"Go, go, go, to the helicopter," Veronica shouts, now outside in the bitter cold, to the prisoners they've rescued. They will find the going easier than the agent; dragging a useless leg behind her was easier on the smooth tiles of the corridor and the kitchen than it is in the crunchy ice and snow. The woman suddenly goes down on one knee, wincing; the bright white of the snow is marked red with the blood that is difficult to see on her dark pants. She growls, pushing herself back up and moving as fast as she can, though affording some glances back to ensure the rest of her team is in sight.

Bringing up the rear of her team, Elisabeth is another 50 yards or so behind Veronica. She runs toward the chopper with a last look over her shoulder. The sight of the facility falling into the sinkhole makes her eyes go wide, but she cannot put anymore speed to her retreat. Especially since she's also keeping a watch for anymore bad guys on her behind. The freezing air has definitely registered on the audiokinetic, though. Her lungs are burning from the exertion, and as she overtakes Vee, she throws an arm around the other woman's waist to hustle her along faster. "C'mon, kiddo," she rasps. "We're about to be permanent popsicles!"

If you fall, you get shot. So goes Francois' experiences of cattle-herding people through the snow, but everyone is running, and the only thing chasing them is the sound of the collapsing building, shrieking ice and metal. Even with all that cacophony, he mostly hears his own heart pounding and his own breathing, icy air sharp. He catches the elbow of one of the former prisoners, someone leaking crimson on the pristine snowy plain from their too thin clothing.

He moves among them, identifiable as a Shield Team member only because he's adequately equipped, mostly spent rifle slung over his shoulder and hood ignored for the time being despite the cold nipping at 1.7 ears. As for the other teams, he can see them, with a distinct sense of relief. They can meet him at the helicopter, however. Seriously.

"Francois." Magnes says as he keeps his rifle in both hands still, staying on one side of the prisoners to herd them all toward the chopper. "I don't care if she's a regenerator, I'm not leaving my girlfriend here when there's a 100 megaton bomb. I'm not a rocket scientist, but I came pretty damned close! When we get to the chopper, I'm falling back and going to where the nukes are supposed to be. Don't try to stop me." he states in the midst of this cold air, keeping his head forward and eyes on their destination.

The team streaming out of the tunnels leading towards the dome are plus several others now; researchers are now filing out in a panic alongside Shield Two's soldiers. The lattermost, being Huruma, is carrying a bundled up cargo in her arms, which she has effectively commandeered from Caocao because her rifle is either ineffective- or perhaps simply because she wanted to take Mei Shen out of something like obligation to brethren. Empaths are tricky and often fickle creatures.

Huruma quickly moves her way past the group with them, and she is the first to try breaking into a faster trot towards where she can hear and see the helicopter, and the other familiar presences she can feel moving for it en masse.

Noriko is somehow managing to stay concious, after having been fading in and out the whole time Felix was carrying her and Gillian. The hydrokinetics face is litterally smeared with blood and her eyes are a blood red from the tiny veins in her eyes hemoragging. Oh, and lets not forget the trail of crimson that her and Gillian are leaking across the ice. Noriko from her shoulder, her arm hanging limply and useless and dragging in the snow. The ungloved hand at the end of it by now a sickly white that just speaks of being frostbitten to the core. Her eyes blink as she sees the other two teams struggling along to get to them and her blood-adled mind tries to raise that hand to wave. She can hear the sickly sound of crushed bone trying to move against crushed bone and she lets out a cry, it is very painful.

The astral exertion headache in Teo's head seems to resemble a physical mass and object, moving around inside his skull in bouncing, sloshing syncopation with every step he takes through the snow. It puts him in a petulant mood, despite the end of the world being nigh; he would have preferred a flesh wound, strangely enough, and finds himself clamping his teeth down against the urge to describe the sensation in sullen words and a shout pitched over the sound of splitting ice and slow-falling masonry.

"Keep moving! Go! Convenient fucking buddy system, am I right?" he hollers. It's true: the scientists and researchers at the dome had been forced to stay cuffed in pairs, making gymnastic efforts to escape through small windows or combat their keepers next to impossible, but when you're hauling ass over slippery terrain put into a seismic cant by a self-destructing ice sheet, it has the positive side-effect of making sure pairs stay in an orderly and supportive fashion. Across the herd from Catherine, and behind Huruma, the Sicilian keeps an eye on the one man whose partner had been crushed and killed, the empty hoop of the cuffs now beaded with frozen blood.

Pulling his scarf up, he darts a glance back over his shoulder. In the absurdity of pretty lavender dawn light, the dome's broken wall still shows the lambent crimson of emergency lights. No sign of Raith, not yet.

Tacit discussions about what people will remember you by aside, Raith Jensen would likely disapprove of Magnes throwing himself at nuclear weapons for love, even if his mind is preoccupied at the moment by how nuclear weapons for love would make a bitchin' band name. His mind wanders easily to the most unusual things in the midst of crisis, maybe that's why he can stay so cool under pressure — either that or it's the sunglasses.

"Well this seems superfluous, but— " Lifting his detonator up, Raith casually flips the toggle switch and offers a perfectly timed smile to coincide with the sound of a thunderous explosion sending a ball of fire and smoke through the ceiling of the geodesic dome, flinders of steel ribbing and glass panes spinning and whirling amidt the cloud of destruction. "I'm going to have to write all this down on my bucket list and then cross it all off."

At the helicopter, which is now in sight of the distant Team 2, Veronica is hoisted inside of the already open bay door at the side of the chinook helicopter. There, inside, she is greeted by a frozen crust of blood across the copter floor, where Gillian is moved to lay on her side, breathing in and out in short, shallow breaths, blood pooling from around her midsection. Noriko is just now settling not far away, on her back, eyes wide and glassy with tears frozen to her cheeks, blood in frozen rivulets tracked out of her nose, mouth and ears. She looks dead, after that attempt at a wave, but her chest is still rising and falling with breath and the occasional blink that has her consciousness uncertain. Something is definitely wrong with her.

Collapsed near the front of the helicopter, Felix Ivanov looks like he might have been trying to get to the pilot seat, but his body gave out long before then, little more now than a ragged assembly of gangly limbs and short cropped hair all spattered with blood frozen to his clothing. His right cheek is pressed to the floor of the helicopter, one arm pinned beneath himself, a knee bent and back arched from the awkward angle of his fall. He isn't moving.

The full-out run across shaking and quaking ice that Shield-3 is making can be seen out the side windows of the helicopter, and the gaggle of rescued captives they're bringing have mixed expressions of shock, relief and fear across their faces as they scramble on slick footing towards the chopper where it is stationed on the ice.

By the time the team arrives, Jensen is running as fast as his racing heart can take him, right up until he rounds the helicopter and can finally see the full size of the sinkhole. His eyes are wide behind his glasses, mouth open, and it's that full minute of silence that has his team moving to help the rescued hostages onto the chopper. "Holy fuck what did you do?"

Climbing up inside the helicopter, Raith squeezes past people, steps over Felix, and as he climbs into the front of the helicopter and throws on the headset, flicking switches and going about the business of priming the chopper's engines he screams out, "Where the fuck is Velasquez!?"

There's no sign of Rico — the team's pilot — anywhere.

At the Drill Site

A quick, tense smile's flashed to the blonde before Cardinal's gaze turns back down towards the rig that sits at the midst of the hexagonal chamber, both hands tightening on the rail as he looks down after Kazimir…

…at least until that crackling, arcing line of violet light erupts from him in the direction of the blonde he assumed was one of his agents. Only it seems that she's not home right now. Whirling, he sweeps his rifle up in Claire's - Wagner's - direction, although with that healing ability there's nothing that weapon could do to her that'd keep her down for long, and he drops it down to one side.

"Motherfucker," he hisses - and than that crackling arc erupts from him as well, and he half-stumbles a step, the rifle dropping to one side, hand delving into his coat, "You arrogant son of a bitch… let her go. Let her go now."

Still crouched by Gabriel's body, Eileen is raising her rifle. She never had any intention of leaving, Ethan's feelings be damned, and unlike Cardinal she possesses no qualms about leveling her weapon with Claire's back — Wagner's back — and squeezing off two shots at close range, one aimed at her middle, the other just below where her spine meets the base of her skull beneath stringy curls of blonde hair pulled into a ponytail.

He's right, of course. If it is Claire, it won't keep her down, but keeping her down isn't what Eileen is attempting to achieve. Her goal is to split the tethers with the same precision that broke the chain at Gabriel's neck.

Fumbling around with the Satcom would be easier if it wasn't all sticky with bloody slush. A flick of Hector's wrist dislodges the worst of it before he hooks it 'round his ear, breath fogged hot and humid against the dry cold billowing in from the ruptured hallway. Hardly has he gotten off a, "Sorry — very sorry, er, 'bout you psycho boyfriend," for Eileen and he's half-stumbling half-sliding back down the stairs with only the most instinctive level of attention paid to shots fired so close he can feel the fucking wind off the bullets.

There's purple energy everywhere sucking the life out've people or something and he slides right through it, literally as Eileen pulls the trigger on Claire, boots too slushed to hope for traction until he's made it some six or seven feet and is already nearly back to the computer. "Got it! Got it. I — " he pauses at the terminal near the hole, where…Kazimir was just a second ago, he was sure. :(a «Hello?» tried vacantly across the com, he can't keep down an exasperated laugh as he scrubs both hands up into his frosty hair and sets to flying them back across the keyboard again. «If you're still alive shout when you're in place will you?»

Meanwhile rifle fire from up in some indistinct measure of gloomy catwalk pummels the air and ice around Claire — several shots three or four feet wide off target to left and right at a perpindicular angle to the shots Eileen's squeezing off down below. Even running around in a panic has now become unusualy treacherous.

T-Minus 13 Minutes Until Detonation

The first shot at Claire's back sends her cartwheeling end over end down the stairs, head over heels; in such a manner that the second shot higher up goes sailing right over her and impacts to the ice with a powdery explosion. When Claire hits the ground ice, there is a hissing noise that comes from her, as a wave of shadowy tendril lashes out from her body with a raised hand, coiling around Peter's torso as the blonde siphons the life energy out of the dark-eyed man to heal her wounds. Peter exhales a sharp, pained scream and the bullet hole Eileen left in Wagner's back seals shut, spitting the bullet out and mending his ability to walk again.

As Claire's blonde form moves to stand, she keeps her back to the stairs, lashing coils of black, shadowy entropy lapping up from her clothing like licking tongues. "You're resisting…" Wagner states in Claire's voice to Kazimir, her eyes narrowing as she takes a step forward. "You're struggling to keep this thing inside of you?" A look is afforded to Hector, then back to Peter, "Does what he know threaten you that much, or are you simply afraid of facing it's power? You're not going to stop me, not here, not now. You don't have enough time."

The entire station shakes violently, an enormous crack appearing in the ice as the groaning sound of splitting steel comes closer, and the wall of the drill site behind hector cracks and splits open, revealing the twilight sky and freezing winds. Another groan and a snapping crack comes, and thorugh that fissue int he wall, Cardinal can see a huge portion of Amundsen-Scott fall into the ground, as a crumbling ledge of collapsing ice draws inexorably closer to the drill site.

T-Minus 12 Minutes and 30 Seconds Until Detonation.

At that split and shatter, the backup power from the small generators powering the computer systems Hector was working on invariably fail one by one, causing the system to crash and then the power to ultimately wink off. He is left staring at a blacked out screen when the far wall opposite of where Cardinal is on the catwalk finally tears open like the side of a beer can.

The metal peels back like paper, and power cables snap, metal supports tear away, and up at the top of the stairs, Ethan's wide-eyed stare is at the far side of the hall where Wagner had come from breaking in half and dropping off into the abyss. The Brit turns, angling his rifle back down and over Eileen's head, but with all the shaking he doesn't risk hitting her.

"Princess!" He shouts, "We got t'get outta here! Leave 'em!" She's not going to leave them, not like this. But an opportunity, something seems to be approaching as the sound of helicopter blades joins the noise of the crumbling facility, it's not in sight, not out the narrow view of Antarctica that they have, but it's approaching.

"Fuckers, get your asses down 'ere an' get us the hell out. It's gone tits up. Sylar's down, the bomb's got less then 13 minutes left on it. We need a fuckin' exit! Just look for the big ole gapin' 'ole with us wavin our arms an' screamin'."

T-Minus 12 Minutes Until Detonation.

Meanwhile; Back at the Helicopter

"Fuck, Gillian…" Veronica's on her knees, despite the pain it causes the wounded leg. "What the hell happened," she gasps, pulling off her scarf and holding it to the augmentor's midsection. Tears slide down her own cheeks. "Goddamnit, Gillian," she whispers, but then there is Cat on the radio, to which Veronica responds her own team's status.
«Shield Three, evacuating to helicopter.»

"Help her… help them, she says, to the researchers they've rescued, nodding to the three collapsed bodies. Obviously Gillian is more her concern than the others, but she includes the other two in the gesture. She moves to look back, seeing Magnes and Francois still behind, and she can guess what is causing the hold up.

"«To the helicopter, Shield Three. Varlane, do not even think about it, as long as you're conscious, your ability is a liability if Wagner gets a hold of it, and it's not safe near a fucking nuke. GET IN HERE.»"

"That is a stupid plan," Francois manages to gasp out as they move, focused more on keeping everyone moving and the helicopter in sight than, you know, tact. Somehow, his voice is still kind, in all that it has to grapple with trying to breathe too. "You fly off the helicopter and you will go alone. We move as a unit, you have better chance of success, non?"

Veronica's voice crackles over the radio, steering a look forward — he can see the shapes of the words being made as well as hear it in his ear, at this range, and by the time he's speaking again, she can hear his words being whipped through the Antarctic wind. "Listen to your leader, if you'd like to be successful. We're here, Sawyer. Missing people?" There's certainly less clustered at the helicoper than when they all started, and though he'd like the luxury of seeking out faces, he seeks out those dying or close to it quicker.

Crackling over the communications of the SatCom, a familiar voice chimes in; «SNAFU. Hurry the fuck up.» Emile Danko.

He's already moving towards Noriko by the time Elisabeth is barking her orders. "Let me help you," he says, which is both asking for permission and not, moving to guide her into the helicopter, mindful of what injuries are detectable.

"If you're going to help me, then I'll go, but if we're going home, I'll fly back and help Claire myself. So, if this is just a trick to get me on the chopper… it's a stupid trick, because I can fly." Magnes climbs up into the chopper, looking around to see who needs help, and spots Gillian. "What the hell happ— Did I just hear Danko?" He's well aware of that particular voice.

Though she had so far taken the utmost care in getting there, when Huruma is able to get to the helicopter, Mei's ride becomes slightly bumpier when Huruma slides her onto the vehicle floor with Elizabeth's assistance. Not only that, Huruma is abruptly being distracted by the communication she is hearing against her eardrum. Poor Mei gets jostled around as Huruma tries to pick herself onto her feet inside the Chinook. One arm is pushing her off towards the First Aid kit when she gets there- hopefully just one of the researchers coming on board behind her knows some basics too.

"«Emile" I thought th'lemurs made you their king?»"

Noriko looks at Francois for a couple of moments, trying to place a name and a face, not really finding one for now, mostly because she hasn't met him. She just lays there, she can't really shrug to give him permission with her shoulder the way it is. So, she doesn't answer him, there isn't really anything to answer to as her eyes look over at Veronica and her talk of Gillian. "Is she… gonna be okay," the hydrokinetic asks while she sits there, before saying, "Got ambushed and shot… then suddenly, more power than I wanted… tried to control it…"

Her attention is split now between injured persons and the status of that team still at the conflict sites. Cat's eyes move across the varied persons, she makes a mental judgment as to if any of them seem at death's door. Then she pauses, gaze shifting to Raith, as words go into the comms. "«Advise of location, Shield One. Assistance inbound.»"

Finally, Cat addresses the pilot. "Can you touch the bird down closer to operational sites?"

Ahead of Teo someone falls. The American researcher with Mei Shen's blood almost as thick on her hands as they are on Huruma's. He stoops to catch her by the belt, hauls her almost bodily into the waiting gap between doors. "Up you go, caro." He snags someone else by the jacket, squeezes them through shoulder-to-shoulder with the squirming gopher torso of another team's hostage seeking shelter and evacuation.

Another team. Through the blur of snow, watercolor Antarctican lights, and thronged running bodies, he counts familiar faces and feels relief crack open in his chest. Not enough familiar faces, but every single one who makes it back to the chopper is a new locus for reassurance, and someone that a girl named Abigail Beauchamp cares about. It's only then that the squawk of his comm unit leaks into his consciousness, then Raith's holler coarse in the frigid air. Teodoro blinks, pieces of a darkening puzzle jamming into place.

Christ. At least they have a pilot. "Varlane?" he twists his ragged head around on its axis, blinks benignly at the back of Francois' head, a brief moment, until he lights on Magnes' grumbling figure. "They might need you to carry shit to them, if we don't all go." He sets a boot against Felix's side, tumbles the bleeding mess of speedster over before a drag of a double-fisted grip to where some interchangeable civilian seems to be doing something competent with the First Aid kit that Huruma just dumped on her lap along with Mei Shen's corpus. The empath mutters something in lurid goldfish speak, slick red fingers delivering an indecipherable patting to Huruma's shin-bone.

Gripping the comm unit on his own shoulder, Teo's voice statics in in tandem to Catherine's. "«Shield Four, do you need weapons or personnel?»"

"Fuck no," Raith explains with utter clarity to Cat as she talks over his shoulder. The noise of the dual propellors spinning up comes loudly into the hold of the vehicle. "Do you feel the goddamned quaking out there? This whole place is going to sink. I'll hover nearby, but," Raith taps a finger on a gague on the console of the pilot's seat. "This thing's nearly out of fuel as it is. We weren't supposed to have to make an evacuation, these chinook can only go so far on a single reserve of fuel. They normally send big fucking jets out here. This was a one way trip guys, calvary is waiting to come in, but god fucking knows what's going to happen now."

The noise of the whining helicopter comes louder and louder, growing until the vehicle begins to lift up off the ground, kicking snow and ice up around its twin propellors. "Everyone hold on to your fucking asses! We're going in!" The chinook lifts up off of the ice as Raith wases back on the stick and navigates the pedals of the chopper.

From the air, it looks like the world is already coming to an end. Ice and snow is kicked up in billowing clouds like fog around the edges of an ever expanding sinkhole full of twisted wreckage from the Amundsen-Scott station. It's gigantic tan-colored metallic frame is being swallowed piece by piece the way a fat man would eat a plate of linked sausages.

"Sweet mother of God," Raith murmurs, looking down at the gaping hole in the ground. "Varlane," Raith calls back over his shoulder, "I'm gonna bring us in. You and Allegre drop down and see what you can do to get people up here. There is no goddamned way I am landing this thing!"

"Hold your horses, boys and girls. Daddy Raith's comin'." Barely able to keep the helicopter aloft and steady from the winds, Raith angles the chinook so that the drill site can be seen. It is a massive hexagon shaped addition to the facility, one side of it split open like a beer can, swirling waves of shadow roiling inside where it looks like Kazimir and Claire are fighting each other. Hector stands by a console near a hole in the ice, visible through the fissure in the wall, where a metal cable descends down into the antarctic ice shelf.

Worse, though, the sinkhole has swallowed up nearly all that remains of Amundsen-Scott.

Time is running out.

Back at the Drill Site…

Stumbling down the stairs to stand next to Eileen, comes another tiny blonde, identical to the one descending to the ice, but minus the purple light show. She glances around blearily as the last of the tranq fades from her system, until blue eyes settle on Wagner. They go wide. "Holy shit.." But then her eyes narrow dangerously. "Oh no you fucking don't." The words growl out between her tightly clenched teeth.

Claire doesn't hesitate, she's scrambling down the stairs, boots making a racket on the cold metal as she skips stairs in her hurry. Her gloved hand reaches under her jacket and she pulls out a large serrated knife. Jumping down the last few stairs to throw herself at Wagner, her knee aimed into the back of her duplicate to drive Wagner to the ice. Her free hand grips the pony tail, wrapping it around her hand before yanks the head back, slicing open her twin's throat wide, blood gushing out over the icy ground.

"I will not let you kill my family." The evil blonde twin's head is shoved to the ground roughly as she prepared to drive that knife into the back of Wagner's skull, but several things happen at once. Claire can feel the familiar drain of Kazimir's ability. The skin along one side of her face, starts to turn ashen and peals, but her own ability makes it heal. Of course, this only means one things…. Claire rears back some and starts to drive that knife down, but before she can even nick Wagner, Claire is sent flying as she's hit by the force of a concussive blast.

As Claire (number one) is hurled down the stairs from the force of the bullet, Cardinal takes a quick step over towards the stairs, ready to pursue— and then Claire (number two) goes hurtling past him and into Wagner.

It takes Richard a moment or two to catch up as he stares at the spectacle of two blondes tussling on the floor. Wait, what the hell— "Claire?"

The shadowmorph's boots hit the stairs, and he swings the assault rifle back up towards Wagner, finger drawing down on the trigger as he fires off a short three-round burst towards the faux-teenager's back, hoping to at least slow 'herl down. "Asshole!"

Bloodied dog tags shoved down the front of her jacket, Eileen's forward momentum carries her the rest of the way down the stairs, past Gabriel's body and into the crumbling drill site. She comes to an abrupt halt when Claire's body goes sailing past, but rather than open fire on Wagner again she swings her rifle into position and barks something terse into her SatCom's microphone, disrupted by the fuzzy sizzle and pop of radio static.

Attacking Wagner isn't working as long as he's able to utilize Kazimir's ability and siphon energy from surrounding bodies to heal himself. Green eyes flick between the German and Peter's shape, cagey and uncertain — the only thing she can think to do at this point is almost unfathomable given what's just transpired, but they're not only running out of options. They're also running out of time.

"Nooo no no no no." But yes, the system is down and Hector's left to Milk The Giant Cow in abject frustration on his way to clutching his head when the monitor's glow goes dark. "God damn everything — " Wait. Did Holden just call him Princess?

No matter. The world is ending in ten minutes or so and he's not so keen on clambering down the irradiated hole himself that he's willing to argue that the time for escape is rrright fuckin' now. With the set literally falling apart around him, he scuffs off into a run in a direction where it looks like other people who know better than he does are going.

Meanwhile, at the Helicopter

"Did you hear that?" Veronica shouts over her shoulder to Raith. "Velasquez is dead. You're the only pilot!" She leaves Gillian to the scientist who is helping her, and moves carefully toward the door of the helicopter, finding the ladder used for rescues — just in case Magnes can't fly or whatever else could go wrong in this situation that is already clearly FUBAR. Releasing the ladder, she then swings her rifle around, preparing to shoot at anyone down below that's not on their side.

«Shield Four, who is our target, Kazimir or Bennet?» She's hoping for Cardinal to answer, since she trusts him the most of those on the team. And obviously, Bennet or Kazimir would claim the other!

That voice. Maybe she doesn't like bagels. There is no time for personal drama here, and yet for a few seconds the voice literally paralyzes the blond as flashes of those last moments cross her mind's eye. Anxiety roars through Liz, but it's not as if she has room for any more adrenaline. And she's been using her ability enough today that bleeding it off into that subsonic wave of not-quite-sound isn't even necessary. Whatever the hell else is going on out there, the last of our teams is in trouble. Elisabeth scrambles aboard the chopper as one of the last people to actually climb in. Ethan's voice in her headset brings alarmed blue eyes up to stare back toward the sinkhole in horror. "Go, go, go!" she calls into the cockpit. "We're loaded!"

Climbing over people on the floor, who are holding on for dear life as the massive chopper heaves skyward, Elisabeth grabs Varlane's arm. She heads for the back of the machine and the ramp there that will allow the gravitokinetic and his precious cargo to get back aboard. She hooks herself to the jump cable placed above the ramp so that she doesn't go flying out. As the ramp goes down, she gets a bird's-eye view of the battle below. Peter must not be killed. Claire said that. And yet Claire is the one fighting with the man. What the fuck?? She hollers so that Veronica and Francois can hear too. "We need them both alive! Don't you dare kill Kazimir, Varlane!" she orders him. "Claire said it's just as important as stopping the bomb! Raith, get the back end as close as you can!"

Permission is kind of an optional thing, really. As the copter ascends, Francois pulls Nokrio's jacket aside where the blood is coming up in rosy splotches beneath the padded fabric. Upon seeing the wound, he moves fast, a handful of gauze retrieved from the medical kit, bundled, and pressed down hard to the gaping wound. "My name is Francois," he says, during this process. "You'll be fine, but you need to lie down and not move. I'll have—

"Elisabeth!" he hollers, sharply. "Come, help me." Blood is already soaking through the gauze— she's bleeding everywhere, actually— but he doesn't lift pressure. Sign of trust, competence, familiarity — he doesn't give it a lot of thought. "Merci," he murmurs when Elisabeth moves as asked, exchanging the task with quiet efficiency, before he's levering himself up.

Francois' hands are coming away sticky with blood as he moves. Oh, just— drop down. But somehow better than Magnes going alone, so he doesn't even think of hesitating, just reaches out to firmly clasp onto the younger man's arm with a bright smile, green eyes flashing with the mad kind of adrenaline one would get when about to fling themselves out of a helicopter onto an ice shelf in the process of swallowing itself whole. It's either that, or pissing yourself.

Noriko lets out a groan to Francois, before he suddenly leaves to be replaced by Elisabeth. She looks at the other woman for a couple of moments before she says with a faint grin, "Didn't think to see a beautiful face like yours again." Yes, she's totally hitting on Cardinal's girl while she's busy dieing. Her eyes go over to Gillian, before a hand reaches out to try and pat the augmentor in an almost sisterly fashion, as if saying that everything will be okay, maybe. Or… she just couldn't keep her hand up long enough to point at something.

Huruma has little else to concentrate on inside of the helicopter- so while she has the chance, she and some others are tending to the most critical cases in terms of injuries. Mei is first on her list, partly out of happenstance. Empath to empath, Huruma does not feel as nervous as she feels dire- not fear, per se, but what you see is what you get, and she is entirely serious right now, preferring to tend than freak out about kids jumping out windows and sinkholes down below. Her world is very …current.

Magnes is quickly dragged along with Elisabeth, standing at the edge of that ramp with his rifle in both hands. The harsh winds pull at his clothing, but he just stands there, looking down with a crease of his brow. He quickly looks himself over, muttering, "Where'd my other gun go?" but before he can give that anymore thought, Francois and another hand grab both his arms. "Alright, let's go."

They'll feel an invisible grip around their waists, and he simply dives out head first. They're falling, he's not using his ability at all, except to keep them close, but he's used to this feeling, and the only thing he yells as they drop down is, "Kazimir! Claire!"

Abruptly, they're heaving up into the air, which is as far from Teodoro's preferred element as ice is. He casts a look around. Sees Gillian's hands laced over her belly, Mei Shen under a fresh latticing of bandaging linens and Felix haphazardly roped down, Noriko turning corpse-white underneath Elisabeth's palms. The situation looks hopelessly dire already, and for the life of him, the Sicilian can't remember the top speed of this chopper. How far can they get in ten minutes?

It doesn't escape his mental arithmetic that they aren't even going to have that much.

It is near about unthinking, when he steps across the chopper's cramped cabin space, swaying slightly to compensate for the centrifugal force of the swerve Raith hauls through the controls. The flux of air pressure against his eardrums rings so loud it almost inundates the queasy kick and roll of his incessant headache. He squeezes Elisabeth's shoulder in passing, despite that her eyes are focused on her more immediate task at hand, tells the rumpled back of her yellow head something about your Cardinal that neither of them can actually hear over the throb of mechanized blades and then, offering Raith a fractioned salute, snags Magnes by the arm.

In an instant, the three men are gone from the open doors. Leave a rectangle of cloudy blank pallor, their descent whistling away above the static of Danko's sardonic captions, Cat's relevant questions. Teo couldn't reply if he wanted to— choking on his stomach and wind as the convex Earth hurtles up to meet them like the butchered face of an unstoppable freight train. And if he could, he'd probably be asking Magnes for the other fucking gravity right about—

At the Drill Site

T-Minus 9 Minutes and 30 Seconds Until Detonation.

Confused for a moment, Wagner takes a step back, his hand at the side of his head, "Wh— " his brows furrow, and he watches the shadow of Kazimir's ability seep from him back towards Peter as the scarred man stands up. "No." Wagner growls, fingers curling as he stands up, shedding the illsory disguise of Claire Bennet to reveal his weathered and aged countenance once more. Now all of his tendrils of energy are visible, no longer masked, and dozens of them are pointing towards the stairwell, towards Eileen and Ethan. "I will not let you— hrk— " A pall of darkness rises up out of Wagner and slithers back across a tether of blue-purple light into Peter, his brown eyes turning blue again in a bleaching of his irises.

"You do not control the thing which has been gifted," Kazimir states flatly, once more firmly in control of Peter's body, "it chooses its host. This is a truth I had ignored for far too long, far too readily." Blue eyes narrow to slits, and Kazimir exhales a heavy breath, removing his leather gloves one by one, throwing them to the ground. "This has never been a curse… this has never been about what I am. This has always been about guilt. Weighing me down, tainting everything I touch." Taking a step forward towards Wagner, Kazimir curls his fingers closed.

T-Minus 9 Minues Until Detonation

"I never would have imagined you for a man to abandon your convictions so easily." Wagner grouses, biding his time for the end to come. He looks towards Claire, a tendril of light slithering away from his body and a reciprocal one rising off of her, and once more she feels her regenerative properties stolen. "You brought so many wonderful things for me, Kazimir. Why are we fighting, I have a legion of abilities on hand now, you are not armed to stop me in the short time left. Why fear your sacrifice now."

T-Minus 8 Minutes and 30 Seconds Until Detonation

Behind Eileen, and where only Ethan in his scrutiny of the helicopter is able to see, there is a rush of air and a strange flicker-snap-pop of a woman appearing out of nowhere. Blonde-haired and dressed in a red sub-arctic weather jacket. She looks puzzled, confused, especially upon seeing Ethan. Her lips part, as if to speak, but then she disappears in a flicker and appears in an afterimage some twenty feet away. There's a pained look of confusion on her face, and somehow, on Ethan's there's recognition.

He doesn't remember Clara's name, but he recognizes her nice bone structure. He notices the oddest things. "He's— " Clara's words cut off again, and with a crackling fizzle of her appearance like a television image out of tune, she's gone again. And this time, when she disappears, Wagner lets out a powerful scream from downstairs — one of fright.

Back at the bomb, dozens of light-tethers on Wagner's body begin to snap away one by one like strings on a parade float cut. He practically chokes as they're all severed at once, his breath hitching in the back of his throat, eyes wide and voice lost for a moment. All he has now is the tether to Cardinal's ability, and the one to Claire's. "Yyhh— " Wagner's eyes open, watching in abject horror and confusion as Kazimir charges in, grapping Wagner by the mouth with a bare hand.

Were it not for Claire's ability, surely this would have killed Wagner. The tether of light going to the blonde where she was thrown, crumpled in a heap by the stairs, waggles up and down across her body. She's not moving, probably because of being negated right now, and the Malaria ravaging her system. But Wagner— Wagner is both dessicating and regenerating all in one motion. Skin sloughs back, peels away, withers and turns to ash, then regenerates anew once more where Kazimir's bare hand touches his mouth.

T-Minus 8 Minutes Until Detonation

"Richard!" Kazimir screams at the top of his lungs, "Shoot us! Shoot us both now!" The command would be one that Cardinal, perhaps on any other day, would be glad to commit to. But even as he considers reaching for his gun, the sinkhole lets loose a powerful shuddering crack, and a huge portion of ice cracks beneath the drill site, sending the catwalks twisting and popping from the walls as metal twists, snaps and breaks. Cardinal is flung bodily over the railing, impacting on the ice ten feet below, his gun skittering over the edge of the drill hole and out of sight. The canister of negation gas as well rolls out from where he landed, coming to stop at Kazimir's feet.

Panicked, Kazimir sees slithering cables of blue-violet energy rising up from Wagner, trying to rip the shadowy essence from Kazimir's body, but the mental struggle of the two men seems titanic. There's only one other gunman, with Hector having set down his rifle to work the computer before it was destroyed. Blue eyes peer up over Wagner's shoulder, to Eileen.

They convey a great deal of emotion, much as they always did before. Those pale blue eyes of Kazimir's, even if they are not set in the skull of Richard Santiago, seem so much the same. Once more Eileen is faced with something that feels like loss, and again this time at her own hands.

"Munin," the name is mouthed. She doesn't need to hear it.

T-Minus 7 Minutes and 30 Seconds Till Detonation

She knows what she has to do.

There is a moment's hesitation that manifests as a sharp hitch in Eileen's breathing, but only a moment. The butt of her rifle braced at her shoulder, she swings the weapon around and brings Kazimir's chest into its sight. Although his head would be better, it presents a smaller target and a higher risk of failure, and failure — like non-compliance — is not an option. As her eyes meet his for the last time, they fill with apology rather than tears, and her trigger finger twitches around what is ultimately a reflexive motion.

The only sound capable of competing in volume with the crack of the first gunshot is the one that immediately follows it. Eileen doesn't wait to watch Kazimir crumple before she turns her rifle on Wagner and pinches off a second round through his middle.

Groaning, Claire slowly comes too, her body feels so heavy and aches all over. There is a grimace as she slowly opens her eyes. The white of the snow seems to make the headache she's feeling worse. Shifting slowly, she drags an arm out from under her, bracing her hand against the ice, followed by the other one. It takes efforts to lever herself up to a sitting position, her head rolling slightly along her neck. "God." She groans out softly, hand pressing to her head. Glacing around she can hear the shouting.

Rolling to her hands and knees, she crawls out from where she landed, eyes following the long purple trail of energy. She comes around the edge of whatever is in her way -she's still to woozy and out of it to really focus on it— in time to hear Kazimir yell at Cardinal to shoot them.

Glancing down at the tendril coming from her body, Claire suddenly knows what she has to do. She drops to sit, with her back against the ice wall. Watching the struggle with blurry eyes, Claire pulls the pistol out of the small of her back with a few jerks. She takes a deep breath, her eyes moving to find Cardinal, for a moment before she look to Kazimir as he's hit be Eileen's bullets. I'm sorry. She all she can think, feeling she failed at her task in that moment.

She brings the pistol up and tucks it under her chin, as a tear rolls down her cheek, her throat working as she swallows. "Hey Wagner!" She yells as her head tips back against the ice wall behind her. "Say goodbye!" A smile touches her lips, just before her finger jerks on the trigger, and the pistol in her hand goes off, sending a splash of red against the crisp white behind her.

The lifeless body of Claire slumps and slides to fall to the side, as the long stream of purple light winks out.

The assault rifle in Cardinal's hand is lifted, its stock braced against his shoulder as he brings it up…

…and then that shockwave hits, the catwalk's metal twisting sharply to one side as cables and support posts break free in a shower of shattered concrete moorings and snapped bolts. The impact rips the breath from his lungs, leaving him gasping for air as the rifle tumbles down the drill hole, vanishing into unfathomable depths below. One gloved hand slaps flat against the smooth ice, and he pushes himself up a little, trying to recover from the impact as he looks up towards the two patriarchs of the Vanguard just in time to hear Eileen's shots ringing out, just in time to see Claire's head explode in a spray of crimson.

And even though he can't breath, he smiles tightly. As fucked up as their situation is, it's more or less all going according to plan.

Maybe this says something about his plans.

«If anyone does anything to Claire, I'll guarantee they're getting dropped into a volcano or thrown to the freakin' moon! Oh, and fuck you Danko!»

Just when the others probably think they're gonna smash into the ground, Magnes flips upright and reverses gravity just enough to slow their fall. "You two figure out what the hell is going o-" Then the bang, and his head jerks in Claire's direction. "Claire! Fuck, fuck!"

Teo and Francois are left to their own devices, as he immediately flies in her direction, landing hard directly in front of her. "Claire, Claire are you alright? Please tell me you're about to heal…" He falls to his knees, reaching forward to catch her body before it can slump completely to the ground, and pulls it close to his, both arms around her. "Claire… heal…" he says in a weak voice, biting his bottom lip as tears begin to well up in his eyes.

There was— really scary. And fun. Francois doesn't know and will figure it out later, landing on hands and knees as if to assure himself he's on solid ground and not dead, before looking up. Both he, Teo and formerly Magnes have tumbled straight down through the broken open right side of the drill site, in range of one Hector Steel and the gaping hole in the ground just over there that catches Francois' attention, green eyes gone wide before he's negotiating himself up to stand.

"«Varlane! Get them out of here!»" he implores over the radio lines. "You!" That's barked towards Hector, vaguely remembering who is meant to be doing what. "What is going on? Why isn't it disarmed?" That countdown can't be just for show.

The President's brother's gushing out of his asshole and the last thing he saw was Richard Cardinal's gravitationally-accelerated vanishing act. The next thing he hears is Francois' voice across the comms, and he doesn't send sitrep up to the listeners because he doesn't know what to say. He can't see Gabriel, either. Everything is jumping snow dervishes and sheared-off rebar.

Allegre's voice does, however, issue him a reminder to use his voice, in a shout, amplified by the radio, for the objective at hand. "«Holden! Ruskin!»" His throat is so raw from cold air and falling that it's barely recognizable as human. He steps up behind the Frenchman, squaring his back against Francois' as he casts a brief glance up at the yawning hole in the architecture through which Magnes had all but flung them. The briefest check any reinforcements that might love their mission and survived their job well enough to come to Wagner's aid, yanking a pistol out from his parka. Seeing nothing— yet, he twists his head to finish screaming: "«Move toward Varlane— three o' clock. Varlane, move: Bennet needs immediate medical attention.»"

Meanwhile on the Helicopter

"Tranq them both, do not kill them, Sawyer!" Elisabeth's tone is urgent. Killing both of them on DANKO's orders just seems like a ridiculously BAD idea. Her eyes go back down to Noriko while she tries to staunch the bleeding and stabilize the hydrokinetic. She grins a bit and quips back, "Keep talking dirty to me, Noriko, and I might even start to get all hot and bothered." Sure, it's a lie — Lizzie's straight. But hey, it keeps Noriko conscious and talking, right? She's covered in the woman's blood and she's scared to death that she doesn't have enough medical skills to save her life. And worse yet — some of the people on the ground and in this chopper are her loved ones, and the nuke's got… what… twelve minutes? Eleven? Christ. She starts praying silently.

Hail Mary, full of grace…. A good rosary always helps at the end of the world, right? Please, God, I don't want to fail all these people. I don't want to lose my dad. Or Richard. Or Felix or Claire or Teo or… the list is long.

… the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women… I'm not a good Catholic, God, but we're really really trying to do the right thing here. Help us out, okay?

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. I don't want to die here. I'll do a million rosaries when we get home or something. I'll be a better person.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

When Magnes and his extraction team make the anti-gravity jump down to the drill site, Raith pilots the helicopter around for a better view of the fissure on the inside. "Sweet mother of Christ we are almost out of fuel!" Jensen screams back to the passengers in the rear of the helicopter. "I hope to hell you all think there's a safe place in a couple miles to set this down!" As the helicopter moves, down below, the reasons for the communication interruptions and lack of conversation back becomes apparent.

Inside the drill site, Claire and Kazimir square off, with Claire seemingly controlling Kazimir's ability, right up until— another Claire comes running down a flight of metal stairs, leaps on her doppleganger's back, and drags a combat knife across the double's throat. Blood sprays, degeneration robs the regenerator of health, healing the slashes throat, and with a wave of her hand, the doppleganger of Claire throws the knife-wielding copy out of sight with a concussive blastwave.

Rising to her feet, Claire changes her form as an illusory veil is dropped, and Mikhail Wagner is revealed. He and Kazimir seem to be having words, a battle of wills, and Kazimir's ability returns to him like a black shadow siphoned into his body.

As the two talk, Magnes' team is halfway down to the opening in their slowed gravity ascent. But then Wagner seems to seize for a moment, clutching at his chest, and Kazimir begins taking off his gloves. The sinkhole continues to expand, gradually, and from this angle the people on the helicopter can see inside a torn open part of Amundsen Scott, where Ethan Holden stands, staring at a flickering phantasm of a blonde woman in arctic gear. She disappears, fading away like a ghost and leaving him looking puzzled. "Leave it to Holden to have his fucking thumb up his ass…" Jensen murmurs to himself.

"I can't get us any closer!" Raith calls back to the others, "We've gotta keep this altitude, but we only have about ten more minutes before we're a lawn dart." As the pilot continues advising the crew of their situation, and the wounded are being tended to, Cat's scrutiny of what is going on down below shows Wagner and Kazimir in a struggle, wrestling one another in a standing position, with Kazimir's hand clasped over Wagner's mouth.

The entire drill site shakes, walls cracking and metal scaffolding on the inside breaking away from the walls. The sinkhole has almost claimed the entire facility. But then there's the sound of a gunshot, and blood sprays from both Kazimir and Wagner's bodies. Someone shot them both.

In that same moment, the sinkhole drops down further, kicking up a massive cloud of ice shards and snow, a blinding flurry of white that swarms in thorugh the open doors, circulated by the helicopter blades, and Raith is screaming at the controls as a stabilization alarm comes beeping like mad.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck!" Raith howls out as he tries to regain control of the helicopter.

At Elisabeth's words, Veronica throws the rifle over her shoulder and pulls out the tranq gun to aim at the two fighting, then shakes her head. "It's no good, there's no way the dart will make it, the wind's too strong and I can't fucking see," she shouts with a growl. She's clipped into place, but when the aircraft swerves, her feet swing out over the snow. "Shit." Her feet clamor back for a toehold. She'll just wait for anyone coming up this way, to help them into the vehicle, and to assist with the wounded here in the helicopter.

All of a sudden, Huruma is no longer tending to wounds- but trying to keep everyone around her from just falling right out of the copter. Her voice rises in an echo towards the cockpit, full volume snarling- its all she has to share right now. "JUST FLY. PICK A DIRECTION, BOZI."

Noriko isn't exactly bracing, and Liz isn't expecting movement much either as all of sudden things go funky in the copter and Noriko's injured shoulder is slammed the few remaining inches into a wall of the copter, the hydrokinetic letting out a cry as that sharp stab of pain goes through her. The asian still looking around almost funnily while she lays there, eyes slowly blinking every now and again, almost like she has to remind herself to blink.

Once more, Emile Danko's taunting voice crackles over their radios. «Bennet's been compromised. Terminate them both.»

But Magnes' response is quickly delivered and sharp. «If anyone does anything to Claire, I'll guarantee they're getting dropped into a volcano or thrown to the freakin' moon! Oh, and fuck you Danko!"

Cabling and support is clutched quickly when the aircraft gets invaded by flying frozen stuff and the course is thrown into chaos. Cat's observation is also rendered near to impossible. Nearby to Veronica, she too seems in position to assist with helping anyone aboard when the time comes. But Raith still catches part of her attention. "Need help flying?" she calls out.

Then comes a darkly muttered string of words. "Yes, fuck you, Danko, with the blade of a knife."

"I've got it, Christ." Raith shoots back thorugh the flurry of biting ice crystals and freezing wind. "Someone shut that fucking door!" He adds in a fit of frustration over his shoulder, plowing thorugh the haze of snow and ice created by the collapsing of a massive piece of the ice shelf. They're much higher now, higher than they should be, "Fuck!" Raith kicks at the floor panel of the helicopter, at least getting it stabalized again. His brows knit, leaning up in his seat, peering down at the facility beelow them thorugh the windshield and side window.

"Ground team this is your bird, we've got about ten minutes of air time left before we're falling out of the sky." Raith looks over his shoulder after using the radio, making a head count of screaming and scared passengers. "Varlane! We had to pull away! The collapsing ice is kicking up a fucking mess out here. You're gonna need to fly everyone up and out. Double-time!"

The company agent pulls on the door with all her might; she's strong for her size, but her size is not all that great to cut off the wind. The door closed, she drops down to her knees, gasping for breath. There's no more gravity tourniquet on her leg, now that Magnes is gone, and her leg is beginning to bleed again. "Is there another helicopter used by Vanguard? No time… we're just fucking out of time." She crawls to Gillian, to check on the woman's wounds, but there simply isn't that much she can do.

Varlane. Your orders are to get the people out of there. Don't stay to protect Claire.»"

Meanwhile, Down at the Drill Site

T-Minus 6 Minutes and 30 Seconds Until Detonation

Thundering downt he stairs, Ethan Holder brushes past Eileen, stops, turns at his waist and looks around. Where the fuck did that blonde girl run off to? He shakes his head, eyes angled up to Eileen. "Princess, what're we doin'?" We, because as stubborn as Eileen isn't going to leave anyone behind here to die, Ethan Holden is damned certain not going to leave his bird. Then, qith a quirk of one brow, he spots Teo and Francois out of the corner of his eye, and offers the more Sicilian of the pair a squirrley look.

In that moment of struggling fall after the gunshots, Wagner collapses down towards Kazimir, and with her regenerative abilities severed after her own self inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Wagner is remiss of all forms of regnerative powers. "You want this?" Kazimir growls bloodily, voice wet and rasping as Wagner falls atop him, "take it."

A lesson was learned at Pinehearst, the day Peter Petrelli took on the curse of Kazimir Volken's power, it leaves the body when it wishes it, and it wills itself into the body of the dying, to reconstitute their life. In a way, Francois Allegre's power is a selfish one, it flees a body that is dying to save itself, whereas Kazimir's flees to a dying person to spare them death. It is the cruel dichotomy between the two, and one that may never truly be understood.

But insurance taken in both of them being inflicted with fatal gunshot wounds, Peter feels an unmistakable feeling surging out of his body. This is not just the transferrence of the ability into a dead man, it is the same as when Kazimir Volken took Richard Santiago. Both circumstances in the same token, garuntee that fate would not spurn this moment to stop Mikhail Wagner once and for all.

Like so much black smoke from a burning chimney, Peter's body wracks on the ground as smoke and ash leaves him in a torrential cloud of howling, screaming darkness. Faces depressed into the smoke flesh and push inside its ashen walls, memories of people and things that once were, now part of the legacy of that ability's long and cursed life.

T-Mius 6 Minutes Until Detonation.

Wagner claws at his face as he feels that shadow sinking into him, screaming in panicked confusion as the life-leeching powers of the entropic ability coursing through his veins, and more horrifyingly, that he is no longer alone in his body. The warping nature of Wagner's ability manipulation tries to keep the entity out, tries to force Kazimir out of him with curling tendrils of blue-violet light. On his feet now, Wagner staggers around on the shaking and collapsing ice. "No! No!" His chest rises and falls, and everyone gathered at the drill site can see this, can feel prickling in their fingertips that entity of living black smoke trying to force its way inside of Wagner like some sort of parasite or symbiote.

Clutching his chest, vomiting up a mouthful of blood, Peter Petrelli moves his bare hands across the ice, blurry vision reaching, feeling for the canister that fell from Cardinal's jacket. He swallows, bitter, coppery victory, and reaches up with his free hand to tug on Wagner's winter jacket. Pulling himself up, Peter manages to stuff the grenade inside of Wagner's thick, fur-lined jacket, and when he yanks the pin out of the negation gas grenade, it is followed by a slam of Petrelli's shoulder into Wagner's tall, lanky body, sending him stumbling backwards, tipping end over end, and as the negation gas begins to spit wildly out of the canister, he's toppling head over heels down into the eight-foot wide drill hole, screaming all the while as he falls.

A loud, metallic clang followed by the crunch of something hitting ice is the last sound Mikhail Wagner ever makes.

T-Minus 5 Minutes and 30 Seconds Until Detonation.

With Wagner gone, Peter's body wavers, his legs buckle and he collapses down to the ice onto his knees. A splash of blood drizzles across the ice in front of him, and he collapses down onto his side and then partly onto his back, legs bent and blood pooling out from the gunshout wound to his chest. Having fallen at the base of the stairs as he has, he is directly beneath where Eileen stands, her rifle still held out.

This is exactly what Claire Bennet saw.

This is what was happening in the vision.

Gabriel is gone. Kazimir is gone. Beneath her coat, Eileen's chest rises and falls in between violent, heaving shudders. Her composure is splintering as the ice shelves around them quake, buckle and fold into the earth, obscuring the view of the drill site from the helicopter churning its rotors above them. She looks between Peter bleeding out in the snow and Ethan at her side, and is staggering toward him even as Teo's voice buzzes gnat-like in the hollow of her ear.

Back in New York City, there is a dining room table gathering dust and a fireplace that bears the words absit omen across its mantle. She remembers that much. Peter, like Teo, is one of them — if she can't save Kazimir and Gabriel, maybe she can do something to help preserve their memory — even if it's only for a few minutes. «Negative, Laudani,» she chokes over the radio, ripping off her coat as if preparing to attempt bundling him in it, though there's plenty of distance between them yet. «Bennet will recover. Petrelli won't. He needs extraction first.»

There is a soft cough and Claire groans. "Are you always such a cry baby?" Comes the soft question from the regenerator. "Of course I'll heal…" Hearing them telling the man in front of her to get her out of her, she pushes Magnes away from her before he can, her mind still on the mission and that vision. She'll have to apologize later.

Scrambling to her feet, her pony tail waves like a sickly blood laden flag behind her, Claire hurries towards her uncle as he starts to crumple to the ground. "Get others out of here, Magnes. PETER!" Her boots slip some as she scrambles for her uncle. Screaming his name. She comes sliding to a stop next to the body of her uncle. A hand reaches out, but hesitates, She couldn't stop it from happening.. Etana showed her this. "Oh god.. what did I do wrong." She reaches out to press hands to his chest, to try and stop the bleeding.

"I'm sorry Peter.. I'm sorry.. This wasn't suppose to happen. I'm sorry." As she babbles that apology the words spilling out, tears draw tracks down her cheek in pink lines as they cross the blood drying on her face. "I'm sorry. I failed again… just like midtown. I'm so sorry, Peter." Through blurry tears she looks down at the one family member she felt closest too, looked up to as a hero, a hand slick with blood moves to grip his, while the other still tries to stop the bleeding. When Eileen is close enough she doesn't let go of his hand, but she move her other hand so Eileen can work."Please don't die." She murmurs, voice thick with her tears to Peter before looking over at Magnes, hoping he'll do as Eileen says.

"V…" Cough, cough. Cardinal's still recovering from that impact, desperately swallowing for breath as he scrambles up to his feet, boots trying to slide from beneath him with every step that takes him stumblingly to Peter's side. "Varlane! Get— ger her over—" Down to one knee, he lands heavily beside the fallen figure just as Claire reaches him as well.

The younger Petrelli's arm is pulled up from where it's fallen, and Richard strips off the glove he'd been wearing since his possession, hurling it to one side to land in a slap against the smoothed ice around the drilling hole and busying himself shoving Peter's sleeve upwards as well to bare more of his wrist, before offering it over to the man's niece. "Claire— stop crying for a second, glove off, hold his fucking hand. Skin contact, girl!"

A hand pushes down into his pants, then, fishing around a moment before peeling something attached with duct tape to the inside of his thigh free - grimacing as hair's pulled free - and pulling out something small and wrapped in cloth. Gloved fingers fumble as he unwraps it, the fabric also tossed carelessly out of his way as he pulls free the plastic syringe that was hidden within.

As he pulls off the cap, the Pinehearst logo briefly catches the light.

And then the masterpiece of Doctor Lewis Zimmerman is jammed into Peter's arm, and Cardinal's thumb slams down on the plunger.

"Claire…" Magnes stares up when she rises to her feet, the shock of her death quickly replaced by the shock of her regeneration. He's quickly snapped back to reality when Eileen and Claire are talking about getting people out of here, which is a much more reasonable request when he's not holding his dead girlfriend.

"Anyone who's fixing the bomb, fix the freakin' bomb, everyone else, get over here." he's issuing commands, since he's the one who has to do the extracting. He's arrived near Peter, and pulls his rifle around in both hands again. "I won't have any protests. Anyone in charge of stopping the bomb will be shot if they stop what they're doing, until you decide to follow orders."

The world's about to end and all Hector can do is stand in place with his left hand up on his head and his eyes ticking after various ongoing struggles to survive with a remote kind of dismay. It takes him a second to realize he's been addressed at all. Then his eyes find focus on Francois, lost but present enough to look baffled for as long as it takes him to translate words into thoughts and thoughts into answers.

"Buhh…" is not an answer, but he manages a stiffer breath after it along with a glance to the hole with the bomb in it. "S'broken." He's still looking at the hole and his hand is still on his head some ten or fifteen seconds later. "Computers are down, pit's filled with radiation. …I don't think we've enough time to do it manually."

Claire's regeneration isn't anything Francois has seen before — despite being an immortal in many ways, once upon a time, it just isn't how it ever worked. Catches his attention for long enough, and then Magnes is barking orders in a way that doesn't quite suit a man of nearly eighty years of age. He has his own gun in his hand, back still squared against Teo's and feeling more secure for it. Trying to listen through the squawking of the countdown and commands, the buzzing static, Francois squints at Hector. "But it can be done manually?" he demands.

His weight gets taken off Teo's back, taking a step towards the engineer before glancing at what can count as a bottomless pit. "Never mind time," he says, eyeing the steel rope that descends down to where, presumably, the nuclear device hangs, "you will tell me what to do."

Claire's regeneration isn't anything Teodoro remembers seeing before, either. A head shot? He's known the woman a damn long time, at least insofar as they had intimates in common and a lengthy acquaintance, but snapping ones legs gracefully back into place is different from shrugging off brain death and if there wasn't this much adrenaline singing through his skull he'd have wasted another long few seconds staring.

Instead, he adjusts quick enough to the reversal of situations. Peter suddenly hasn't got Volken anymore, and Claire's every bit as indestructible as he thought her uncle should have been. "«Roger,»" he acknowledges Eileen's deft medical action and Magnes' abrupt snap to focus in the same push. "«Chesterfield, Varlane's preparing for liftoff plus passengers. Standby for inco— »

What the fuck?»" Teo is an instant too late taking his finger off the comm button when Francois abruptly steps away from him. The Sicilian wheels around, his brows buckled down in a glare that's almost petulant underneath the mopstring tumble of his forelocks. The next instant, his glove relieves the radio unit of its weight and the disjoint wind alone carries his voice at the back of Francois' head, instead. Antarctica's dominant theme would appear to be shit-for-visibility. He's talking at the backs of everybody's heads today. "Don't know about you, uomo," he offers Hector, closing a long-fingered grip on Francois' elbow, his voice expelled vaporously through the grille of locked teeth, bared by anemically taut lips and the ugly rend in his cheek. "But we have to go."

Back at the Helicopter

Noriko reaches out with her unmarked hand, the only one that currently operates, to bump against Gillian's. Grabbing is a little hard for her, though it looks like Liz has managed to stop most of the bleeding that Noriko has been left with. "Its… okay. My fault… not yours," the hydrokinetic says to Gillian as the two of them lay there, Veronica right there to hear every word, not that Noriko cares. She's pretty sure that when ever she gets around to closing her eyes, they won't be opening back up again.

Assistance is offered in closing the door, yet seemingly unneeded by Veronica, so Cat retreats further into the craft. "Whatever's happening down there involved illusory power," she surmises quietly. Brown eyes settle on Veronica's leg as she moves and sights renewed escape of blood. Severity is quickly judged, a determination as to whether or not it appears the femoral artery was breached and will soon end her life. And there's speculation on internal damages too; the sight of a bleeding leg wound reminds perfectly of Carolina Perez being injured, seemingly made stable, and dying anyway after the takedown of Bill Dean's cell. Whether or not it appears that critical, Cat advises seriously "Put pressure on that, V. Now."

Then comes a Teoesque voice in her ear, and brief thought over what it means. She could speak, but opts not to. If they're coming out they'll say so and the door can be opened. Telling them to bail has and probably will continue to be pointless.

"Here," Raith reaches into his winter jacket, gloved fingers fumbling for a small butane torch, tossed underhanded towards Cat in an easily caught manner. "Heat up her knife and cauterize the wound. You keep a tourniquet on that leg for too long in this cold and she's gonna' lose it." Raith's eyes angle out of the helicopter window again. "Fuck guys come on we don't have all day here." Oh of only Raith knew how little day was left.

Tapping the fuel gauge again, Jensen leans around in the seat and looks back at the crew. "Alright, presuming we aren't all about to die in a goddamned nuclear flash, I can set us down away from where the sinkhole's growing. There's no way it's going to expand beyond the facility. I'm going to try and pull us in just a little. Cat," Jensen calls over his shoulder as he settles back down in his seat, edging the helicopter closer to the collapsing drill site. "Man the door, if you see Varlane and the others coming, let 'em in."

Fuck. That sounds painful. It is painful, as she knows from the insta-cauterisation provided by the very thoughtful robo-jaguar that sliced her other leg a month back. "Fuck. I can do it," she says, with a nod to Cat to man the door, reaching for the torch. "I'll see if it works for anyone else in here, too."

Unbuckling her pants, she pulls down the cold weather garment, shaking her head at the utter ridiculousness of it, then heats her knife, holding it up to the light of the torch. A moment later she brings that knife to the back of her leg, hissing through her teeth at the scorching of her own flesh. The smell rises in the air, and she bites her lip to keep from yelling out. She doesn't yell.

Instead, the very tough company agent falls backward in a faint.

Noriko happens to be looking over towards Veronica when she falls over and faints and the hydrokinetic lets out a faint sound, her brain is still miracously firing despite the scar-tissue in it, and the blood that it is stewing in. "Nice… legs," she murmers from where she lays, before she turns her head to Gillian, and then tries to get her hand to wrap around Gillian's, its a hard task for the woman, but she manages it. As she finishes that, her head finally finishes lol'ing to the side and the hydrokinetic sinks into the blackness of unconciousness. With her pale pallor from loss of blood and sheer freezing conditions, the only way to tell that she is still alive is the small rise and fall of her chest, and the thin stream of blood that pulses with her heart to darken the guaze at her shoulder.

A lot of what's been said over the radio doesn't quite register in her mind. Pain overrides a lot of things. Pain and cold. Gillian groans as she's told the helicopter will be setting down for a while. She helped sink the whole fucking station. And there's a lot of people not onboard yet. Extraction.


The injured hand twitches a bit, where Noriko grasps it, and eyes blink open, trying to see through the darkness. It's not dark, but it seems that way. A shifting happens, as she tries to push herself up, but the pain takes her back down. She probably shouldn't try to move with a scarf stuffed into her stomach keeping the blood in.

With the helicopter moved into place, Cat can get a good clear look out the door at what's happening in the drill site. Wagner is nowhere to be seen now, and Kazimir is laying on his back in a pool of blood on the ground. Eileen is standing over him with her rifle, dark hair blown in the wind, Claire is leaning over him, clutching one of his hands, and Cardinal — who looks battered but otherwise okay — is injecting him with something.

Nearby, Magnes, Francois and Teo look to be trying ot come up with some sort of plan, but everything is in a frenzied hurry. Cat can finally make out Ethan's profile in view, stalking behind Eileen, and the entire collapsing ice shelf is starting to eat away at the ice beneath the drill site. They may not be aware of it, but the whole place might be coming down, and soon.

What Raith states as to tourniquets and such dovetails with Cat's own knowledge of such things. Eyes shift from him to the injured agent, torch caught and passed along for the self-administered treatment. She remains close to the door, seeking to occasionally look out for signs of approach so she can open it exactly when needed.

Veronica's collapse into unconsciousness prompts a quick move to verify she still breathes and has a beating heart. Then the wound is examined to check success or failure of cauterization, while she relies on radio to tell her if extractees are arriving.

She's not unconscious long, her cheeks flushing. "Fuck, did I faint," she says, with disgust at herself, pulling her pants up. She grips Gillian's hand. "It's not your fault. Or yours, Noriko. You didn't expect that attack," she whispers, figuring if her last act is to give them a touch of peace, it isn't a bad one. "What's happening?" she asks Cat, her voice husky and weak.

"So the bomb's gonna go off… and everyone's gonna die… and it's not our fault cause we didn't know we were going to get fucking shot?" Gillian asks with a groan, apparently not quite buying this peace of mind as she tries to move. Noriko's hand gets released, so she can reach up and touch her face. The hand weakly drops away.

What's happening? All the pain makes breathing hard, and worrying difficult, but she does get to ask a soft, "Are we all gonna die?" Veronica finds her hand smooshed between an injured hand and the puffy glove covered one.

"Yes, V, you fainted," Cat confirms. Eyes shift over to Gillian as she speaks, and her head shakes. "It's Wagner's fault, and Kazimir Volken's, for being nutjob asshole Nazis who twice tried to wipe out civilization. Stop blaming yourself." Beyond that, the panmnesiac projects her standard operational self. Don't acknowledge the possibility of failure. She isn't letting herself dwell on the potential detonation in mere minutes. In her head, it would be pointless anyway. Nuclear flash, intense fireball, then nothing. Fast death in any case. "No, we aren't going to die."

Then it's back to the door, and surveying the ground, so she can answer the agent's question. Before she provides, though, the radio is used. "You guys look like lost puppies down there. Extraction is right here, move your asses!"

Finally she informs Veronica of the situation. "They're running around like headless chickens, trying to pull it together. Not succeeding." And with that, she slides the door open so they can see it. If need be, she'll shout to get attention. Just in case static ate her radio call.

Down at the Drill Site


There's a white glow around Peter's bare hand, a spider-web veining of illumination on his palm the moment after the injection courses thorugh his veins. The light flashes between he and Claire, warm and bright, and then dims down subtly as Peter lets out a wheezing, hacking cough. He spits up blood, rolling onto his side, letting a rattling gasp of breath escape his lungs. "Hhh— " his chest rises, air sucked in, lips art parted and eyes wide, staring up at Cardinal, Claire and Eileen with dark brown eyes and a look of confusion of his frostbitten face.

T-Minus Five Minutes Until Detonation

Slowly though, the pruple and red of frostbite on his nose and cheeks bleaches out, color returns flush and rosy to his skin, and the bleeding bullet hole in his chest knits itself shut carefully. Peter's back arches, his eyes go wide, and when he sucks in that full, deep breath, the three people gthered around him can see not only the frostbute on his cheek and nose, the blood from his gunshot wound, but also the scar across his face healing away. That characteristic fissure across his brow that has served as a reminder of midtown ever since the day it happened fuses itself shut, healing over to a perfect measure of smooth flesh.

In a way, it's someone cruel for Teo to watch.

Peter shudders, breathing out a ragged exhalation, squeezing Claire's hand tightly. "How— " he doesn't understand, not at all, not until he sees the empty syringe that Cardinal is carrying in his hand. Dark brows crease together, staring confused at the red droplets clinging to the inside of the glass.

"I thought— " he can think later. "We— we have to stop the bomb." Peter growls out, coughing wrly again, spitting blood and bone fragments out of his mouth as he wipes the back of his hand across his lips.

Using Claire's hand as an aid in balance, he offers Eileen a long, puzzled look. Then, rather immediately, the expression of sorrow and guilt painted across his features is clear enough to see. Peter's bare hand thumba at the hole in his black jacket, unbuttoning it to look down at his skin, smeared with blood but otherwise okay.

"'Ey." Ethan growls out to Eileen, firm hand on her shoulder, squeezing tightly, "you 'eard 'er." Ethan's eyes turn skyward, to the sound of the helicopter, then out to the blown open wall of the drill site to the helicopter's dark silhouette against the pinkish red sky. "Come on, two atta' time." Ethan hooks an arm around Magnes' shoulders as if they're the best friends in the world. There's a pause, even if brief, to regard Francois over his shoulder in stoic silence, before returning that headlock squeeze around Magnes. "Get the ladies up," Ethan offers, nodding back to Claire, then to Eileen.

"I…" Peter opens and closes his hands, looking over to Ethan, then Magnes. "I can help. I should be able to— " there's a squint, confusedly, he "should be able to" a whole lot of things right now, but he can't. Huffing out a breath, Peter stares down at his hands, bare fingers freezing cold. "Nevermind," he murmurs in a hushed tone of voice, dark eyes angled up to Magnes.

"He's right. Get Eileen and Claire out of here. Then come back for us. Two at a time, you know your limits." In a way, he's Peter, but after having had Volken residing in his head for so long, some of that maturity seems to have rubbed off on him. Swallowing awkwardly, Peter looks up to the hallway, where Gabriel's body lays. His back tenses, and somehow, he feels no relief there. He always though Gabriel's death would settle things for him. Maybe, in a way, they did.

Running a bare hand over his face, he feels the absence of the scar, turning dark eyes over to Hector and Francois. Peter swallows, awkwardly, then looks back to Hector. "You can do this, we just have to— " The entire drill site shakes, the ice cracks, and a fifteen foot wide ledge of ice comes sliding down off of the side, collapsing down with a groaning creak of the last few vestiges of Amundsen Scott. Two whole floors and a science wing collapse down the icy slope to the bottom of the sinkhole, and the outer wall of the drill site peels away more pile the rolled back lid of a can of sardines.

Peter is practically knocked off of his feet by the jostling, landing on his hands and knees, looking up to Magnes, then to Claire. "Get them out of here!" He screams, looking back and over to where Francois stands by the steel cable. Peter's breath hitches in the back of his throat, blue eyes wide.

"Francois." He offers in a rough tone of voice, the ground beneath their feet noisy with cracks, rumbling, "there's no way you'd survive that much radiation. You can't— " Peter eyes that dark hole in the ground, stomach churning and eyes unfocusing, sweat beads on his brow and he lumbers forward, a pained sound in the back of his throat.

The Formula is still settling, there's no way he could focus for the duration of the deactivation.

If the injection doesn't kill him outright.

T-Minus 4 Minutes And 30 Seconds Until Detonation

Back at the Helicopter

Peter was down, Peter was dead, and then he's up again, moving like a man possessed as he unbuttons the front of his jacket an checks himself for bullet holes. Even from this distance and with this shaky of a flight, Cat can make out that dark line across his face — his scar — is gone. When Peter struggles up to stand, he soon collapses, still seeming to be in pain. Ethan's hooking an arm around Magnes, motioning between the gravitokinetic, Claire and Eileen.

From their vantage point up above, the helicopter team members perched by the windows can see Magnes preparing to take people up. But what seems most notable of all, is Francois breaking away from the group, moving to the drill hole at the center of the dig site. He's testing the cable, checking his SatCom headset over his eat, and looks to be planning to go down, not up.

"She's right. Not your fault. And we're getting out of here," Veronica tells Gillian, then returns to her feet, staggering toward the door to hook herself in again, prepared to help anyone people in. "Is Francois going after the bomb?" she shouts over the noise by the door, brows knitting together as she tries to make sense of what she sees. "«Roger, we're ready for you,»" she says into the SatCom.

"Don't… even know… if taking out the power station… did a fucking bit of good," Gillian mutters heavily as she tries to foce herself into an upright position as Veronica moves away. Blinking away moisture that wants to freeze anyway, her jaw tightens as she moves, groans escaping. She slips back down, grasping at the scarf, but gains a few inches to look up. Dark hair falls out of her face. They're not going to die?

Where is everyone? She can't see well, but she tries— and fails a little.

"Where's…?" she starts to ask, perhaps to inquire on someone in particular. It doesn't quite finish getting said as she suddenly grimaces and ends up rolling back onto her side, "Fuck." If she ever gets shot again, she hopes it causes her to just die. This fucking hurts.

It's a holding pattern now, Cat positioned near the open door and secured into place so she also can assist with getting people on board. "Looks like he might be," she quietly states regarding Monsieur Allegre. Her head tilts then, she studies Peter a bit more closely as if trying to guess whether that's an illusion or not. He purged the guilt he wore diagonally across his face? No Gabriel, no Danko in sight. Nor the robot man.

As she observes, such thoughts are kept to herself.

Down at the Drill Site

There's no one left on the ground in need of medical assistance. Eileen's use has been sapped dry — her presence at the drill site is no longer required, and to linger would place an unfair burden on those who need to remain behind. She follows Peter's gaze back to the stairwell where Gabriel still lays, a dark shape with a silver outline cause by the Antarctic's twilight glow. They will have nothing to bury, no body to mourn.

She reaches out for Claire's bloody hand with one of her own, and curls cool, leather-clad fingers around the younger woman's wrist, not in a gentle display of camaraderie, but to ensure that she doesn't go after Peter. God knows she'd do the same if Gabriel had been the one to get up.

Glancing up from Peter, Claire's eyes widen. "Is that?" She manages to choke out. Hope fills her in a way she never thought she'd feel, "Oh god.. Richard.. If this works…." Even as she speak, she is letting go of Peter's hand so that she can yank off her glove. Then ignoring the bite of cold on her fingers, she wraps her warm hand tight around Peter's as she smiles down at her uncle, tears still in her eyes.

When he starts healing Claire gives a short laugh of relief. She gives Peter's hand a squeeze, before she looks to Cardinal with a grin, her free hand reach over to grab the front of his coat so that she can pull him close as she leans over and plant a solid kiss on the shadowman's lips. "Thank you." She tells him, before she moves to climb to her feet and help Peter to his feet.

Just about the time she lets go of Peter, the world gives a violent jerk and Claire stumbles, falling to her knees. "What the…" There isn't much time to really, think about the shaking, her uncle is yelling at her, Claire shakes her head. "No! Not unless your going too!" She climbs to her feet and tries to move to grab at Peter's arm, only to be stopped by Eileen. "Let go of me… " She hisses at the woman, before she turns to shout after Peter. "What about me? Your in no shape.. He can't survive it. What about me?"

The syringe with those lingering droplets of red is tucked into Cardinal's coat, observing dryly, "Don't think, Petrelli, you're not good at…"

Uh, hey, he's being kissed by Claire. That's awkward. Blink. Blink.

It's one blink too many, preventing him from stopping Peter as the man stumbles along up to his feet, though he's right behind him. Boots scrape against the ice as he pushes himself up, heading after Peter, "What're you— get the fuck back here— "

The next shockwave as the site begins to slide down into the hole sends him down to his knees as well, one hand dropping to grab Peter's shoulder firmly, barking into the comm as he does so, «Get everyone the fuck out of here that isn't working on the bomb! That includes Petrelli here, god-damn it!»

"You're that guy, who was locked up with me…" Magnes couldn't place the face, but he knows the voice. How could he not know that voice? When Claire kisses Cardinal, he quickly shakes his head, staying in mission mode. "This is not the time. Hate me, punch me, never speak to me again if you have to, but the world is about to end, no arguments!" He reaches out with one hand, then closes it, a force wrapping around both Eileen and Claire, then he starts flying into the air with both dragging behind him. "And damnit, Cardinal, if Peter has a plan and you don't? Let him do it!"

Up at the Helicopter

Cat can see it clearly from her perched braced by the door, and when she sees a black spot moving out of the sinking research center, and moving like a bolt of lightning up thorugh the swirling snow and ice to the airborne helicopter Magnes does his best to sling Eileen and Claire in thorugh the doorway, clearly moving at unusually fast speeds, he's pushing himself to the limit, and there must be a damned good reason for it.

«Incoming!» he says once they've cleared the drill site, and quickly pushes both girls into the ramp. "Someone grab Claire so she doesn't jump back down!" he exclaims into the chopper before diving back into the site as quickly as possible.

Magnes disappears as quickly as he appeared, freefalling backwards out of the helicopter.

When the two women get all but flung into the helicopter, Veronica reaches for them to help, hands grabbing one arm of each, pulling them into the helicopter so that the wind from the blades won't have them simply tumbling back out. Her eyes scan for injuries. "What's happening? Is the bomb still counting down?" she says urgently, moving to block the door from Claire should she try to jump back out.

No wrestling or holding back from Gillian, as she's curled up a bit bleeding from her abdomen. With the commotion, the sound of evacuations, she tries to look over— but doesn't see the face, or faces, which she might have been looking. And the question she can barely gasp out doesn't come. Probably best not to attempt again. Still no surge of energy, no tickle of power. Though it looks like she couldn't control herself right now if she wanted.

At the other end of the doorway from Veronica, Cat assists in the effort of securing them aboard. Should anyone seek to jump back out, they'd not only need to go through the agent but through her too. She'd not prove an easy person to shove aside. She doesn't, however, have full attention on such pursuits. Eyes return to watching for more people being onloaded without ceremony.

"They're going to attempt to disarm it manually," Eileen says, and although her hands and face are covered in blood, none of it appears to belong to her — she's uninjured. She releases her grasp on Claire's wrist, trusting in Cat and Veronica to prevent the blonde from flinging herself back into the yawning mouth of the drill site below. "Steel and Allegre. Varlane is extracting Holden, Petrelli and the others." Then, green eyes attempting to search out Gillian's darker ones from across the helicopter; "Gray's dead. Danko shot him."

Huruma has been entirely obsessed in patching Mei Shen thusfar, and for now she has done what she can- her mind is brought back to the real world when Magnes says 'incoming'. She knows that can't be any good, so when Eileen and Claire come rolling in the door, Huruma is on her feet moving across the short span of floor. He says 'grab Claire'. So that is exactly what Huruma does, wrapping still bloody arms around the girl's middle and trying to hoist her further into the helicopter by just backing up. Her nostrils flare at Eileen's words, though she says nothing.

"No!" Claire growls at Magnes as she suddenly pulled into the helicopter, her head turning to look back down, her expression turning worried. "They need me down there." She pleads to the young man, even as he shoves them in the helicopter. Brushing off the hand, Claire moves to dive fore the door, only to have one person step in her way and another grab her from behind.

She can only glare at Veronica and Cat, rage clear on her blood smeared features, blood caked ponytail swinging stiffly behind her head, before she dragged back more, heels dragging. There isn't much she can do but let it happen, though the tiny blonde is a pissy off little bundle of regeneration, don't get too close she might bite!

"Don't make me turn this helicopter around!" Raith screams from the cockpit of the helicopter, "so help me!" The stress in his voice is reaching a breaking point, but Jensen is preoccupied with piloting the helicopter, not dwelling over Gray's death, or what that little blonde girl wants to do with her Saturday. He swings an arm behind his chair, pointing a finger back towards Claire. "Sit down and stop rocking the boat!"

Outside, the slow expansion of the sinkhole continues, chunks of ice crumbling away from the side of the drill site, sending pieces of the scaffolding collapsing down into the arctic slope. From above, Eileen and Claire can finally see the true devastation happening, the hole in Antarctica filled with twisted metal and rubble. Gabriel Gray's grave. In a way, it's almost like Midtown.

Down at the Drill Site

"Er…yes," says Hector, who suddenly looks as if he is unusually aware of his small stature and how easy it would be for someone to pitch him off into the hole like a deleriously queer football. But bit by bit he's stirring out of the absent fog he'd retreated into, gears sputtering back to a steady grind past a hard blink back at Peter and a work of his goatee'd jaw.

"It can, if someone were to climb down quickly enough and didn't mind being irradiated into mutative oblivion." Evidently that someone is not him from the way he's still standing in place and trying to pull himself together into something vaguely useful. He'll take beach front property in the Rockies over a third arm, athankyou. Things seem to click when he follows Francois' attention to the cable, then back again so that he can sigh. Well. Hardly the first person he's passively sent to a terrible death. At least Francois is Eurotrash and probably deserves said miserable fate.

"I will tell you what to do. If you have any capacity at all to follow directions we might manage it."

It's a relief when Magnes steals Claire away, or so Francois is doing awesomely at convincing himself. Teo isn't actually making that any easier, but he'll sooner get annoyed at Peter, pointing out, "I hardly need to survive it for this to work." Thanks for the reminder, though. He listens to Hector, weighing up, also, how long it would take for him to scurry on down the rabbit hole versus convincing Hector he should, before he only nods. Okay. "I have that much," he says. He can feel Teo's fingers clutch and creep up his arm, and his own goes to cover it, sound fingers splayed as he turns to look at the other man.

Then grins, once, in the abrupt way he does when he decides to not let something bother him. "You have to go. If I fail then the helicopter may clear the blast, but you must be on it, Sicily."

The shuddering of the building has Francois gripping that hand a little tighter, though it lines up exactly when he's reeling the scarred man in close enough to kiss, harsh and demanding. It takes less time to do that then make such arguments like how he's lived for long enough and if it doesn't work then who cares, really. It would be nice to linger longer, but he doesn't — uses the time to escape the younger man's grasp and step towards the drill hole.

This should be fun. "«Start now, Steel,»" Francois advises over the radio, gripping gloved hands around the cable, and abruptly disappearing down.

This time, Teo goes white instead of going red, and his wordlessness is attributed to a different sort of shock from the furtive trivialities that usually fuck him up in the head when he's swapping spit with another man where anybody can see it. Francois is permitted his escape, insofar as that Teo didn't mean to let him get away, and irrespective of the pistol clutched in one set, his fingers are opening and closing in the air on either side of him like he is imagining having the Frenchman's neck available for strangulation in the doing.

The ground rocks again. Lull-a-by-ba-by. "Stronzo, Abby tol—" Teo is interrupted in this declaration, but he had started speaking too late anyway. He falls backward into a gargoyle's crouch, catching himself on one awkward crustacean bend of his legs, practically plants his posterior in the lumpy snow anyway. For a moment, it seems like this Eurotrash is going to be the one sorely lacking the capacity to follow instructions, but seismic activity and the gaping absence of alternatives makes Teodoro's decisions for him. He scrambles up to Magnes' impromptu heli-pad, but even then he cranes his head back over his shoulder to snatch insipid glances back at the giant drill site.

It has already swallowed so much mechanized steel and permafrost and stone so easily, and now, it seems, will take into itself the dead and living without differentiating between them.

Peter doesn't need to say anything to Francois, they do not have a history together, the man that died at the bottom of that drill shaft… perhaps. But right now, those lingering impressions of Volken's psyche six months imprinted on him are still fresh. One day, the'll peel away like a bad dream, but right now, right here, they're in the fore of his mind. Their eyes lock for the first time, both shed vessels of powers older than they, both needing to find their own purposes in life again.

Francois' destiny, it seems, is here. A destiny writ in death, for one, and in the sky for the other.

T-Minus 4 Minutes Until Detonation

One silemn nod of understanding is offered to the Frenchman, and Peter carefully waits on the crumbling and trembling ice for Magnes' return. The communication difficulties of talking up out of the hole haven't been realized yet, as Peter makes his way over to where Magnes lands on his return from the skies above in a flurry of snow dust. "Take Steel and— " he squints, looking at Teo with a didn't you shoot me once expression on his face. "him up next."

A hand rests on Magnes' shoulder, squeezing it tightly, only to feel a discharge of warmth and light as energy surges between Peter and Magnes at the contact. Rather immediately Peter's hand jerks away, and he just baloon floats off of his feet a few inches, before realizing what's happening and lands back down on the ground. Puzzled confusion dawns on his face, and he looks up to Magnes with furrowed brows. "How— " Fingers flex open and closed, and suddenly Peter is freezing with his coat unzipper and gloves off and subarctic winds ravaging him. He breathes out a shuddering breath, feeling the ground split benenath his feet. There is a great shuddering of the ice, and hundreds of square feet of ice shelf to the north of where the drill site is drops into the sinkhole at once. A massive wave of frost and snow comes rolling like a fluffy white cloud filled with stinging ice shards thorugh the remnants of the drill site.

"We'll follow you up," Peter insists to Magnes, fingers curling in the gravitokinetic's sleeve. He's tembling now, trying to buton up his coat but it's already too late. The cold hurts now. "L— Let's get— let's go. Cardinal— " a sharp look is fired back over his shoulder to Richard. "Thank you."

T-Minus 3 Minutes and 30 Seconds Until Detonation

"We?" Ethan asks with a sneer, "I'm not so sure I want to get all touchy-feely with you Petrelli." Ethan admits with a flick of his hand in Peter's direction. There's a squint though, thoughtful about Eileen's predicament up above, then a look over towards Gabriel's prone body and his expression sours considerably as he reaches to grab onto the shoulder of Peter's jacket. "Beam me up floppy."

Having descended into the belly of the drill site, the cracking and crunching of ice, Francois can see the bomb on his approach down. It's strange, the radiation doesn't hurt so much as feel oddly warm. Light from an errant flashlight lost at the bottom of the drill site by Kazimir shines up, illuminating the gray hull of the bomb below. When Francois' feet settle down on the square fins at the back of the bomb, he's able to climb down along the outside — not that much different from ice climbig in the Swiss Alps, truly.

Moving down around the side, he can brace his back against the ice, straighten his legs out for support on the front casing where the split looks like a ragged tear in the metal. From here, he can see the disigtal readout of the bomb timer counting down from the 3:30 mark. He has to do this quickly, has to hurry.

Below Francois, Mikhail Wagner's lifeless body lays crushed on jagged pieces of ice some hundred feet belo, barely visible save for the way the flashlight's glow contrasts against it.

A quick, cocky smile that doesn't actually touch Cardinal's eyes answers the thanks from Peter. "Don't thank me until I come collect the favor," he shouts back at him, raising one hand in a wave off, "Get the fuck out've here, Petrelli, I didn't use that up just to have you— "

Rumble, rumble. Oh, that's not good.

It's to the edge of the rig that he stumbles, reaching over to grab hold of one of the supports holding the rig up, looking down at the bomb with a scowl before turning to call back in Hector's direction, "Is this actually going to work, Steel?"

It doesn't take Magnes long to realize what's happening. Somehow he has his original ability back; it's just like when Shard touched him, sort of. But in case he can't intuitively use his ability, Magnes quickly says, "Believe you can do what I can do, believe it without a doubt, and then do it. It's not as easy as it sounds, but just in case, that is how my ability works."

"Teo, Steel." Magnes holds a hand out, and suddenly that invisible force is wrapping around Teo's waist, then he reaches out, yanking Steel in his direction with that same force, without really waiting for him to give Cardinal an answer. "Save the freakin' world, Francois! I'll kitbash a figure in your honor!" is all he can really promise, then whoosh, up into the air and to the chopper they go.

Brows lifted while he looks on to what is very undeniably a big gay kiss, Hector is effectively derailed all the way until the ground shakes again and he rather inelegently — falls right over. Some scrambling and shaking off of himself later, he's scuffing after Teo at double speed. Time to go tiiime to gooooo and the Frenchman's in his ear okaaay~!

« In theory disabling the timer will grant us more time to disarm the weapon itself, so we'll start there. Directly under the digital readout is a flat compartment approximately twenty centimeters wide marked, 'Do not open.' Open it. There are — Fick dich, Casper — three switches to the left over a green LED. Toggle the middle switch, then tell me what — » There is an instant wherein Magnes grabs him when he isn't quite ready and he sets to wrestling a little automatically, to no avail. He is flying and his end of the radio is conspicuously quiet.

Up at the Helicopter

Veronica never looked at her watch when the countdown was announced, being distracted by bleeding self and bleeding friends and swerving helicopter. "Shit, how much time is left," she says, peering down, her dark eyes wide. She glances back with a concerned glance, first for Claire, then Gillian, but when Raith starts shouting like a cranky father on a road trip, she laughs, perhaps a little maniacally. Yes, more than the ice is cracking here in Antarctica.

The dark eyes are barely open. Gillian's bleeding from the abdomen, pressing a gloved hand against a scarf that's catching most the blood. Her skin's pale, but in this cold that probably isn't unexpected. Eyes blink as she tries to make out the shadow of the woman speaking. Her vision isn't good, yet. But the words reach her, the voice. She knows who is speaking, even if they haven't talked much in a while.

Gray's dead.

Eyes slide shut, no longer trying to squint, and she settles back. There would be tears, if they weren't already falling due to physical pain. Falling and freezing, as the case may be. Petrelli. Not Kazimir. Grasping onto that, she pushes a bare hand against the floor of the helicopter, visibly injured from exposure and some kind of frostbit rope-burn. It makes her groan again, let out a drawn out, "Fucking fuck— fuck…" She could go on forever, but she gets herself mostly sat up, finally. Painfully. If only she could see more better than silluettes.

News of Gabriel Gray's demise doesn't draw a reaction from Cat, she continues observing outward in expectation of more people arriving. What does draw comment is Claire's statement; her words are spoken dryly. "Need you for what, Claire?" A brief glance goes in that direction, she isn't concerned over the diminutive blonde biting like the animal she now resembles. More likely, in Cat's mind, she'd shotgun people in the face. She's seen it happen.

And she moves on, mentally, to another topic which sparks a second query. "Please tell me Danko's skull got bulletpierced when he turned on all of you."

Eileen moves to Gillian, closing the distance between them with one gloved hand braced against the side of the helicopter for support. She doesn't want to think about Gabriel right now, but it's difficult not to in this company — they both loved him, and there's a small measure of comfort in the knowledge that Gillian is probably experiencing an emotional tumult similar to the one that wracks her voice with tremors. Her hands, at least, are steady as she takes to knee beside her and places them on Gillian's, silently urging her to remove them from the soaked scarf so she can see.

"He's still down there," she says of Danko. "Tried to help us put Wagner down— Three minutes. Maybe four. Who else is hurt besides Childs?"

Huruma drags Claire with her, though her eyes are drawn momentarily outside, to the sinkhole that is the station. Wow- even she is able to think such a thing once in a while- because really, there are some moments just purely deserving of it. Other than general hell crashing down around them, the glimpse is humbling in itself.

Arms locked around Claire, Huruma peers down over her towards Cat, eyes momentarily narrowing. "I tried t'help Mei as best I could." Huruma turns her eyes towards Eileen, then to the tiny Chinese woman nearby, where one of the researchers is still trying to clean up the mess on what is barely recognizable as Mei's face.

All Raith gets for his efforts is a glare for blue eyes, as Claire glances his way. "The bomb casing was cracked." Her voice growls out, as she just hangs there in Huruma's arms. " Anyone that goes down to disarm it manually.. it's a death sentence. Francois I'm pretty sure can't survive that much radiation." Her eye flick towards a window and then her head turns as she sees the damage, her features falling.

Moving to try and shrug off the tall dark woman, Claire murmurs under her breath, "I'm fine now.. you can let me go."

A dark shape is rocketing up from the ground again, this time tethered with more people than before. Magnes comes barreling up towards the helicopter, just as the ice shelf at the drill site cracks practically in half. A billowing cloud of frost and cold dust comes rising up in fluffy precipitation, and Raith is cursing under his breath at the timing. When Magnes comes through the door, he is carrying both Hector Steel and Teodoro Laudani in his arms. His arrival is a bit ragged, and perhaps it is because of the cold wracking Varlane's body from his arctic flight expeditions that that his landing is wobbly.

Behind Magnes, flying up behind him is an unexpected sight. Arms wrapped around himself and head down to tuck into the fur of his jacket, Peter Petrelli is flying. On his back like some sort of extremely irritable and violent koala is Ethan Holden. They come careening in with as much grace as Nathans' landings ever have, tumbling through the door of the helicopter to crash against the far wall. Ethan disengages first, making something of a graceful landing as he bounces and rolls across the floor. Peter simply impacts the far wall full-force with his face.

Peter exhales a breath, trembling from head to toe, breathing in short, shallow breaths. His clothing is covered in frozen blood and ice flakes, his hair is stiff and crisp looking, he looks for all his worth like he nearly just froze to death. Only two people are missing now, Cardinal and Francois.

Magnes releases Teo and Hector once he lands, the cold finally hitting him when his adrenaline starts to die down, not to mention how much he's excessively used his ability today; His ammo clip is still full. Moderation needs to be learned. "See, Claire? Everything's gonna be fine…"

Of course he hasn't gotten a good look at what's happening in the chopper, coughing and walking back to the edge of the ramp. "I have to go back for Cardinal, he can't fly in shadow form…"

"Noriko's pretty bad," Veronica tells Eileen, leaving her own injuries out of the mix. Gillian and Noriko and Shen are much worse. She'll live.

When Magnes comes flying in, Veronica reaches to lock hands around the forearms of the men, tugging them in, brows furrowing. "Everyone else?" she asks. "Hurry!" But then she has to step aside to avoid being run over by Kazimir. "Holy shit…" she can tell already he's not the same man she's met. She turns with wide eyes to stare. "What… you're… how…" Great, when they could have actually used his power. "If you can still heal, people could use your help," she finally manages a completely sentence.

Arrivals are tracked and assisted with, until Cat too must get out of the way of flying Petrelli. It causes an eyebrow to lift. No scar, going airborne… Interesting. But now is not the time to dwell on it.

Soon her attention is back to watching the sinkhole spread, and thoughts turn to Conrad Wozniak. She isn't thinking of the Midtown crater, but of Consolidated Edison and how the virus was contained there. "Maybe you could disarm the bomb under guidance, Claire," Cat somberly states, "and the radiation wouldn't kill you, but you'd still never have emerged from the site. It's all going down. That place is a tomb."

Teo lands crooked, if not quite wrong. Jarrs his left knee, slides on the powdered icicles rimming his right foot. He is breathing hard, like air is going down the wrong pipe and he's forgotten you're only supposed to eat food. Somebody grabs him by the ruff of his parka and another snares his arm, starts to drag him over the cables that keep everybody strapped into the chopper's hull proper. They bounce around more strung together than securely sardined, but Teodoro is in no danger of falling out down the way he'd come.

They are supposed to leave, now, and he understands this very clearly, but it seems the normally verbose Sicilian's done with digital communications and either somebody else is going to have to give the command or Jensen Raith will have to know well enough to infer from the highwire conversation across the comms. Teo blinks stupidly in the half-light of the helicopter and closes his fingers on his ear comm, pulls it off his head in a ginger wrench of motion. Sickened.

People like Gillian, who's moved her injured hand up to lay on top of Eileen's. Climbing to safety on frozen cords with one hand without any gloves can cause some damage. It could have been a lot worse. The fingers aren't changing colors, but the skin is puffy and red, with worse damage on the palm. Gray's dead. He's died so many times before— or seemed to— she's tempted to question it, to deny it, but the denial will have to wait. Her vision's finally starting to clear some, even if it's dark along the edges, foggy. It's enough to causes something she'd begun to accept to fly right out the window. Or right into the helicopter.

"Pe— Peter…" she coughs painfully, voice a different kind of husky.

Peter Petrelli is dead. He's gone and there's no bringing him back. The words still fog around in her memory, distinct while not remembered perfectly. They carried a lot of weight. They caused her to consider erasing him from her memory…

For a moment she wonders if she's delirious from pain. Cause it's not right…

The helicopter isn't exactly stationary, though, so she suddenly has to wince in pain and close her eyes again. She'd be one of those ones in need of healing, it would seem. Along with Noriko. They accidentally the whole station.

Huruma lets go of Claire when she mutters up at her, palm lingering a moment on the girl's shoulders. More people come flying in, and so Huruma moves to make sure they are getting inside the helicopter the entire way, making sure footing is secure. She does not try to stop Magnes, but she knows that he may not have much left in him. As for Hector, he gets a dire glare. "There is interference- he probably did not hear one word of that." Not to be a bitch about it- but- She sighs, stepping back to latch onto something to stop her own jostling around.

"If we're fucked I'm haunting all of your loved ones."

Back at the Drill Site

It's harder than it should be. His left hand is a point of pure pain, fingers curled from where he'd gripped them around the cable as if they'll never uncurl again, and Francois has to afford himself at least two seconds to get the fuck over it before he's climbing. There's an echoing yelp that possibly transmits over radio when he slips, once, left hand failing and right hand picking up the slack when it flies up to grip onto the edge of metal casing. Another moment to get situated, gaining leverage with his back to the ice and legs to the nuclear weapon, which is more than just a rock and a hard place.

At least it's warm down here. His own laughter at this ludicrous predicament echoes up the drill hole, but no, he's totally listening, and getting out a knife which should, in theory help.

«I do not see a— ah, oui.» The compartment is levered open, scuffing down further to see it properly, the green light illumination the immediate space. Uncertain, and realising that he can't reset a VCR or work out Windows, how is he supposed to disarm a nuke, Francois flips the middle switch, and the green suddenly switches to red. «I did, it's glowing red now. Tell you what what? Ahh!»

The 'ahh!' would be due to the tremor that has Francois dropping his knife and clinging to overheated metal, wincing. «Merde merde merde! Now what?»

Hector's voice crackles over the SatCom weakly, the transmission so terribly distorted by the bomb's interference and drill depth. «The— is an— ther -ompartmen — next t — the -oggles. Pry — open. A big — fuck — (panting) — a big fuckin' mess've wir— fall out. Cut all the ones that look b— k but -on't fuckin' to-ch any r— ones. There -hould be fo— or -ive it doesn't matter.»

T-Minus One Minute Until Detonation

First the knife, then everything else.

Cardinal can feel the ice quake under his feet. Everything begins breaking apart, and the drill site no longer can contain the pressure from everything crumbling around it; it's a miracle that it lasted this long. Cracks lance thorugh the ice, the ground quakes, and a violent upheaval causes stress ffractures to appear in the smooth-bored ice shaft that Francois is hanging in. The bomb rattles loudly, clanging against the ice wall, and Cardinal can see from his vantage point, the tunnel beginning to split around the sides.

50 Seconds Until Detonation

Then, everything just gives way. The ground breaks apart, ice collapsing down on top of ice, the tunnel shatters at the middle sending razor-shape pieces of ice collapsing down on Francois, a piece ripping thorugh his back and then down the side of his face. The scaffolding supporting the bomb bends and flexes, groaning steel straining as everything tilts at a forfy five degree angle and begins sliding down the ice slope.

40 Seconds Until Detonation

Cardinal is thrown from his feet, tumbling down the now slick and tilted ice surface until he collides with the metal support bars of the scaffold. His back strikes the metal, ribs snap, and he bounces, wrist caught in the cross-joices, and all of his weight goes flinging over the side, soon suspended by his forearm with a snap.

30 Seconds Until Detonation

The ice crashes down, and inside of the drill hole Francois is flung from the bomb, crashing down the shattering tunnel before colliding atop Wagner's broken body at the bottom. The breath is knocked right out of him, and the sound of the bomb's countdown is shrill in his ears. Only able to free himself from the trap his wrist is in by transsubstantiating himself into shadow, does Cardinal find himself unimpeded now by ice and snow and everything falling apart.

20 Seconds Until Detonation

Pinned by ice and fallen debris from the scaffolding, Francois is trapped with the bomb just out of arm's reach, that glowing red light flashing on the countdown panel, and the voice of the countdown timer sharp in his ears. He can feel Wagner's cold, dead body beneath himself, feel the ice and deathly cold causing his back to prick with pins and needles. He wasn't afraid to die, but he was not prepared to fail.

10 Seconds Until Detonation.

At the Helicopter

There is relief from Claire as she sees Peter crash into the helicopter, she'll struggle against Huruma's grip till the woman lets her go. Only then does she move to help her uncle. What Cat says, gets a flat look from Claire. "And?" A brow arches, obviously it doesn't seem to bother her much, but then she had not long ago, put a pistol to her own head.

Turning back to her uncle she works to help get him sitting, Claire gives him a tight lipped smile. Glancing at Magnes' back as he stands at the door of the helicopter, she looks worried again. "Cardinal didn't come with you guys?"

Eileen focuses on reapplying pressure to Gillian's wound even as she assesses her abdomen, glove flicked off and one hand roving across her belly beneath her clothes, feeling for signs that the damage may be more serious than it appears. The other injects a local anesthetic close to the injury's site, cheap plastic syringe pinched between two knuckles, thumb bearing down on the plunger until empty, at which point she slivers the needle back out and sets it aside.

She doesn't look at Ethan, doesn't look at Teo or even Raith's profile — what little is visible of it from the cockpit. She'll get to Noriko and the Chinese woman she doesn't recognize once she's finished stabilizing the augmentor. "Peter," her voice is quiet but hoarse, demanding. In case he didn't hear Gillian the first time over the roaring wind or the thrum of the helicopter's rotors. "Come here."

At the Drill Site


Cardinal's voice echoes all the way down the shaft as that shelf of ice splinters into jagged spears, darkening the sky above Francois like a rain of arrows… but it's a cry of warning that has no use, the other man's blood freezing instantly as it spatters over the bomb's metal surface and across the scaffolding.

He's got little enough time to worry about the Frenchman that he barely knows, though, because that same upheaval sends him sliding downwards as well, boots sending up shaved bits of ice and snow but failing to halt his sudden journey until he slams into the scaffolding.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck— AHGH!" He feels it as his ribs snap, his fingers grasping for something to hold onto - only to have his wrist caught instead, and he feels his forearm's bones splinter. Under the heavy winter coat and armour, he feels blood trickling along bare skin where they must've pierced the skin.

5 Seconds Until Detonation

The shadowman's teeth grit as he focuses past the pain, flesh bleeding away into shadow; a rippling darkness that twists along the scaffolding, up along the chain and spills down it like a faucet's release of pure darkness down to the bomb in the blink of an eye before he peels away from it. Flesh once more, panting with pain, his broken arm wrapped about the chain to keep him steady as it sways and groans unsteadily upon the tether, the braided metal cable already screaming as if about to snap, his good hand splayed out against the bomb's metal surface.

The door to the office locked, Sarisa Kershner's gloved hands slipped behind her back as she turned back to Cardinal, her voice hushed and manner serious. "If Steel fails," she said, "I'd like to discuss something with you."

"A failsafe."


A breath's drawn in carefully, and his voice hisses over the comm, «This is Redbird. Implementing Failsafe.»


As so many times before, the dim light begins to fade away from him as if the world was turning from colour to greyscale, details fading as he and his belongings melt away…


…and that same darkness spreads across the surface of Munin like a cancer, both of them fading like Hiroshima shadows in the depths of the drill hole, even as the nuclear reaction begins to warm up within the device.


Watch the sun, as it crawls across a final time

From the helicopter, the billowing cluds of frost that rise up from collapsing ice look like the tops of fluffy cumulus clouds as viewed from heaven. Sunlight, dappled orange-gold and brilliant in color reflects off of the top of the rolling waves of frost. Even inside the helicopter, the sounds of breaking ice are amazingly clear. The crack-snap shattering of the ice shelf collapsing in on itself from one exploitation of vulnerability. Here, though, it's all so distantly beautiful.

and it feels like, like it was a friend.

From up here, the first signs that comething is terribly wrong is when Magnes is hanging off of the helicopter doors, helping Peter inside. The former host for Kazimir Volken is covered in frozen blood, and his body is ice cold to the touch, but he's alive, and notably devoid of both blue eyes and the scar across his face. He sits up from the floor, breathing into his bare fingers, shoulders trembling as he looks around the helicopter. Noriko is silent and motionless, laying on her side with her eyes open, looking for all her worth like a corpse.

it is watching us, and the world we set on fire

It's only Eileen's urging that makes Peter calm down enough to notice that Gillian is cradling her stomach, bleeding profusely. "Oh God…" Peter breathes out the words, shedding his jacket so he can move. Years of medical school finally pay off. "I don't know if we— " The sound of the splitting ice has Peter getting up shakily to his feet, looking out the open bay door down to where the drill site has collapsed in on itself. "Oh God no."

do you wonder…

«This is Redbird. Initiating Failsafe.» Richard Cardinal's last words.

…if it feels the same?

There is no sound to accompany what comes next, just a sight unlike any other in the world before or since. From the sink hole where once Amundsen-Scott did lay, rays of photo-negative light begin shining up through the ice, beams of matte black absense of illumination claw like dark fingers up from below the ground. There is a tremendous sensation of vibration in the air, and Peter's breath hitches in the back of his throat as he grips the door casing where he stands beside Cat, staring out as a sudden eruption of shadow explodes up from the ice like a breath of smoke from the bowels of the earth.

and the sky is filled with light

Raith's scream is drowned out by the noise of the avionics going haywire, a suddenly tilt of the helicopter as he tries to pull away from the growing mushroom cloud of billowing darkness, shadow and smoke that seems to be rising like an atomic blast up from the core of the ice. A moment later, there is a strange whispering scream like a strong breeze blowing thorugh a narrow crack in stone, and a rapidly expanding sphere of darkness grows to consume all light, bathing five miles of Antarctica in so much darkness.

can you see it?

The screams of everyone aboard the chinook overcome the feelings of vertigo as the helicopter spins out of control. There is no blastwave, no concussion of any kind, just immediate and permanent sensory deprivation that swallows the sun like a hungry fish. There is a shrieking wail from the consoles of the chopper, warning thatt he helicopter is not alighted properly. Raith jams on the controls, trying to feel his way out of the tailspin. In the doorway of the helicopter, Peter braces himself in the entryway, trying to will the gravity to not drag the helicopter down into a catastrophic crash.

all the black is really white, if you believe it

The darkness begins to fade, like a gradual coming of dawn's early light, filtering through tattered shreds of ephemeral shadow torn to so much black confetti. Still rising up from the crater of Amundsen_Scott, a pillar of shadow ten miles high blossoms into a mushroom cloud of monochromatic illumination, a pure explosion of nothing tangible, merely shadow and darkness brought into that transsubstantiation by what could only possibly be one man.

as your time is running out

The helicopter stabilizes, and looking out thorugh the open doorway, the moon that had hung so heavy in the sky on their arrival has been swallowed by by the ball of shadow at the top of the mushroom cloud. Pieces of darkness like scraps of cloth rain down like snow, and somehow the bitter cold in the air feels worse now, feels colder. There is no devastation, no nuclear fire, no atomic devastation leading to a future where the world is flooded and in ruin.

let me take away your doubt

All that is left is a field of white and black, the faint pinpoints of stars glittering in what can be seen of a twilight sky, and the dark, orange orb of the sun shining brought behind a towering mass of shadows that scrapes the bottom of heaven and demands attention, demands notice; we did not die here today. It is that dissipating column of unending darkness, and the stunning silence falling over the crew of the helicopter, that affirms that all prophecy be cleared, and all debts paid.

you can find a better a place…

The helicopter blades spin noisily, but somehow it doesn't seem so loud. The arctic wind blows in thorugh theopen door, the mushroom cloud continues to rise up into the sky, as a carpet of darkness creeps like spilled ink across Antarctica, slowly dissipating over the progress of time. For now, they have all the time and radio silence in the world to contemplate what they just bore witness to.

…in this twilight

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