claire_icon.gif faron_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif ling_icon.gif melissa4_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Scene Title Ambush
Synopsis Messiah liberates a familiar face from Institute captivity.
Date July 25, 2010

Reclaimed Zone

The lonely stretch of road between the government checkpoint at the edge of Staten Island's Reclaimed Zone and the hospital closer to its interior looks like a warzone, and depending on who you ask — it is. The previous winter's storms have damaged many of the buildings beyond repair, caving in roofs and knocking out walls, making it impossible to differentiate between recently destroyed structures and those that began to crumble and decay within months of their abandonment.

It's a clear if humid night with only a thin layer of clouds so sheer that it resembles gauze and illuminates the empty streets below with sallow white light but does not touch the shadows beneath the wrought-iron bridge that five shrouded figures are waiting under.

According to Melissa's cellphone, the time is 8:34 PM, exactly four minutes after Rebel told them to expect their quarry, but prisoner transport isn't a precise science. The Institute is late, and while this might be cause for concern, it also gives Messiah an additional opportunity to review their strategy. The rumbling of wheels overhead could come at any time.

Another assignment, so quickly on the heels of the last one. It's a busy week for the Little Green House's Messiah members. Mel is dressed in black cargo pants and and a long sleeved tee-shirt, along with a black cap to cover her blonde hair. She's as hidden as she can possibly be without help. And armed. Introductions were made to those who didn't know each other, then she settled in for business.

There's a brief light to illuminate Melissa's face as she checks the time, then looks upward as she slips the phone back into one of the many pockets on her pants. She draws in a deep breath, then looks around to the faces of those around her, her brow lightly furrowed. "Gabriel? I don't suppose you have some sort of ability that will stop the truck, do you? Not so worried about getting into it," and here she gives a pointed look to Ling the Smoke Queen, "but we want it stopped here. If worse comes to worse I can hurt the driver, but I'd like a plan that has a better chance of success than that one. Not everyone reacts the same way to pain," she says, giving Gabriel a wry smile.

She looks to Faron and Claire. "Can you two handle the guards? If Gabriel's focusing on stopping the truck, and Ling getting inside to open it up to us and help the prisoner, then we're going to need people covering them and making sure we don't end up prisoners as well."

Despite his great amount of hesitance, Faron came along with Melissa and Ling. Why he did, he isn't quite sure, even now, ducked below the concrete bridge. He eyes his dimly lit phone. 8:34…It's late. It's apparent Ron is very anxious right now, shifting slightly in his position as he holds his rather unique shotgun. Made with spare materials from repairing the load of guns from the shipwreck, he fashioned himself a semi-automatic shotgun, which could hold 3 shells in its chamber, firing one at a time and loosing the empty cartridge after firing. The barrel, as well, looked much shorter than the ones he had repaired.

Melissa's question seems to rouse him from his anxious trance. He nods solemnly, an affirmative gesture. "Let's just hope it doesn't have to come to that." Once more he shifts in his position, the barrel of his scattergun shaking in his hands. A reasonable response: even with all these killers, Faron had yet to take a life. Let's hope tonight is not the night he does for the first time.

"Hmph," Ling responds, leaning back a big from the rest. Dressed in the same skin tight suit she had been the other day, she looks more like somebody in a bad action movie than anything else. "Straight into the back of this truck?" Ling intones, arms crossed across her midsection. "Or do I need t' do something to handle the driver as well?" Metal on the handle of a knife slipped into a a sheath strapped to her arm glints in the watch light. "I would prefer the former, if possible."

Her new… well… newly acquired toy, an AK-47 pistol, is griped in tightly both hands. Another tucked under her black leather jacket, by a strap at her back. Her clothing isn't as dark at the others, when on missions like this she dons the camo pants, black shirt and combat boots. Stuff she was most comfortable with in Madagascar. Her brunette hair is pulled back in a sever ponytail as always.

Her blue eyes partially hooded under her lids, move to Melissa and she gives her a slow nod of her head. "Happy too." The words sound almost growled out, as she keeps her voice low. Then she slowly looks up, head tilting ever so slightly to listens above them. Faron's statement gets an amused looks from the regenerator. "Of course, it will come to that. Think they will give it up willingly?" Chances are the little regenerator bunny will come out guns blazing as soon as

On the railing of the bridge, a hawkish shape has landed, a bird, and it preens its wings.

Gabriel stands with his focus slightly detached from the rest of the group — a familiar sight not only to some of Messiah, but to those who haven't had the ~honour~ yet. Colloquially known as Midtown Man, Gabriel has made no effort to quell this particular stigma, nor really friendly up with his other comrades save for a glimmer of a look towards the eyes of those he recognises. Melissa, for one, and Claire, for another. For her, there'd been a raised eyebrow, as if daring her to say anything at all. He'll have to catch up later.

He just has a lot on his plate. Hands linked neatly together, dressed in black save for the splash of red that makes up scarf rag tied just above his elbow, Gabriel appears to be content in waiting. Or tense.

Twitches his attention back as their assigned leader outlines roles, and he contemplatively drags his attention up towards the shadowing bridge. His attire is simple, but to those who will notice, there's the shape of at least two pistols beneath his jacket, strapped at the waist to snug up against his spine within relatively easy reach. It never hurts, to have a little more firepower than strictly necessary. "I can stop the truck," he confirms, and without a word, he gets into position.

He does this by seemingly evaporating into black ink, its movement as if it were injected through water, before it skims away from the group and climbs up to the bridge, foregoing staircase to simply scale concrete. He's solid again before he can hit lights, and after a beat of a pause, invisibility ripples over solid form. The hawk still perched beneath the glowing lights of the bridge tilts its head, and through its eyes, Gabriel blindly guides himself to stand in the centre of the road, slowly orienting himself while remaining unseen.

And then waits.

Everyone gets a nod from Melissa. "Good. Okay, Ling? As soon as we hear the truck, shift to smoke and head up there and stay out of sight. Once Gabriel gets the truck stopped, you get your ass in there. Your job is to get the prisoner and get them out of the line of fire. That's your priority." She looks to Faron. "If you can't kill, still don't hesitate. Put them out of the fight, one way or another. Because I promise you, they're going to be thinking it's us or them, and they're going to choose them. You can't do that, tell me now."

There's another look upward and a soft sigh. "Claire? You focus on the guards in the back. Help Ling get the prisoner out. And remember, we want this quick. This place is lousy with the government, and I'm going to be pissed if I have to try to explain to Peter how I got some of his people locked up by the fucking Institute or back in a Moab type place. Now. Get in position, ready for the signal. Which is, of course, Gabriel stopping that truck."

Faron nods in another acknowledgement. "If no kills, disable. Got it." It's clear he's only saying it for self-reassurement. He looks over at Claire, her animosity clear to him. If I don't kill them, she will. She can take it out of my hands. That's all I need, someone else to take the responisbility of killing. He looks down at his shotgun, still quivering in his grip. Legs. Go for the legs. Claire can finish them off. Go for the legs.

"Mm." Ling offers little in the way of verbal response, smoke beginning to trail from her hair and shoulders as she begins to pace a bit. She's ready to go at a moment's notice, stopping close enough to the rail to be able to hear better, but attempting to remain out of sight. All she could do was wait, and listen.

A small smile touches the young woman's lips, though it never reaches her eyes, when he eyes meet Gabriels for a moment. She follows his progress when he goes shadow and slinks away, it makes the smile slide away. "Yes, Ma'am," she murmurs to Melissa, before ducking past some of the others. Claire moves to the edge of the bridge, foot propped on the embankment, but she still stays out of sight, shrouded in shadow.

Eyes slide shut for a moment as she works to put her mind into a state where she can shoot and not really care. A hard learned skill. Still she listens for the first rumbling signs of the vehicle.

A pair of headlights cut across the bridge, and a moment later the van itself comes into view, all blocky angles, steel plating and tinted glass. It is, as Rebel promised, alone, but the windshield's unique design disguises its interior from view — Gabriel can only guess how many handlers are inside apart from the driver.

The vibrations rattling through the bridge's support structures are the only indication to those below that it's crossed the threshold and is rapidly converging on Gabriel's location, unaware of the unseen obstacle standing in its path.

The hawk is already lifting up off the railing, disappearing rapidly into the night, by the time the truck is winging around to steer across the bridge, the path clear and easily lit by the spotlight streetlamps that guide the way. Nothing makes a shadow or even a flaw in the view across the bridge— until something abruptly does. The support structure of the bridge vibrates around the hidden group when the heavy, armored vehicle rumbles down it, swiftly coming up on where Gabriel is standing, unseen, on the centre of the lined road.

He's abruptly visible with a mutual reveal of his own vision coming back to him as the same time the drivers have to react to the blackly clad figure suddenly standing calm in the middle of the road. The driver's eyes will go wide and his hands will jerk the steering wheel in human instinct, but Gabriel is reacting too.

From below, Messiah will hear a BOOM, like an amplified gunshot, when the concussive blast tears through the air with force enough to ripple it. The blow catches the truck at such an angle, headlights shattering, that the vehicle abruptly swerves under impact and momentum both, the screech of stressing mechanics almost as loud as the blast. It draws crayon mark tire burns on the ground as it goes winging around, back end smash into a pillar and there's a precarious, rocking movement that almost has the van tipping over the edge.

Never does, settling back on four wheels with a groan. Gabriel is no where to be seen. But they don't need to be told twice that this would be their cue.

The first rumble has Melissa stilling, tensing slightly in readiness, her head cocked. And that boom has her starting to move. "Okay, go, go, go!" She's already heading in that direction, a pistol out and ready, a round in the chamber. She doesn't yet use her ability, not knowing how many are in there, and not wanting to subject the prisoner to her particular brand of deterrent. But for now, she's studying the truck, trying to judge how many guards there are, and giving Ling a chance to slip inside.

So fast! Everything seemed to happen within an instant. The tumbling, the boom, and now, they were moving. His feet move on their own, scrambling up the embankment, scrambling to the road, scrambling to the truck. He raises his shotgun up, an obviously menacing manuever, his hand slightly squeezing the trigger as he stood on the opposite side of the truck than Claire, hoping to make a pincer formation. Funny, he thought of a pincer formation before the thought of HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING rang in his head.

When she sees the headlights, smoke's already drifting away in the air, filtering from the bridge and towards the truck, dancing on the wind as the swirly mass of black smoke thins and spreads, movement to fast to be considered wafting, but too slow to be obvious. It slides across the warm street, and spindles up the spokes of the truck, searching for a small crack to slip through as her smoky tendrils slide up around the back of the truck - and find little to work with.

If Ling could grimace, she would. Instead, all she can do is sent words out on the air, wispy and ethereal. "I need a crack."

As soon as she hears the boom, Claire is moving to climb the embankment to the road above, scrambling. One hand holding the pistol grip of the gun, the other gripped firmly around the worn wooden hand guard, just behind the barrel. As soon as her boots crunch on the asphalt of the road, the rifle turned pistol is raised and pointed directly at the back doors of the van.

The regenerator even remembered her body armor, it makes her upper body movements stiffer then normal, but in the long run it will be useful when Claire Bennet becomes a living shield.

Emotionless eyes glance over to Faron only briefly, to make sure he's staying out of the way, where he seems panicked, Claire is calm and ready to take on what is in the van. Her finger is on the trigger ready to drop short bursts of rapid gun fire.

A piece of the van's taillight tinkles to the pavement, but apart from this and a series of muffled thumps that emanate from inside the vehicle, it shows no movement whatsoever unless Messiah counts the vague shadows passing across the windshield and side windows, distorted and amorphous, suggesting that something may be happening behind the glass.

A dent in the back doors where it slammed into the pillar may make opening them from the inside difficult, though certainly not impossible. By the time Claire is coming up on them, they're shuddering against the force of someone attempting to do just that.

"Well shit," Melissa mutters at Ling's comment. "Shift back, prepare to fire. Cover the front," she says before nodding to Faron to help. She begins moving towards the back doors. She looks to Claire. "Gonna open the doors. Don't shoot the prisoner, but make sure no one else shoots us," she says, holstering her gun. She waits a moment for Claire to give some sign of agreement, before starting to try opening the doors. If they give, she moves back with them, using them to shield her body for the moment.

Faron nervously twitches at the sounds of something going on inside the vehicle. Slowly he moves alongside Claire, moving to shoot inside the trunk. However, given the amount of collateral damage his gun could do, he positions behind the immortal Claire, letting her do most of the damage. He nods to Melissa, letting her do her thing. He shifts nervously in his body armor, almost identical, although somewhat bigger, to Claire's but far more necessary to protect his squishy bits.

"Watch out for the negation gas." It's the one thing the former cheerleader fears the most from the Institute, Claire watches them slam against the door, but she doesn't move to stop them. When Melissa mentions opening the van doors, she lets the pistol drop on his strap to hang at her side and reaches behind her to pull out a hand gun, since her pistols are not good for single target firing with so many close by.

When Faron stands behind her, there is no protest from the short woman. Inching forward, the gun cradled in both hands, Claire flicks a glance Melissa's way before giving her a sharp, short nod.

Ling's smoky form continues to wrap and spindle around the truck, looking for an opening of some sort, finding herself surprisingly unable to find anything useable. "There's little to work with," she whispers again, her form drifting back to the back of the truck. "What shall I do?"

The combined effort of Melissa pulling on the doors from the outside and the Institute handlers pushing on them from the inside causes the latch to buckle under the pressure, but when they finally thunder open, men in suits and masks aren't what comes spilling out. Thick yellow smoke floods from the back of the truck and swallows the three Messiah operatives at the rear of the vehicle whole.

Watch out for negation gas, Claire had said. None of them could have anticipated that the handlers would pull the pin before the doors were open. Choking fumes fill their noses and mouths, form burning tears in their eyes and leave an oily residue on their exposed skin with the texture of grease.

A hail of gunfire comes next, but the chemicals permeating the air around the truck is something of a double-edged sword for those who try to wield it. While it's stripped Faron, Melissa and Claire of their abilities, it's also too viscous for the handlers to see through. Bullets ricochet and spark off the bridge's steel support structures but do not impact flesh.

Too little too late, does Gabriel appear again, a smear of movement at their periphery when he edits himself back into reality, his own timefuckery halted when he slides back into vision — even if he's remaining a fair distance from the billowing, yellow smoke that comes pouring out of the truck. Extending a hand, the air immediately around him resembles a damp bathroom or when the rain comes down in smoke-light drifts, until that foggy water in the air tornodoes together and goes whispering towards yellow vapour.

Abruptly, the negation gas is pushed away, pluming off in the opposite direction of where Gabriel stands across the bridge to slip and pour off the edge of the bridge, as if suddenly heavier.

Which does nothing for those already affected but h-hey, at least he won't get any on him. In his other hand would be a pistol, which is switched out for his extended right hand to point in preparation for movement that isn't one of his comrades.

Melissa knows this gas, and has great hate for it. Especially since she starts coughing at the first breath taken. "Shoot the guys in white! The masks!" She manages to gasp out, before pulling her pistol out again and shifting around so she can see anyone who comes out of the truck. She's not going to risk shooting the person they came to save just because she got impatient!

Faron feels the wave of gas envelop him, causing his eyes to sting. More than that, though, he feels…off. Things don't seem as clear to him as before. His gun doesn't feel right in his hands, it feels like a thing of death and distress. So this is what it's like to be human. He had heard about negation gases, and now that he was experiencing it…well, he didn't fancy it at all. Looks like they were on their own.

Through the haze, Faron backs off, hoping to get a good look at the truck. He brings his shotgun up to eye level. Now was not a time to worry about disabling. This wasn't some game that he could play, where disabling the target did not make them any less deadly. There were no winners: the one who shot first, lives. He didn't know of Claire's ability, but he was sure shooting her would equal bad, keeping her out of the ironsight of his cone-spraying weapon.

That damn yellow gas. Even in her similar for, Ling could feel a cringe settle over her as she remembers how that had gone last time. It's lucky that by the time her smoke form filters back down to the ground and swirls around feet that it has been pulled away, giving her perfect opening to slip inside, smoky form hugging dark corners until it filters it's way to the back of front of the back of the truck.

When the smoke hits her, Claire back petals backwards. "Shit shit! No nono!" There is a touch of panic to her tone, from the first shock of what happened. Already she can feel the difference and the pain that comes with it as the malaria in her blood no longer finds a fight with her ability. She doesn't have much time before the pain and nausea becomes too much for her.

As Claire moves a few more steps backwards, allowing for Gabriel to do this thing, and her mind finally gets a grip and she keeps her gun steady on the thick yellow smoke, waiting for the first sign of movement or flash of white suit, so she can fire on it. Each movement gets a squeeze of the trigger. She may be powerless, very very squishy, and about to get sick, but she can still fire a gun.

At the front of the vehicle, the passenger's side door pops open and a tall figure clad in body armor and a visor that obscures his face climbs out, an assault rifle slung across his shoulder. This should be the part where he's bringing up and leveling it with what he can see of Gabriel's broad frame. He thumps a gloved hand against the hood of the van instead in a signal to the driver, then holds it aloft in front of him.

Particles of ash, soot and debris, dirt and sugar granule-fine rock are swirling up off the pavement to fill the space between himself and the man in black, erecting a barrier between them and covering Gabriel's allies from view.

As the negation gas clears, swept off the bridge, the three handlers in the back of the van become visible, one of them unconscious and slumped across a coffin, visor cracked where his head slammed into it in the initial impact. With the air cleaned out, they can see Messiah as clearly as Messiah can see them. A second round of gunfire, this time with shots exchanged on both sides, tears through the truck, rewarding the red scarves with a wet spatter of dark fluid that splashes fragments of skull and brain matter against the windows, but the handler who slumps forward and out of the van with half his head missing isn't the only casualty. Two bullets punch through Faron's shoulder and the right side of his chest, slamming him into the same pillar that had dented the doors. Another catches Melissa's midsection but does not pass through her back.

Up front, the driver's eyes are on his rear view mirror, and as Ling trickles under his seat, he's already putting the van into reverse. A booted foot shifts from the break to the accelerator—

Gabriel staggers back a step as small particles lift off the ground, automatically shielding his eyes with the lift of an arm. With a snarl, the sound of four bullets loosed in wildly aimed gunfire towards where he last saw the Institute soldier, two aimed high, two aimed lower, and he can hear the sound of them pinging off armored metal. When he hears the roar of the engine, Gabriel is transforming back into inky blackness that slithers like silk through the densely dusty air.

There's a cry as Melissa is hit, but while it hurts, it's not the first time she's been shot. But with there being only one more man up, her aim shifts towards him and she fires. "Get the driver!" she yells. To Claire? To Faron? It's hard to tell since she's not using names around the Institute agents. To whoever she wasn't referring to first, she snaps, "Help secure the prisoner," and points to the coffin, even as she's moving forward herself.

Faron didn't seem to fare so well in that second bout of gunfire. He can't so much feel the pain of being shot so much as feel the punch of the bullets and their searing heat. His breath is short, though he doesn't know quite why. He stumbles a bit after loosing a shot from his shotgun in response, trying to make sure he doesn't his one of his allies, despite the growing haziness in his mind.

Then the pain hits. Oh man, does the pain hit hard. He slams into the pillar, and in one swift instant, everything around him simply shakes as the pain fills his every sense. He cries in agony, or as best he could with a collapsed lung, if that was the worst of his injuries. He slumps against the pillar, tears beginning to stream from his eyes as shock quickly sets in. Oh god. Those two words repeat in his head. A mantra of horror, disbelief, and anger.

Smoke trickles across the floorboard swirling up visibly into the seat beside the driver, forming into the form of a person, quickly beginning to solidify. Normally, Ling would have a quip, some sort of taunt to throw the way. But even as she watches the reaction of the man as a woman forms out of the smoke next to him, wisps and motes of blackness continuing to waft from her form, she draws the knife from her wrist. "I would stop," she intones darkly, Asian eyes narrowed at him. "I hate having to use this."

The handgun is tucked away quickly and Claire moves to grab Faron, "Come on. Suck it up." She grunts out as she moves to try and force him to his feet. Try because he's so much bigger then the small woman barely over five foot tall. "You have to get to cover, Faron."

Melissa's orders gets a frustrated sound out of the cheerleader, then she hears it… the roar of the engine. "Mel! Get away!" Claire calls, doubling her effort to move Faron, even though her stomach churns and her skin prickles with sweat as the malaria starts to attack her weak system. Turning to Faron, the regenerator, snaps at him. "Let's go.. unless you want to be roadkill."

The two final shots from Melissa and Faron put the remaining handler down while he's still in the harried process of reloading his weapon. The tips of his fingers are curling in on his palm as the blonde is moving toward the blood-smeared coffin, her reflection clearly visible in the driver's rear view mirror, though it isn't Melissa who has his attention. It's the arrestingly beautiful woman sitting in the seat beside him.

His eyes meet Ling's in the mirror, and there's a moment where his hands grow slack on the wheel and it looks like he might take them off, but the blood winding a glittering path across the floor between them is a grim reminder that he and the handler confronting Gabriel outside are the only two of their unit left alive.

"I'm sorry," he rasps out, and presses his foot to the floor. With enough force to crack Ling's head against the dashboard, the van kicks backwards, slams through the railing that separates the edge of the bridge from the empty space on the other side and plunges into the shallow ravine below.

Trapped inside, Melissa and Ling have the time it takes to inhale to brace themselves for impact, and the latter will fare much better than the former if she can shift forms before the van is rolling side-over-side down the embankment.

Having lost track of Gabriel in the confusion, the remaining handler summons the debris particles into a spherical shape that he can manipulate with subtle gestures of his hands and rotate counterclockwise in the air as he searches for a new target.

With the van and a section of railing gone, it doesn't take him very long to locate Claire and Faron. He makes a sinuous gesture with one wrist, and slowly, the particles begin to wide sideways toward them like an eel slithering its way through the water.

Unfortunately Melissa doesn't get time to react to Claire's warning. Instead she's falling forward, then reaching out, desperately trying to grab onto something to anchor herself with when the truck goes tumbling end over end. But using only one arm to do so means that she's still thrown around like a rag doll. A very pissed off and hurt rag doll.

Gabriel is quite abruptly there, solidifying within inches of the remaining, standing operative — who mostly sees Gabriel swinging pistol butt hard into his visor, which shatters as if made from hardened sugar. Adrenaline and warm strength is shot through the serial killer's body like an injection on the first inhale, the smell of fear in the air— and at least one of them reeks of it— fueling strength that renders a lot of things useless. Such as: his gun, which falls to the ground.

Such as: the operative's body armor or remaining struggle. Dragging him to the ground, Gabriel pins a knee in the small of the man's back, slams either hand on the sides of his helmet, an wrenches until the satisfying crack of bone seems to ripple down the length of the man's spine. Rather than get up from what he considers to be his kill, Gabriel remains crouched as is, turning a squint towards where the armored vehicle was, and coated head to foot in a fine layer of dust still settling in the air.

What were we doing again?

To say Faron was out of it was a bit of an understatement. He merely nodded in acknowledgement to Claire, stumbling to his feet in that mess of a mind he's in, barely getting out of the way from teh truck in time. However, he slumps to his knees, the taste of blood in his mouth. Blood seeps from his arm and chest, a very blatant sign to Claire that he was hurt, and badly. And considering his relatively new standing in the terrorism scene…well, it was obvious that he's struggling with this.

He turns his head towards the man before him, very lazily. He watches as Gabriel simply ends his life without a second thought. He blinks as the dust around him settles Wow, everything is happening really slow.

Ling's head coming into contact with the glass of the windshield sent pain shooting through her body, her mind swimming as the world around her does the same. There was one key component to being able to properly utilise her ability: concentration. And right now, with blood trickling down the side of her head, concentration is in short surprise

The van suddenly going into free fall over the edge doesn't help matters, and the look of horror on Ling's face as the impact hits and she bounces around the front of the truck, feeling the knife she had dropped graze her leg as it too free rattles around.

Out of instinct, the former cheerleader tries to protect Faron, as the van goes over the edge of the bridge. When he slumps to the ground, she leaves him there a moment, to lean over the side of the bridge. She doesn't even worry about that last man on the road, confident in Gabriel's ability to deal with him.

"Dammit…" She murmurs, pulling out her cellphone. "We got a problem, Rebel. Two shot, one badly. Possibly a third wounded." She doesn't even wait for a responce, just drops the phone into her pocket again and moves to crouch near Faron. Leaning down she grabs his good arm and pull it over her neck. "We need to get you off the road at least. Hang in there." Being ill isn't helping the situation, sweat trickled down her face and her muscles feel weak and ache. Hopefully the negation will wear off soon.

"Come on… I know your tougher then this." The words are strained, meant to not only encourage him, but to keep him focused.

At the bottom of the ravine, the van skids to an eventual halt, both sides and roof caved in, its interior covered in broken glass that was once part of the tinted windshield and side panels. The ceiling is where Ling remembers the floor being, and vice versa, the driver's arms dangling lifelessly from where he's still strapped into his seat by the belt he never snapped off. Droplets of blood drip from his open mouth and into hers as feeling gradually returns to her body, including a sharp, scissoring pain that surges through her left leg when she tries to move it.

Thrown clear of the vehicle at some point during the roll, Melissa can see the bridge looming over her and the silhouettes that probably belong to Claire and Faron but could just as easily be figments of her imagination. Darkness presses in on the corners of her vision. Everything hurts. The only things she can be sure of is that she's still alive, and that the coffin was ejected from the van with her, because nearby she can hear the sound of the lid being scraped off from inside, followed by a sharp crack when it hits the gravel under her back. A pair of boots enter her periphery a few moments later, and a shadow comes to crouch beside her.

"Wowee," says a voice. "Exciting."

Though it's hard to focus past the pain, Melissa reacts to hearing a voice so near to her, and she half falls to one side, bringing the pistol up, her other hand pressing over the gunshot wound in her midsection. "Shit. Coffin person?" she asks the figure, trying to make her mind work and eyes focus. Then her voice raises to call to those still on the bridge. "Need help here! ASAP!" Does she mean herself? The figure? Or Ling?

There's a clatter as the busted in helmet is worked off the operative's head and tossed aside, Gabriel's focus now honing in on the body he crouches over. At the edges of his awareness, there are nagging things — like the knowledge that if they don't all leave soon, they're going to run into more fun. The sound of Claire's voice as she struggles Faron up, and the looming silence from where the van used to be, voices and movement out of his audible periphery for the time being. Rather than focus on any of these things, Gabriel is taking out the knife hidden within his boot.

The sound of steel dragging through flesh and bone has the same measured, sawing rhythm of a butcher slicing meat. Everyone has issues, but self-control is one of Gabriel's, although he does pause, for a second, at Melissa's cry coming up.

And then resumes. BRB.

By the time he's standing, his hands could almost be wearing gloves of bright red, is how thick the blood is, although a second of thought has the liquid sliding off his skin and knife metal without a trace left over, spattering on concrete as he abandons the sawed open corpse to go and peer down through the wrecked portion of bridge edge, a tall silhouette when those down below have an opportunity to glance up.

Of course Faron doesn't realize the danger he's in right now; he's in shock! However, he does stand to his feet with Claire, his mind repeating the mantra he's been saying ever since he was shot. "Nnn…I'm s-s-sorry." He's delusional! "Uhn…w-we need to get out of h-here…" He limps alongside Claire as he talks. "We need to get to the—how are we going to get out of here?"

Ling groans from inside the truck, and literally just about her entire body it throbbing and pusating in pain. When her vision stops swimming, and something drips down on her, she flinches, trying her best to drag herself a bit - and the reward she gets is the sharp, deep pain in her leg, causing an uncharacteristic yelp of pain from the Chinese woman. Teeth grit, as she tries to roll on her side and pull herself forward a bit. That doesn't go over too well. She winces, trying to shift once she hears Melissa. "Melissa!// she yells, voice a bit strained. At least she could do was let someone know she was alive.

"Not sure yet," Claire murmurs softly, glancing behind her when she's hears Gabriel starting to work on the man he down. It's a distinctive sound, she's had it done to her. There is a small shudder, but she doesn't even try to stop him. In her mind the guy deserves it… and for another thing, it's not her, which is always a plus.

Once off the road, she lets him settle again on the ground, hopefully out of sight of whoever might come down the road. "Okay. Rest here. I need to go check on Ling and Melissa." Once she makes sure he's set, she turns to hurry down the embankment, brows furrowed in concern for her teammates.

"Enough shouting," mutters the voice at Melissa's side, as a hand seeks out her neck and cups its chin in her palm as its partner finds her shoulder and blue eyes shimmering faintly in the dark search her for visible injury other than the blood saturating her clothes around her middle. Satisfied that he won't damage her further by moving her, the stranger lifts her into his arms and shifts her head so it rests against his shoulder, taking weight off her neck.

A glance up at the bridge has the corner of his mouth hooking up around a wolfish leer that's half-snarl, half-smile. Either he recognizes Gabriel's profile or something he sees there clicks the last piece of the puzzle into place. "I should thank you," he tells Melissa, "but I think I have a concussion."

When Claire reaches the bottom of the embankment, he jerks his head in the direction of the van. "Your other friend."

Well this wasn't what she expected of the prisoner of the Institute, but Melissa is just hurt enough to accept being picked up. "Yeah, well, they suck. Wanna try a gunshot wound too? Got one of those too," she mumbles, squinting as she tries to make out the face of he who holds her. She knows she knows him.

Then there's a Claire, and the man is speaking to her, so Mel looks over and nods. "Get Ling and let's get the hell outta here." Hard to lead when you're being held by the rescuee, but she's trying!

The sound of Gabriel's footsteps heralds his approach of Faron, moving along the edge of the bridge until he stands where Claire had set down the other man, looking him over with consideration until his dark eyes go a little blank. Only for a few seconds, some kind of psychic assessment that Faron doesn't feel, but has Gabriel's nose wrinkling. Closing up his knife and slipping it away, he holds out a hand in offer to steer the younger man up.

There's also a curious thing happening, near painful, uncomfortable — Faron has stopped bleeding, quite suddenly, and perhaps even the fresher measurements of blood pushed back in with a thought. Numbness sweeps through the other operative's body, until he can not only not feel his injury, but nor can he feel the ground beneath him, or Gabriel's hand gripping his arm.

"Let's go," is encouragement and order both. To get off the damn road, out of the bright lights and down the embankment.

Faron blinks up at Gabriel blankly, obviously feeling even more weirded out by all the happenings. He looks at the body of the man, not knowing whether to be thankful or to be sickened by the murderous display. However, he's not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and he takes the man's hand tenderly, working himself weakly to his feet. "Th-thank you." That's all he can offer currently, looking around him and leaning on Gabriel for support. Probably not the wisest thing to do, but at this point, Ron was in no shape to complain about his current company.

Seeing Melissa cared for, Claire hesitates however briefly, as if for a moment debating to trust him. Finally with pain manipulators words, she gives a firm nod, a trembling hand coming up to brush at the lines of moisture. Pulling out her gun again, the regenerator hurries over to the van, skidding to a halt on both knees. Placing a hand on the side of the flipped van, Claire leans down to look inside. "Ling? "

Ponytail flopping to the ground, Claire leans further to see the driver dead and then the woman beyond. "Are you able to get out of there?" She starts to half crawl into the window so she can try and get a better look, eyes narrowing at the leg. "This… will probably hurt, but we have to get out of here." She holds a hand out to Ling to take so she can try and pull.

Seeing Claire's outstretched hand, Ling somehow manages to grimace more than she already is. "I can try," she says with determination. "Something… is wrong with my leg." An understatement, to say the least. Regardless, she reaches up, tentatively and painfully, to take Claire's hand, trying to drag herself across broken glass and the remains of a mangled and broken vehicle, wincing and stifling cries of pain as she does - or at least trying to. Her actual success varies.

The stranger has his hands full, or he might — might — try to help Claire extract Ling from the vehicle. Fortunately for him, and the women as well, they don't need the assistance; it's not long before Claire has Ling's arm looped around her shoulders and is pulling her through the window, knocking out the remaining shards that cling stubbornly to its frame like jagged crocodile teeth.

His eyes move from Gabriel and Faron's approach to the chalky piece of bone jutting out from Ling's leg just below the knee. It's a break, and not necessarily a clean one. "I hope you brought transportation."

"Yeah, got transportation," Melissa says with the faintest of nods, letting her eyes close. Either she trusts the stranger not to hurt her, or she trusts her team not to let him hurt her. The end result in the same though. However, she does frown slightly, eyes closed or not. "I know that voice…" she murmurs, before shaking her head lightly, a physical manifestation of pushing the distraction away, then she starts giving directions to said transportation.

Francois is going to kill her for getting hurt. Again.

"Kuhr will be waiting for us outside the reclaimed zone."

This from Gabriel, as he and Faron come up on the group, the injured with an arm braced across Gabriel's shoulders, but a decent sense of nervous tension in the air has Gabriel having no issue supporting his weight. "But we need to move before they decide to check out the hold up. If they don't already have cameras out here." He glances towards Ling, now, and even for Gabriel, the messiness of the woman's injury is enough to show in his expression, surprise and disgust.

Eyebrow raised, he flicks a glance to Claire, then tilts his head. "Swapsies. Help him. I can carry her." Before he lets Faron go once sure the other man is standing okay.

"Swapsies?" Claire actually looks amused at the man's use of the word. Doesn't seem like a word a killer would use. The tiny terrorist looks at Faron and then to Ling and her injured leg. With a concerned tilt of her brows, she nods, "Sure." She shifts a little to keep Ling on her feet until Gabriel can take over the burden.

Then she'll shift over, taking up an arm and resting it across her shoulder, so that Faron can lean on her heavily. It looks odd her small frame holding him up. "Yeah lets get out of here." Claire starts guiding the injured man in the direction of the vehicle.

Ling's eyes are closed - she hasn't yet actually seen her injury, she just knows her leg hurts like all hell, and her teeth are grit tight as she tries so hard not to think about the pain she's experiencing right now, a whole new kind she was entirely unused to. "Swapies?" she mutters quietly, giving an awkward and pained shake of her head. She says nothing more, simply exhaling as she shakes a little - which does little good for her pained leg.

"Do you?" Sasha Kozlow responds to Melissa's assertion, and the thread of amusement woven through his voice is much thinner than Claire's.

It's a rhetorical question, ultimately, and the last thing she hears before the darkness finally claims her.

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