Burning Chrome, Part II


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Scene Title Burning Chrome, Part II
Synopsis The Wasteland welcomes some of the Travelers with a horrifying experience.
Date November 8, 2017

Muffled gunfire and the plinking clink of rounds ricocheting off of heavy metal are interspersed between the sounds of ragged sobs and mournful cries.

It is dark here, the only illumination a soft orange glow coming from vents in the room that are pumping in exhaust heat. It is sweltering within the metal-walled space the size of a shipping container. The walls are seven feet wide at their narrowest and the length of the chamber just over fifteen feet. It is packed with sweaty, injured, terrified people and the corpses of those who did not make it. Blood, urine, and motor oil slicks the riveted steel floor. When the ceiling splits open, revealing a lightning-streaked night’s sky, the crowd of prisoners scream in terror and scramble away from the opening.

Rain pours down from the sky, and the lifeless body of Tyler Case is dropped unceremoniously onto the metal floor with a wet slap and a resounding clang as his head bounces off of the steel. He rolls lifelessly onto his back, eyes open and acid rain running down his cheeks. Just as prisoners in tattered, blood-stained clothes begin to relax, a screaming redhead is thrown into the chamber as well, striking her head on the floor as she is dropped and rendered unconscious. Shortly after Elaine is thrown in, Magnes is tossed as well, landing on his hip and a pile of spent shell casings.

Magnes lands in the container, staring up at a host of unfamiliar faces. Some of them are still armed with guns. Dents from bullets pepper the walls in here, as much as blood stains do. The sudden depositing of Kaylee Thatcher next comes with a loud clang, and she bounces on impact, rolling to land beside Tyler’s inert body. When Ling is thrown in next, she lands atop Kaylee and knocks her over again, then is thrown to the wall as she ship pitches to one side and the screaming crowd of a half-dozen other people struggle to remain standing.

Isabelle and Lynette are thrown into the metal container last, and the doors slowly whirr shut overhead as they’re deposited inside. One prisoner takes that moment, scrambling up the wall and getting his fingers into the seam of the hinges, trying to pull himself out. But the doors close too tightly, and the hinges close down around his fingers. He screams, a horrific and agonized scream as his fingers are shorn off by the moving metal and he drops, bleeding and maimed to the metal floor.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to end.

Magnes immediately grabs Elaine in a protective embrace, sitting with his legs crossed as he looks around, trying to assess the situation. "Alright, so there were extra details…" he considers, looking down at his leg. "This might be the implant I'm supposed to find someone to remove. So I think this is all supposed to happen, which means we should be fine if we just keep our heads together…"

The world is edged in black, but amazingly, Kaylee Thatcher is still alive. The fact that everything hurts, for the moment, is a good thing. Kaylee knows where the bruises will be and site of the injection is still stinging. However, she wasn’t dead. It takes her a few moments, but she finally rolls over and pushes herself up, shakily and with a bit of stumble. Blue eyes are wild with panic as she finds herself somewhere unfamiliar and tries to find what is.

There had been no real chance to react when she was snatched, but to be fair she did this to herself. She didn’t think, only reacted when she saw Tyler and Kain being lifted. This thought has her turning to look for them… but she only finds the crumpled form of Tyler.

Scrambling over to the man, it doesn’t take her being a telepath for her to know the truth…. But still, she pulls her hair aside, presses it to his chest and listens; ignoring the smear of blood at her temple. “God damn it!” Kaylee shouts, her fists smacking solid against the metal hull, that will be just be more bruises to add to the rest. “I’m sorry, Tyler,” she murmurs, finally moving to close the man’s sightless eyes, with a pass of her hand; her own are blurry with unshed tears of frustration.

Sitting heavily back on her feet, shoulders slumping in defeat, Kaylee finally takes a look around at all those hopeless faces, picking out her companions. Only then does Magnes’ words suddenly register and pull her attention. “What…?” She looks confused, angling a look at some of the others. “What is he talking about?” The telepath had missed the memo when she was dealing with a dying Tyler.

Once she lands, Lynette rolls over and throws up. Caused by the smell, adding to it. She’s still wiping at her face when Magnes starts to talk. She cuts a glance over at him, proving that even a nice Lynette has her limits. “You need to stop talking,” she says to him, flat and unhappy. She crawls over to Kaylee and Tyler, putting a hand on his lifeless face, tears start to form in her eyes, despite her trying to hold them back. She says a silent goodbye to the man who did not have to die for them and then sags under the weight of their situation. “Javi,” she says, her voice little more than a desperate whisper, “my daughter,” she adds, a hitch marring the word. She looks up at Kaylee, unable to keep herself together when she continues. “My son.”

The telepath ends up on the receiving end of a clinging hug as Lynette mourns her family and her world.

Landing near Lynette the pyro coughs and rolls away to avoid the vomit, blood on her cheek from a cut she sustained from the fall. Isabelle roars as she rushes the wall to no avail, she falls back to the ground and is standing slowly as Lynette clings to Kaylee when Magnes is going on about..

Piling over the people the brunette grabs Magnes by the shoulder and draws him near, “Magnes, please!” Her tone frantic as her hazel eyes search his all but shaking her friend and cousin? “What are you talking about?!” Shahid’s absence is felt and all of that training with Kaito is threatened to be ripped apart by it, “What do you know??” She roars as her knees begin to buckle, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. She had promised Shahid, she had promised Shahid. Guilt wrecks across her face as she clings to Magnes tight, “What do you know?” The question repeated.

Ling groans, staying down on the ground for a moment. When she does move, it';s to roll over and lift herself to her hands and knees. She's there, still and motionless for a moment, before her gaze snaps up to Magnes and she scrambles up to her feet. Her knife has clattered to the floor somewhere around her, but she doesn't even look for it. She ignores everyone else, she ignores Isa so close to him, ignores the way he holds on to Elaine.

Her hand reaches for his throat, eyes wide and full of malice. "Nǐ tā mā de báichī!" she shouts angrily. "Extra details?! We're going to die here!" At least when they'd been in a virus laden hellhole, she had accepted the inevitable.

Even being on the run, a few years in comparative paradise have vastly reset her expectations, and it's clear she's having a bit of a moment given their new situation. She stops short of clasping her hand around him, and seethes for a moment. "You are lucky you are necessary for us to get out of here," she hisses at him, glancing down at Elaine's unconscious form. "And you are lucky that she is undeserving of such trauma."

The other people trapped inside the container stare wide-eyed at the newcomers. None of them dare speak up, and in the dim orange light of blasting heaters, they seem sick and wounded. Some stand in shock, unwilling to recognize that anything is going on, eyes glassy. Others are turned away from the argument, sobbing uncontrollably. One is still writhing on the ground, clutching his destroyed hands.

A loud electronic crackle fills the air and a speaker comes to life inside the container.

«Attention Detainees.»

A plainly-accented woman’s voice announces calmly and clearly.

«You have been found in violation of the Linderman Act, Article 9, Clause 3.»

None of the passengers that were already here seem to be surprised by the announcement, or even so much as listen.

«Please discard your weapons on the floor. You are being taken for processing. Resistance will be met with lethal force.»

Some of the prisoners, ones still holding guns, just stare angrily at the speaker.

«Compliance may result in a reduced sentence. Thank you.»

Just before the speaker cuts out, there’s an audible whump-whump of something hitting the top of the detention container, then the clunk-thump of footsteps across the corrugated metal.

"We're not going to die… but Tyler… it wasn't clear what the message meant, I didn't know Tyler was going to die, all I knew was…" Magnes stares at Isabelle for a long moment, but before he says anything, he hears the voice, then the thumping. "We can get through this…" is all he says as he clings Elaine even closer.

One who doesn’t exactly do a lot of hugging and such things, Kaylee is taken by surprise as Lynette is suddenly clinging to her and sobbing. For a moment, she isn’t sure how to react; but at the same time she is thankful that she can’t hear what she is thinking… or all the emotions that go with it. Blowing out a breath, the telepath finally wraps arms around her, giving her the comfort the woman needs. Of course, she realizes she might need it, too.

Looking over the head of the weeping woman, Kaylee watches the exchange with a confused look. Then it occurs to her, “You’ve been talking to— ” The thought is interrupted by the loud crackle of the speaker and the voice, the telepath finching at the volume of it. The order has her realizing she dropped her knife on the roof when she was smacked by the tentacle thing.

The sound of something landing on the roof pulls Kaylee’s attention. Her head slowly turns with each step, while the telepath furiously wished she had her ability.

Magnes’ voice cuts through the din and Kaylee shoots a quick look his way, irritations on her features. “Shh,” she hisses furiously at everyone, before turning her attention upward again. Her breath catches and holds as she waits.

Lynette takes that comfort from Kaylee until the voice cuts in. She turns to sit next to her instead, hand holding Kaylee's as she looks upward. She leaves her face tear streaked, mostly because she's too scared to think about it. Shrinking back at the sound of footsteps, she glances around the hold, taking in the others here. If she thought there was anything clean enough, she might help the man and his fingers. But instead, she stays with her group.

"We have to get out of here," she whispers. She lets go of Kaylee and she pushes up to her feet. She had her breakdown, now she's going to get to work. Moving around the hold, she tries to take stock of the space and what they have available to them that might be useful.

Apparently, she missed the bit about compliance.

"Not going to die?" Ling scoffs, turning away from Magnes to look over towards Lynette - the one talking the most sense in this moment. She takes a deep breath, trying to collect herself as she look around, trying to not let the horror of this containment get to her. She'd done a well enough job trying to ignore it so far, but with her mind off Magnes for the moment, well..

Hands clench into fists at her side, eyes narrowed as she look around for any sort of- even a highly dangerous means of escape. "I do not even know where to begin," she admits in a low voice to Lynette, shuffling a bit to make room for one of the other terrified temporary denizens of this very real hell.

She looks up at the speaker. "No one is dumb enough to come into a room of scared people. Not unarmed. We would do well to stay out of sight." Which, admittedly, she's not that good at without her ability. So, this is certainly going to be fun.

“Message? Magnes what are you talking abou— ”

Isabelle’s questions are halted by the sound of footfalls on the roof and she presses Magnes and Elaine back into the wall which happens to be already smooshed with people. Her eyes on Lynette, Kaylee and Ling because clearly they were gonna have to get themselves out of this mess. Or hope someone was coming.

“Out of sight is a little hard at the moment.” Isa looks at Ling before digging in her backpack to pull the sister to Ling’s knife out, holding it tightly in her hands. Ability or not, she's ready to attempt to fuck someone up. “Do any of you.. know anything about where this piece of shit is going?” Isabelle looks around at the crowd of people.

“Outer D— ” one of the prisoners begins to say, but is cut off by the sound of the overhead hatch groaning with the protest of twisting metal. The metal groans again, strains, and then pieces begin to snap. A few clinking pieces of steel rain down from above and the other prisoners begin to crouch and huddle away from the noise. The craft pitches to the left, sending a few people stumbling and crashing to their knees. A moment later, one side of the double doors in the roof flies off of its hinges and spins end over end out of sight, disappearing into the night.

Rain pours into the storage container with a howling wind, and as lightning flashes in the clouds a single figure is silhouette against the bolts spiderwebbing the sky, dark hair rain-slick and windblown, bearded, in a zipped up leather jacket heading with rainwater.

Stay down!” He shouts, and as the lightning flashes again everyone is given a fine enough look at the man who with a wave of his hand begins peeling the other door back and away as he stands atop a flying robot.


“It's a long way down!” Peter calls out, squinting against the rain as he rips the other door off with telekinesis, only to have the sudden explosion of automatic gunfire send a shower of sparks across the door’s surface. He throws both arms in front of himself, bringing the door around as a smaller flying drone about the size of a sedan, painted a stark white and red, strafes the roof. “Shit, shit! Hold tight!”

Peter flings the door at the drone, causing it to fly away to dodge the attack. At the same time, clanging metal footsteps echo on the top of the aircraft and two bipedal robots carrying assault rifles step into view. Peter pushes his hand out and throws one from the Harvester ship’s back, but as he goes to launch the other one away a mechanical tentacle snaps out at him. Peter jumps into the air, flying back, “Hold on!” The craft pitches, sending the robot crashing down into the prison transport container. It's gun slides away, but it slowly begins to rise up to its feet, even as Peter is chased off by the gunship AETOS drone.

The bipedal robot turns its eyeless face toward Lynette and lets out a mechanical shriek.

Listening to everyone and hearing the movement outside, Kaylee gives a little sound of irritation. All she can do is back up. “What I wouldn’t give for my knife… “ Then the robot pitches and Kaylee is thrown off her feet, crashing into a few other prisoners.

She is still getting to her feet when the door blows off, looking up… her breath catches. From the very first shout, Kaylee knows that voice. Knows it intimately. Freakin’ Peter…. Again he’s there, showing up in her life. The last two having died horribly, after having been with her, the telepath can’t help but shrink away from the silhouette, sent even further by the wavering craft. Damn it!

When the thing shifts suddenly again, Kaylee is ready this time, so while she stumbles she doesn’t fall. Which is lucky, because now their space is occupied by a fuckin’ robot. “What the hell?!?” The gun comes to a rest not to far from her, but she doesn’t go for it. The telepath hasn’t ever mastered them. Trusting that one of the others will grab it, Kaylee does the only thing she can do.

Help Lynette, by pushing her out of the way and following after, giving a clear shot to whoever grabs the weapon and anyone else that has one. Last thing Kaylee wanted to do was explain to Mateo why she let his wife die again… after he finally found her again.

Magnes' gun sure as hell won't do much to a robot, but the robot's own gun… Magnes hands Elaine to Isabelle, nodding his head. Then he stands up and goes running, leaping down for the gun so that he can immediately twist his body around and aim at it. He doesn't even sit up, he can't waste these precious few seconds and he has no concept of the machine's reaction time. So as he lays there, he aims at the robot from an angle where there's no one immediately behind it, and starts firing at its torso and head.

Lynette's attention moves up at the sound of twisting metal and she steps back to press herself against a wall. It turns out to be a good move as the ship pitches and dips and people struggle to keep their footing. When Peter Petrelli, of all people, turns out to be their rescuer, Lynette looks mostly confused.

But she gets distracted soon enough, as a robot falls into the hold and she presses harder against the wall, like maybe she could disappear into it.

It shrieks at her and she screams— in fear, not as a challenge.

Kaylee finds her all too easy to push out of the way and she scrambles away from the danger. It takes her a moment, but she takes stock of the room and comes over to take Elaine from Isa. "They need help!" That's her explanation, and she knows Isabelle is far more capable of giving it than she is.

“What the fucking fuck Peter?! You had to wait until we were nabbed and negated!” Isabelle seems about to say more but then Elaine is being pushed off on her and the redhead instead begins to pitch to the ground Isa’s eyes wide before Lynette comes in and grabs her. Hazel eyes slant and she digs into her backpack for the gun she has herself. As Magnes dives to shoot, Isabelle raises the gun and grits her teeth as she empties the clip aimed straight at the robot’s face.

Walking forward with every shot, soon each shot is echoed by a curse, “Fucking,” shot “Bitchass,” shot “Piece of shit lickin,” shotshotASSHOLE!!!, shotshotshot.

When the robot lands in front of them and everyone moves to handle it, Ling stumbles back, eyes wide. She's never seen something like this, and without her ability to handle it her way, she finds herself uncharacteristically vulnerable. She only trips over one of the other captive, tying her hardest not to scream.

She has a reputation, after all.

But as more things click into place, her breath hitches, and she finds herself combing the floor for her knife. "Of course it would be Peter Petrelli," she mumbles to herself, remembering the version of him from her home world.

The ungodly machine is nearly on Lynette by the time Magnes and Isabelle open fire on it. Bullets ricochet around the metal container, howling wind and rain deadens the sounds of screaming and gunshots, and the Centurion is torn limb-from-limb by the gunfire. The firearm in Magnes’ hands is some sort of short-stock light machine gun. He'd seen them used by Institute Retrievers back in his homeworld. The FN P90 TR isn't an accurate weapon but it sprays more than enough bullets to make up for the spread.

The robot lays in a broken, sparking mess on the ground and then erupts as a small plume of white-hot fire ignites in its head and chest. The magnesium flare melts steel and burns a glowing hole the size of a silver dollar below where the flames rise up to sizzle in the rain.

For a moment the prison carrier is silent. Then, one wide-eyed survivor asks of the room, “Are you… are you the Resistance?” There's a sense of disbelief in their expression as they start to ask another question. But it doesn't make it all the way out before the transport violently shakes, then plummets a few feet, leaving everyone inside to briefly freefall before crashing back down into the narrow shipping container space. There's a sound of an explosion from the Harvester’s right-front engine, then an orange glow and a plume of smoke billowing up from that same direction.

Peter flies in again, crashing down with a clang in the middle of the room, sweeping rain-slicked hair from his face. “Ok, drones are down, but we clipped a building.” Peter grimaces. “This thing is crashing. I can't carry you all at once, but I can try and steer the Harvester from the air with telekinesis. Everyone — you're gonna have to hold on. Landing might be a bit rough.”

"We're not quite the resistance, but we have a lot of experience resisting." is how Magnes chooses to answer, sitting up to remain steady. He looks to Lynette and Elaine and nods. He seems to have calmed down a bit, rambling less, as if what he was having before was a bit of a panic attack. "I'm sorry for earlier." he says for Ling and Lynette.

"I should have said something, but the only reason I didn't is because I'm afraid if I say everything, we won't get our children back. It's… selfish, but I'm afraid." he explains in his most sincere yet clearly guilty tone. "Thanks, Peter."

Lynette clings to Elaine while the others handle the robot, only easing her hold on the other woman when it's a smoking mess. She's still trying to steady her breathing when Magnes speaks. "I don't care if you're sorry. Or afraid. You didn't want to say everything? How about saying anything? You didn't even give a slight indication that we were going to land in rough waters. You aren't the only one who matters. You're not the only one who's real. We all are. And the things you do to us? Matter. The things you and Elisabeth have done to our worlds? Matter. So you can keep your sorries to yourself." Her attention moves back to Elaine, making sure she's okay before Lynette lets her go and moves back to sit next to Tyler's body. At the very least, she can make sure he gets a burial of some kind and not thrown out of a crashing nightmare ship.

So one hand rests on Tyler's bloody chest, the other covers her face. Half to not look in case they really are about to die in a fiery crash and half to cover the fact that she's crying again.

From where she is on the ground, hands come up to cover her ears against the loud sound that guns going off in a small space make. When the robot falls near here, Kaylee is quick to scramble back until her back connects with the side of the container as thing flares up bright, her eyes wide. What was this place? It was like a nightmare world come to life.

There is a yelp of surprise when the transport suddenly jostles and plummets. Weightless for only a moment before it stops again and Kaylee comes down hard on her shoulder. The pain of the impact, against the injection site, brings instant tears.

There is a mixture of relief and… something else… at Peter’s arrival. With a hiss of pain, Kaylee rights herself, climbing to her feet and half stumbling her way to Lynette’s side. “Good luck,” she offers Peter as she passes, a glancing going his way out of the corner of her eye. They all need luck at that moment, really. When the telepath drops to her knees again, it is next to Tyler’s body and Lynette; and hand resting on the other woman’s shoulder briefly. Then her attention is on Peter, waiting to see if they make it this time.

Ling ignores Magnes, wrapping fingers around what seems to be the hilt of her blade - and she almost drops it again with the jolt of momentary free fall. A quick series of mandarin curses follows as she staggers back up to her feet and looks around at the others.

Would not surviving this be so bad at this point?

Maybe not, but Ling has no intention of letting this be her undoing, bracing herself as she watches both Peter and for her ability to come back - the rising smoke and fire would offer her the perfect mask for her own escape if it comes to it.

“We’ll… we’ll get through that later Mags.” Isabelle says a little deflated as she watches the robot’s remains on the floor and then they are rocking and Isa is clinging at one of the walls as Peter flies in again and does.. “Did you go to fucking Tisch?!” Isa looks over at Kaylee with raised eyebrows before nodding along with their rescuer. “Just.. uh.. yea steer clear.” Of rubble and bombs and other robots and shit like that.

Crouching over near where Kaylee is she eyes the telepath, “Well we’re here. I only half wanted to burn you ya know.” The pyrokinetic using now to lighten the guilt on her chest, even living with Isabelle and Shaw.. didn't allow her to disclose that. “Let's get the fuck out of here and find some booze.” Aha! A thought, there is still moonshine in her bag. “Never mind I'm holding, let's rock.”

Ultimately, there's little time — or cause — to celebrate. After a peal of thunder and flash of lightning the Harvester jostles again, throwing Isa off of her feet and sending her tumbling head over heels to the back of the storage container up against one of the heat vents. She can't feel the temperature difference, but her bodily contact against the vent is burning horizontal holes in the back of her jacket.

There's another sudden drop in altitude, and Peter — flying above the opening of the Harvester with both hands held out and fingers spread, strains as he curls his hands closed and starts to pull back on what looks like unseen reins. The Harvester’s metal bulk groans, even as a shuddering whine of a dying turbine fills the air. “Shit!” Peter shouts and there's another horrifying crash, this one harder than the others. Everyone inside the carrier is flung forward. Strangers are hurled off of their feet and crash into the floor, colliding with the recent abductees, some landing atop Tyler’s lifeless form.

Kaylee, Magnes, Isa, and Ling can feel a dull tingle through their bodies mixed with the sensation of rapidly falling after the crash. Smoke and flames are visible out the top of the now footless container, and Peter flies back into view and once more strains to steer the now plummeting Harvester. He yanks his arms to the right, and the entire carrier pitches to that side and then makes a sudden and horrific grinding sound as sparks flare up through the vents and a rumbling, grinding sound is met with more small collisions until—


Over West 40th Street

Ruins of Manhatan

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“They shoulda’ been here by now.”

Lowering his binoculars, James Woods turns his focus from the north of the ruined island of Manhattan and it's crumbling, burned-out husks of skyscrapers to his more immediate surroundings. A trio of buggies are parked on the overpass that once led out to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The end of the ramp connecting to that demolished building is now a broken, jagged line of shattered concrete and twisted rebar forty feet above street level, but this perch shows a nearly straight shot up 9th Avenue toward the burned or forest of Central Park and, more pressingly, the Deveaux Building.

With Woods, Luther Bellamy cuts a severe profile in the pouring rain, alongside two additional copies of Eli. Eve and the others were supposed to rendezvous at the base of the ramp five minutes ago, and there still hadn't been sign of them. But now, right schedules meet unexpected delays.

“We should— is that a Harvester?” Woods jerks his binoculars back up, but neither he nor the others he's with need a pair to see the flaming mass of a Harvester ship come careening in from the north, colliding with the corner of a skyscraper that shears off one turbine and severely damages another in a shower of flames and burning chrome. “Fuck!” Woods shouts as the Harvester sparks overhead and collided with another building, then spins out of control and crashes down on 9th Avenue just south of them in a plume of smoke and leaving a trail of metal shards in its wake.

“I know, I know!” Woods shouts at his empty buggy as he starts rushing over to it. “C’mon!

Intersection of 9th and West 38th Street

Thick black smoke billows out of the hold of the now crashed Harvester. Twisted metal, flames, and people both unconscious and dead lay scattered in every direction. The machine radially tipped onto its side as it crashed into the street, finally pitching over and expelling its occupants onto the rain-slicked street. Lightning flashes overhead and a low-lying dog steams off of the concrete.

A trail of gasoline, flames, and shredded machine parts cuts a trail of destruction five hundred feet to the north along 9th Ave where the Harvester made its rough landing. Pieces of turbines, body armor, and sheared-off tentacles are scattered in the street amid the rusted out hills of ruined cars. The Harvester stopped after plowing into a concrete barricade that once served as a checkpoint at the intersection.

Descending from the sky, Peter Petrelli lands and immediately buckled to one knee, wiping blood away from his nose and mouth and raggedly breathing. He tries gasping out words, to see if anyone survived the crash, but he doesn't have the strength for it. As Peter looks around the wreckage, he spots Magnes, arms around Elaine and shielding her. There's a look of confusion on his face momentarily, and then he looks up past them to the cross street.

Breath is stolen from Peter’s mouth as, through the haze of falling rain and rising stream, pairs of glowing red eyes are seen approaching in the dark as dozens of thin mechanical figures begin their advance on the wreckage from every adjacent street. Each of them levels a rifle, and the clack-chalk of their strides becomes louder and louder.

“No, no, no, no,” Peter shakily mumbles. “Get up! Get up!” He scrambles ahead, a seething aura of rainbow light flushing off of his shoulders and hands, burning like an aurora borealis upward over his body. As the aura expands, the feeling of bone-deep negation from the adynomine in the survivors begins to burn away. Peter turns, using telekinesis to life a metal beam off of some pinned people who were imprisoned on the Harvester. As Magnes hears the shouting, he can feel something in his extremities.

Weight. Not just his, but the weight of the universe.

The gas is wearing off.

“Get up! They're coming!” Peter shouts as the first round of gunfire cracks off in the night. And dozens of Gen2 Centurions begin marching into the firelit intersection.

Lynette climbs out of the wreckage, blood staining pale skin from a gash across her cheek. She uses the body of the Harvester to get back to her feet, a task made more difficult for the piece of debris sticking out of her leg. But she’s alert and she’s alive as her gaze settles on Peter kneeling on the ground. And then— the robots beyond him.

Once, standing on a beach in Argentina, Mateo had asked her a question. What was Point A without Point B? It was a question about his power, but also about himself, trying to get her to understand some truth about himself and that she’d healed it. But her experience turned out to be the opposite. What was Point B without Point A?




Lynette pushes off the husk and makes her way toward Peter. Just past him. Tears well up in her eyes, but she can see enough. Her hands lift and she lets herself feel it. Her murdered husband. Her missing son. Mateo and Evie separated from her, maybe forever. Her control has always been linked to her emotions, to her ability to stay calm.

To open El Umbral, she knows she needs the opposite. She needs the fear and the loneliness and the sinking feeling in her stomach. And then, she pushes, grasping onto her ability as it flickers back in and hoping it will be enough.

There is a clank of metal as one of the smaller panels of siding is pushed over. With a groan, Kaylee manages to pull herself out of the small space she was stuck in. An attempt is made to stand, but the world shifts sharply and she finds herself on her butt again.

She can feel the warmth where sharp metal bits sliced through flesh. Shifting her arm to where she can see, Kaylee quickly notices that her leather jacket has been cut through and the glistening of red. The stab of pain at her side says there is another.

Just great.

Peter’s voice cuts through the haze, eyes squinting towards him and then beyond him as movement catches her attention. If you want to make a telepath feel useless, drop them in the middle of a post-apocalyptic world filled with robots.

While Kaylee is pondering this point when she suddenly realizes past the gunfire and shouting she can hear the faintest of humming. Turning towards the wreckage, Kaylee half rushes and half limps toward the wreckage. “Peter. I can hear people.” Translation get off your ass and help me, because if anyone can help find survivors it is him.

“Izzy! Ling!” Kaylee calls, while attempting to pull debris off the first person she’s found, gritting teeth against the pain and discomfort of her own injuries.

There is one fact that makes the telepath’s stomach sink… Tyler’s body might be lost. What a shitty day this has turned out to be.

Magnes is coughing from the dust, holding Elaine tightly as adrenaline dulls the pain of his cuts. It doesn't take long for what Peter says to register with him, and he tries to lay Elaine down where some of the larger chunks of debris will keep her shielded.

Standing up straight now, he feels his ability beginning to return, but he can feel his limitations, he knows he can't manipulate anything too large. "I need everyone to stay within around thirty feet of me for a moment."

He raises his hands, stretching his gravitational field. It feels thin, he definitely doesn't feel capable of pulling anything large into it, so instead he begins lifting smaller debris into a wide ring.

The field of debris pulls in slightly, then expands out in one quick motion, shifting the weight and orientation of the debris so that they fall outward, trying to fire them like a very wide spread shotgun at the machines.

It's a long shot, because his weakened ability also can't make the debris as heavy as he'd like, but it's still better than nothing.

Meanwhile, he's turning his head to see if he can find the gun from earlier, as it might be useful as he's waiting for his ability to recover.

Out of the northern stretch of 9th Avenue, a hail of machine gun fire bursts against the back flanks of one of the robot squads headed towards the downed Harvester and its contents. "Get closer so I can take out these fucking tin men!" calls Luther to an Eli clone at the wheel of the offroad buggy he's riding in. He leans out with one arm hooked onto a grasping bar welded to the front passenger side, the other propping a machine gun much like the ones the carried by the Gen2 Centurions on the buggy frame so he can fire the weapon. Rain pelts and beads on the weighty black coat Luther's got on. The man's features are set in a fierce scowl as he gauges the situation he, Woods and Eli are fast approaching.

Smoke begins to drift off of Ling's form, something which doesn't escape her notice - and leads to a widening grin on her face. She can't feel it well enough to transform, but her knife slowly begins sublimate into smoke, dancing around Ling's fingers as she looks arou-

And then suddenly, falling.

When she recovers, it's with a strained groan as she pushes herself back up to her knees, back up to standing. "Is it all robots?" she yells out to Peter, Lynette, anyone who can hear her. Not that it entirely matters, but it does determine how she approaches this once she has full grip on her ability again.

It's always robots.

Gunfire from approaching buggies at the back of the machines marching down the north end of 9th street diverts the machines attention. At the same moment gravity-propelled debris is ejected away from Magnes and the others, skitter-bouncing off of the street, colliding with bombed-out storefronts, concrete barricades, walls, and advancing robots. The machines that are struck are torn limb from limb, though the speed of the horizontally-falling debris is low enough that many of the machines are able to dodge out of the way.

As is Woods.

Sweet fucking Christmas!” Woods howls as he jerks the wheel of his buggy to the right, swerving around a free-falling piece of turbine flying down the street. The buggy skids across rain-slick asphalt, sideswipes a concrete barricade, then fishtails back around and plows through one of the centurions, crushing it between the wall of a demolished bank and the buggy’s rear wheel.

Woods pops up out of his vehicle, looking into the empty seat. “Not now!” He shouts at himself, shotgun retrieved from the center console and cocked with a noisy cha-chak before he fires it point blank range at the Centurion’s head, shattering it into a storm of debris. “Oi!” Woods calls out, “backup’s here!”

Three Centurions turn toward Woods, and he scrambles to duck behind a concrete barrier, “Oi!” Woods calls out again. “Backup's a bit pinned down!”

The three Centurions closing in on Woods scrape backwards. Their metal and rubber feet scuff against the ground, kick weightlessly, and then they begin to drift upward towards a suffocatingly black vortex of consuming darkness called forth by Lynette. El Umbral swallows the three Centurions like crumpled aluminum balls, folding them in on themselves in a shower of sparks before they're ripped apart at the rim and funneled as small fragments toward the middle.

Jesus Christ,” Woods whispers, slowly rising up from behind the barricade to spy the yawning portal in action. “How’s she— how— ” He's fairly certain Lynettes can't do that.

Later, Woods.” Peter grouses as gunfire begins to explode from the south as the Centurions in that direction march over their dismantled kin, torn apart by Magnes’ gravitic attack. “Magnes,” Peter looks over at him, “pop and— ” different Magnes. “Make ‘me weightless! I can pick them off with telekinesis!”

In the meanwhile, still shedding an aura of scintillating rainbow aurora light, Peter hauls a chunk of debris up with telekinesis to shield Kaylee from the gunfire while she searches for survivors. At first it's grim, people that were tangled up in the wreckage of the crash, then hearing muffled mental cries for help, Kaylee begins pulling away collapsed metal siding.

“Here,” someone says, “let me help you, uh, lift some of that.” But as Tyler Case reaches out for the metal siding, he finds his hands can't actually purchase anything. He pauses, looks back at Kaylee, then over to his lifeless body nearby under a collapsed support beam.



Ducking at the gunfire, Kaylee looks back and is surprised to see that Peter is protecting her with a piece of wreckage. He gets a bit of a shy and uncertain smile, grateful for the help, before she turns back to her task. Gripping a particularly weighty bit of robot, the telepath grits her teeth and pulls. It only starting to budging when help arrives. There is some relief, though something seems wrong…

Looking over to her relief, Kaylee is just in time to see Tyler try to grab the metal and his hands unable to grip the metal. Though, she doesn’t really notice that, since he is supposed to be dead… How was he alive?!

When he looks over at his body, so does she.

Blue eyes widen about as far as they can go. “What the —?!” Instinct kicks in, that deeper part of the brain that goes into a panic at the unexplained. The metal that she was trying to lift is abandoned, as Kaylee stumbles back from this ghostly Tyler. “How? Wh- You’re-” Her mouth works a bit before she lets out an exasperated, “HOW?” as she finally settles for that one word question.

As if the poor guy has the answer.

It’ll look odd to the others; and, as spooky as the moment is… Kaylee curiosity wins out. After another crouch for cover from gunfire, she reaches out for him, watching as her hand passed through. A few more swipes through… before she jerks it back. “Whoa…” Slips out softly, as the telepath looks up at Tyler.

Having been pinned underneath one of the unlucky people to have died from the fall, Isabelle flails as she feels the heat surge upward around her, squirming her way off out from under the large man’s full weight the brunette looks wide eyed around before spotting, “Kaylee!” She shouts and begins to make her way over before the wild arrival of Woods happens and the pyrokinetic is diving behind cover, “Shit shit,” Once Peter makes his suggestion to Magnes, his cousin’s eyes happen to be on that vortex spinning above them ripping robots apart and her mouth drops, “No no nonono— you guys! There is a Ruiz hole right above us! It’ll eat you!” and Isa is fairly certain it isn't a powered portal getting swooped up into that?!?

The pyro clenches her fists and readjusts that practically ruined backpack she's still carrying and winces as she slides over to look at the impending robots. The negation has worn off and with the help of Peter’s.. rainbow touch. Isa flicks a finger out and a wave of fire follows after, thick black smoke trailing with it.

Briefly closing her eyes she tries to channel her emotions, her anger the way that Kaito had taught her but she was a fair bitter at his methods and so instead she just throws her hand out as a spiral of flames gather in the circle, reaching into her bag with her free hand she pulls out a smashed bottle of her moonshine only half of the liquor left inside and smashes it in front of her. A jet of fire lights the puddle of liquid up and Isa adopts a wide stance as she moves her arms around in a circular motion, drawing the fire up to her waiting palms little by little her stare straight ahead at the robots heading their way. Isa watches the flames in a moment of fascination and they reflect in hazel eyes, it will never get old.

When the fireball is complete Isabelle sends it sailing forward at one of the Centurions. Rapidly wheeling her arms around and breathing deeply she dips and brings forth another fireball from the moonshine fueled fire in front of her. Sending that racing toward that same Centurion to join its twin flame, Isabelle readies a third and fourth, the hovering orbs of fire sputtering and roaring back to life and the pyrokinetic grinds her teeth in concentration.

Magnes doesn't hesitate to hold a hand out to Peter, entirely removing his weight as he considers his next move.

He feels his ability coming back even more, and stares down a horde of those robots. "Is that Woods? Alright, I'm going ahead with the ones up here that no one's too close to, I don't want to hurt anyone in the process of doing this."

He starts to walk toward the Centurions, causing more and more debris to swirl around him the further he gets away from the ground, lifting up parts into his orbit to serve as both defense and offense.

In this journey, over time, he's realized that the most natural way to use his ability is to simply create an orbit, and spin. So rather than push his already weakened ability to do anything fancy, he does just that, he starts to run into the Centurions with a cloud of very sharp junk that's all been made a bit heavier.

Whenever a Centurion enters his orbit, he tries to suck that in with the rest of the debris and make the orbit even more deadly, his intention essentially being to turn this into an incredibly violent Katamari Damacy.

This is something he'd normally avoid because he usually finds himself fighting humans, but with robots and bombed out buildings, he can just let loose.

Unlike the counterpart that Peter might be familiar with, this Magnes is all about his brute force.

Luther stares up at the sudden appearance of the pitch black portal that is El Umbral, noting the effect of it. And that he'd very much not want to join the Centurions in that fate. His overview of the field, though, has the man scowling further in realizing he's not likely to have enough ammunition in the gun held in his hands. That Magnes is even trying to draw more of them towards him gets Luther shaking his head. And this many robots, along with a Harvester, it's an unsettling thought that passes through his mind for how to handle the situation. Until he looks to the heavens, and finds a point of guidance.

The storm's battering rains and roiling energy in the air couples with his own power and focus, pulling into an invisible attack as Luther aims his focus to the center of the pinned down, surrounded group. Raised hand closes into a fist, and he unleashes an EMP pulse of energy, radiating outward towards the remnant Centurion robots in an attempt to fry their circuits while leaving the rest of the people unharmed. Well… Hopefully nobody has a pacemaker.

"I suppose that's an answer."

The statement is a grumbled response to Woods being pinned down, Ling rolling her eyes at the dramatics of it. Even with all the trials of their last home, she had gotten used to the most dramatic person in her life being Kain. This is already a bit of a shock to the system.

She hates it.

Smoke begins to swirl around her, trying her best to stick close to Peter and Lynette - they, at least, seem to have the best idea of how to approach this robotic hell march. Whisps of dark, black smoke swirl around Ling's fingers, before coalescing back into the knife. She studies the robots, watching the others make short work of them, looking for weaknesses she can exploit.

Sometimes killing a machine isn't any different from killing a person. You just need to know where to twist the knife.

Lynette looks over her shoulder when Peter addresses Magnes. And when Isa's warning doesn't get them to stop, she turns back to the vortex, distressed. It's in flux, growing and shrinking without her say so. Mateo talked about this, both of them, how sometimes it seemed like it wanted to open up and take everything. She can't quite get her words together, and she also can't quite manage to close El Umbral on command. The noise in the back of her throat sounds mostly like a whimper and she drops roughly to her knees.

But her focus is upward, toward the sky and the storm like she's asking it for help. And since that's where she's looking, that's where the other portal opens. And once it does, the portal stops pulling everything toward it. The noise of gnashing teeth and metallic crunches is replaced with a cool silence.

She ends up needing her hands to keep her upright, but at least a weightless Peter won't get eaten alive.

A single, seething ball of flame consumes one of the Centurions in a roaring conflagration. The flames cause rubber hoses to melt, wiring to warp and bend, circuit boards to sizzle. The outer titanium shells of the machines smoke with heat as it's paint boils off as acrid, black smoke. Peter watches the fire, and realizes one fireball isn't enough. His eyes turn to the portal Lynette inexplicably created and a plan comes together.

Though they hadn't planned on it in advance, the Resistance strike force and the wayward travelers work together in perfect synchronization. As Magnes renders the machines weightless, able to pinpoint them as they alight off of the ground, Luther’s EMP shockwave ripples through them, disabling unshielded circuitry and staggering the machines as they spark, sputter, and attempt to come back online with shielded, redundant systems only. But before that can happen, while they're limp and convulsing in the air, Peter plucks them up one by one with telekinesis and hurls them into the lower portal, causing the machines to appear in the sky and rapidly plummet to the ground where they shatter into broken pieces of brittle metal and carbon-fiber.

In the Harvester, Kaylee stares up at Tyler, who only she can see. He looks down to his hands, lips parted in abject confusion. A moment later, however, someone else distracts her. “Hey!” Woods claps a hand down on Kaylee’s shoulder, jerking her out of a catatonic stupor. There is no Tyler in front of her, just smoke and wreckage and injured people. “Less daydreamin’, more lookin’ for the screamin’,” Woods helpfully says now that he's not pinned down.

As the last of the Centurions comes crashing through the portal, Peter turns to Isabelle and tips his chin up into a nod. In spite of the machines being so roughly thrown around, some still reach and grasp and fumble for their lost firearms. His brows furrow and jaw sets as he makes one request of Isabelle:

Slag ‘em.

Completely and utterly out of character for the telepath, there is a small shriek of fear when that hand comes down on her shoulder. Kaylee had been so focused on Tyler… or… the ghost of Tyler… that she didn’t hear him coming close; mentally or otherwise. Turning to snapped at whoever it is, the woman is brought up short by the sight of James Woods. The last time she had seen his face was on the march to the Vanguard strong hold. He never came back from that. Eyes widen slightly at the sight of him. “James?” she whispers out in surprise. Then a blink a moment later as she realizes this isn’t her James, but a different one from a different time. Giving a shake of her head to clear it, she looks back behind her.

No one there…

“Sorry,” Kaylee offers lamely, a hand moving to press to the side of her head. “I thought I saw…” Her eyes focus on Tyler’s corpse, brows furrowing. “You didn’t see…?” She gives an frustrated huff as she trails off. “Nevermind. Clearly, I’m going insane and startin’ to see things.” Turning back to the sheet of metal she had been trying to lift, she grabs it and looks expectantly at Woods. “Help me with this. I can hear someone under here. They are unconscious, but alive.”

Kaylee will do her best to convince them to let her bring Tyler’s body. He doesn’t deserve to be bleft there, he deserved a proper burial after all he sacrificed for a group of strangers. For now, she’ll do her best to save the living from the same fate.

Later, Kaylee will have to figure out what the hell is wrong with her.

Walking up to the gathering, Luther uses boot and rifle to stomp or shoot what remnant Centurions are actively still trying to grab for a gun. Which he gathers a few along the way, tossing them into a sack and slinging it over his shoulder like a demented wartime Santa Claus. "Anybody who wants a hot meal in five better grab a fucking gun from a tin man, 'cause that's gonna be your ticket onto the bus!" he calls out. He sounds serious, too, looking expectantly around and waiting to see if all the commotion is about to drop another wave upon them.

He looks to the downed Harvester, then to Peter. "'Still only counts as one'," the man snorts in reference. And then, seeing Kaylee struggling with some rescue effort, he heads over to help her and Woods with the lifting.

It isn't without pain that Ling moves, using a half smoky gorm and staying as close to Peter as she can manage to get a few strikes in on the bots, using her knife to pry off joints and cut lines exposed by damage during the fighting - doing the cleanup, so to speak. But with that take care off, she looks back to the others with narrowed, angry eyes.

But, if there's one thing she's learned, there's a time and a place. And she will have both later, she'll make sure of it. But for now she keeps quiet as she pulls up one of the guns and Luther's instruction, and proceeds to move to join Luther and Peter. They seem to know what they're doing. Hopefully those appearances wouldn't prove deceiving.

The portals hold as long as Lynette can manage, but it's clearly a strain on her. She doesn't even try to get herself back to her feet, she just focuses on breathing and on the crumbling asphalt under her. But it doesn't hold forever, however it might feel to her.

A flash of white light is all that marks the moment they snap shut. One moment they're open, the next they're not. Lynette can't hold herself up anymore and ends up rolling onto her back as she tries to regain enough strength to get up. But it's difficult when her mind lingers on the question:

Is she alone again?

Magnes continues to spin the debris and robots faster and faster as his ability starts to strengthen. Then, as he collects more of the robots, rather than waiting for Peter to grab them all a few at a time, he suddenly shifts the direction of his orbit. He does it very, very suddenly, like someone slamming on the breaks, with the intent of wrecking the machines that were stuck in it. "I can only keep this up for so long, I just strained myself opening a portal…"

Thankfully, he won't need to. The last of the Centurions come crashing down to the street, drawn down by the orbit of Magnes’ gravitokinesis, shattering to thousands of million dollar components with each impact. Peter takes a step forward, cutting off the amplification aura and letting Magnes’ ability settle back down. He squints at the younger man in the rain, smiling crookedly.

“Not bad, but I'm used to you being way more mellow.” Peter says with a look up the road. It was easy to be light-hearted today, after what mostly amounts to a success. Because up ahead he can see headlights flashing in the night, and knows that help is on the way. Nonetheless, he picks up a gun from the ground with a telekinetic grasp and locks back a round in the chamber.

“You heard Bellamy,” Peter calls out as he steps away from Magnes and over toward Kaylee, watching her for a moment and then looking down to the street. “Those lights are the way home, and if we stick together, we all might just live long enough to see it.”

Woods comes stepping out from behind a piece of burning Harvester wreckage, helping a limping young woman over. “I count twelve corpses, eight local survivors, plus these outsiders. All well an' counted. Plenty of room on the ol rust bucket.”

Peter nods to Woods, then looks over to Eli and Luther with a nod. “Good timing, guys. We probably don't have long before they sent Hunters out to figure out what happened.” He looks toward the encroaching headlights of a now audible vehicle approaching.

“Let's pack it up,” Peter says with a coarse voice, “because we’re on a long road from here.”

As the headlights wash over the wreck of the Harvester in the pouring rain, Peter raises a hand to shield his eyes, and then turns his back on the vehicle and starts walking ahead of it, looking to see who needs help and who can get loaded in on their own. The armor-plated bus that comes tumbling to a stop with a hiss of hydraulic breaks looks like an old, refitted school bus. The driver slides the door open, and echoes Luther’s words of wisdom.

“No gun, no ride.”

It's going to be a very long road.

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