Can't Outrun the Speed of Light


aria_icon.gif baxter_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif felix_icon.gif f_niles_icon.gif

Gio NPCed by Baxter, Aria by Niles

Scene Title Can't Outrun the Speed of Light
Synopsis Or the inevitability of prophecy. Told futures come to pass, but not in exactly the right way. People gather to prevent Aria Baumgartner's murder. They meet a new villain in Niles.
Date May 1, 2009

IFC Center, Greenwich Village

It's Friday night and the orange and white glow of the IFC marquee illuminates the street. The black letters display in a clear, sans serif font what's playing inside.




There is a round, faced clock oddly similar to the one in Cat's vision across the street from the theatre.

It's about quarter after seven when a somewhat edgy looking Aria walks up towards the theatre, her boyfriend Gio beside her. Her faded blue hair is loose and she wears a punky faux snakeskin jacket with an asymmetrical collar and several black zippers. She has a purse with big eyelets in the strap slung over her shoulder and is wearing a very large pair of pink star-shaped earrings. On her feet are a pair of painted Doc Martens. It's identical to what she's wearing in Sylar's prophetic painting.

Either the girl has a small wardrobe (unlikely for a punk) or they do indeed have the right night. The couple make their way up to the ticket booth.

She's present, lurking where she can keep sight of Aria without drawing much attention from the police present. Cat is clothed in a way not to stand out from the majority of attendees, also for the mid-spring weather. At the sight of Aria and Gio, she takes a step or two in that direction with the intention of keeping her in view. The clock across the street is noticed, and she inwardly wonders if it was indeed just a metaphor that it broke in the vision. But, she muses, the vision was in the seating area. Things aren't matching up precisely.

It's an interesting conundrum Elisabeth finds herself in. Having to pass along to Felix the information about a prophetic painting that foretells the death of this woman is … complicated. But he didn't seem terribly surprised either, so when he rounded up Baxter to round out their group and decided that we'd head for the theatre just in case, Liz was actually all for it. They're not exactly dressed for the theater, but at least it's black. Black slacks, black blazer, soft lavender blouse beneath. Her badge is at her waist and her weapon in the back of her pants though she'd rather have her front-carry inner pants holster about now. Cat's description of the painting included the clock, so as they mingle in the people arriving for this showing, Liz murmurs to her companions, "I still don't even know if we're here on the right night."

Though ironically, Fel already knew about it, yes. He's in that horrible, loud Hawaiian shirt, over a t-shirt and khakis. Preppy, rather than that 'Hey I am Totally John Law' suit. His badge is in a pocket, and his Sig is riding comfortably at the small of his back. "I feel like I inadvertantly costumed forthat weird remake of Romeo and Juliet," he mutters to Liz. "I think this is it."

Several walls and hallways away, the projection boothe is being manned by a seventeen-year-old part-timer and one Jordan Baxter, who is hangin' out. Insofar as he has all of his parts safely tucked in, underneath armor (under his perfectly inconspicuous jacket), a cup (in his pants), but he isn't doing a lot until the people arrive.

If you'll pardon his French: cars are fucking slow. Peter Pan had traveled by sky, naturally, and he failed to actually alight at any point of the journey. His wiry legs are folded, cross-legged, into a Lotus position, but his backside and calves connect with nothing but empty air. There is a radio inside his lapel and a photograph of himself on his lap. He is signing an autograph for the intern's girlfriend, amid much mumbled gratitude.

"Here you go, bro," he says, handing it over with the pen, beaming. He glances around the empty rows of theater seats, punctuated here or there by an usher with a mop or a flashlight. "What is this movie about, anyway? Any decent women in it?"

Aria looks around, searching the crowd that's starting to gather for familiar faces. But she doesn't spot Cat, Liz or Felix. They must be doing their jobs well. She and Gio shuffle up to the booth and buy their tickets, then mumble in low tones to each other. The blue-haired telepath has a sick churning in her stomach.

It's like going to your own funeral. She can still remember the details of the vision that Cat projected to her. "I feel something strange," she mumbles to the gaunt Italian. "Someone familiar but…" her face tightens. "I'm being foolish. It is my imagination. These visions of death crawl into my brain." She stomps off towards the concession.

In the booth, the projectionist named Tim makes a face at Baxter. "Fuck if I know, man. Shit's all in German. Not even any subtitles. Why the fuck they did that I have no idea. Some kind of Oscar winner though. Not Indy enough for tits."

Elisabeth glances at Felix's clothes and smirks. "I can't believe you wore that. Lee let you out of the house looking like that?" She shakes her head and resumes looking around the crowd uneasily. "I feel naked without my armor," she comments. But with what she's wearing, it would have been far too obvious that she was wearing it. "Especially given what happened to Marks," she murmurs under her breath. Call her paranoid, but really … there's a reason cops get body armor, dammit. She nods toward Aria when the woman appears and murmurs, "There she is. You want to follow her in, or stay out here?"

"I'll stay out here. Look at me, dressed like this, I can't hide in anything short of a drag review," Felix says, bluntly. "And me, too. I heard about Marks. Poor bastard," he says, flicking agrim look at Liz.

Already having her tickets, Cat moves a few moments after Aria does, also headed for the concession but a different area of it than the woman she's concerned with chooses. If Aria spots her now, she does, if not that's perfect. The goal is to not let on anything might be out of place for anyone after the German speaking telepath.

"Lame," Baxter commiserates, despite being beatifically aware that they probably weren't going to make it very far through the movie enough to see boobies even if there were boobies, unless they were all that gratuitous, and the Oscars tend to be a little too socially aware for that. There's a beat's pause. He articulates curiosity with a lofty yellow eyebrow. "What is Indie enough for tits? You have any title recommendations?"

He isn't on-duty until Elisabeth says so.

Gio, on the other hand, has found his duties toward his girlfriend rather permeating as of late; not in any unpleasant way. He's the gaunt Italian beside her, his dark-haired head and swarthy coloring a complementary palette to the striking dye in her hair and porcelain pallor. He has a long, thin scar spanning the middle of his face, right across the bridge of his nose, so geometrically balanced it almost looks surgical.

It doesn't obfuscate the worry in his expression. "It was probably just a schizophrenic wandering around off her meds or some shit," he says, following Aria to the counter. "You remember what runoff from psychotics is like. It's just neurochemical bullshit. I've got you." And he does, an arm around her shoulders and a crumpled green paper bill up to finance her choice in soda and popcorn. He nudges her ear with his mouth, then glances over his shoulder.

She might be spotted when Gio glances over his shoulder, Cat is in the area, nonchalantly stepping up to make a purchase of popcorn. Everything and everyone present in sight has been committed to memory, and she's alert. Money is handed over when the time comes; if Gio looks her way she acts as if she never saw him or his girlfriend before.

Aria does spot Cat, or rather, she senses something familiar in the woman's mind. She uses her ability to reach out to her. Thank you for coming. Though she doesn't out the woman by looking directly at her. In fact, she only gets the briefest of moments of eye contact as she and Gio head into the theatre. The low light of the cavernous space beyond feels like a tomb. It's hard not to believe that all is inevitable, that she will die tonight no matter what. Or perhaps thinking so creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. No matter how many times she's turned this over in her head, she can't decide whether to act normally or act in a paranoid fashion.

She finds Gio's closeness more of a burden than a comfort. He looms above her like a thin, worrying reed. "Two months at community college psychology doesn't qualify you to make those kinds of observations, Gio." Jee-yoch. She has a fairly clean accent, but she pronounces certain words like a true native German speaker. With one last glance over her shoulder, the pair make their way into the theatre along with the first handful of patrons.

Up in the projection booth, Tim is engaged. Baxter has mentioned his very favorite subject. He starts to list off all the best foreign films that have quality 'artful' nudity.

Outside, a man approaches. He looks to all the world like any other patron. He doesn't stalk, he isn't dressed any differently than the people around him. Sure, he's alone, but he could easily be meeting friends inside, or seeing the film solo. Niles Wight is dressed in a nondescript calf-length jacket, a patterned shirt, blue jeans.

They do say that killers seem so normal.

With confident, casual strides, he moves in and towards the ticket booth. The concession is bypassed as he slides into the theatre with a glut of new patrons.

Outside, high on the building with the clock, there's the faintest flicker of blue energy. A sentinel - a part of Niles' fractured self standing watch.

There's a faint smile from Elisabeth, not an amused one. "Hated her guts about three-quarters of the time, but … she was good at her job, and you gotta respect that," she says quietly. She slants another look at Felix and rolls her eyes. "Some days, I can't believe you actually worked undercover all the time at one point," she confides in him with a grin. "All right. I'll follow them in." Her eyes skim the crowd and she actually notes Cat's movement as well — the brunette's presence was expected, though. Liz moves to head into the theatre, staying apart from both Aria and Gio as well as Cat. Her blue eyes skim the crowd incessantly, searching for anything that looks out of place. And she turns on those wonderful listening ears, too, filtering out the background noise levels to see if anything sparks her attention. Into the small mic attached to her earpiece, she murmurs, "Heading in, Petey." She, too, bypasses the concessions, moving sloewr than her targets because once they're in the theatre itself, Bax will be able to have eyes on them as they sit. She'll be able to keep an eye on the lobby for a short while before looking suspicious.

"I was a very good actor as that one person," Fel says, cheerfully. "I've got pictures of how I looked when I was Ilya. It was….sort of creepy, honestly. To inhabit another life so fully. But then I joined the…you know who," Wait, apparently you can't mention the Bureau in public, like they're the Death Eaters, or something? "And they suck all the subtlety right out of you." Fel takes up station right outside the theatre showing the Lives of Others, like he's waiting for someone else to arrive.

Oh hay, people. Baxter looks up and then down, content to let his companion rattle on about the movies while he employs the re-borrowed pen to jot down a few key ones on the back of his hand. With any luck, he won't be full-bodily incinerated this time and make his efforts for naught. He has always been curious about art. Art, with and without quote marks.

Until then, his eyes are trained to analyze crowds better than they are cinematography. He's quick to pick out the equally bright, sunny roof of Elisabeth's head from the muddling sea of craniums strolling by, and Felix's shirt lunges at him like a punch to the throat. He doesn't bother plucking his jacket open to answer the audiokinetic by speaking simply into empty air: "Copy that. I think I see our vick, too. Next to the big guy, your right."

Gio grunts, his features creasing with mingled consternation and bemusement. It's been established for awhile now, which one of them wears the pants in this relationship— but the fact that he follows her has always had as much to do with her leadership skills as his competence having Aria's back. "A year with you qualifies me to say everything else," he points out. He falls into step, lets her choose where to sit.

The voice in her head is responded to calmly. You're welcome, Cat projects. Her popcorn and soda is handed over, she turns from the concession and moves toward the theater some seconds behind the German speaker and her consort Gio. She spots Niles moving in ahead of her, between herself and the persons being watched over, but he doesn't yet register as a concern. Just another theatergoer among the total number, that one. Nor is there any attention paid to Felix or Elisabeth in passing as she steps into the auditorium.

Once inside the seating area Cat still keeps distance, tracking where Aria and Gio go while she takes a seat at the end of a row toward the back.

Right on time, the film begins to roll. A few trailers for other indie films that are slated to play here, and then it's right into the tense visuals of The Lives of Others. The theatre is plunged into darkness and conversation dissipates.

It's a credit to the film that even without subtitles, it's fairly easy to follow. A Stasi agent, a playwright, his lover. The agent listens to the goings on in their apartment, planned rebellion and the truth of suicides leaked to West Germany. The Stasi agent becomes tied up in the lives of the man and woman and begins to lose faith in his own place in the world. He begins to identify with the playwright and slowly becomes a changed man. It's all very striking and tensely acted.

And just for Baxter, the gods saw fit to show some tits during a love scene.

As the film goes on and nothing apparently happens, Aria begins to relax and does so against Gio's shoulder.

But the man at the third to last row in the wings was simply waiting for his moment. As Dreyman sits down at the piano to play Sonate vom guten Menschen, Sonata For a Good Man, there is a flicker, then a flash of violent blue electricity that surges through the projector. Equipment begins to sizzle and the picture disappears from the screen. The music continues to play though - audio track separate from video, and the tinkling piano music continues to fill the darkened theatre.

Tim jumps back from the suddenly smoking projector. "What the fuck…" He tries to flick on the lights to the theatre, but somewhere a breaker has been blown. The lobby lights go down as well. In fact, the only ones that still shine are the ones that illuminate the marquis outside.

In the darkness, the silhouette of a shining blue ghost flickers like a skipping film slide as a duplicate surges towards Aria. But she isn't his target. It's Gio that the blue-white luminous form surges towards and slices out with jellyfish-stinging spectres of hands. The shape doesn't look very human, save a menacing, fractured smile on its quasi-face.

Oh god, it is him! projects Aria into the minds of anyone who can receive it. She stumbles backwards, away from the spectre. But she knows him - knows his power too well. There's no running from the speed of light.

Elisabeth jerks her head around as everything dims and she calls softly into the mic, "We got company! And we could use a bucket of water, maybe!" Cuz holy shit…. electricity man! As she scrambles out of her seat and into the aisle, Liz calls out over top of all of it with her voice pitched to resound through the theater impressively, "~Everyone, duck! Niles Wight, it is time to give yourself up.~" As if that's really going to work.

Bucket of water? It takes Fel a moment, but in that sort of accelerated time, not as much as one might think. Though all Fel can come up with is a cleaner's bucket full of filthy mop water. But he comes in with it in hand, like Jack in an all-fired hurry toget to the top of that hill. Liz is already giving warning, so it's beyond him. "Get away from him," Fel orders, without hesitating

Lightning raises red into Gio's skin and jerks his hands like a puppet in the hands of an incompetent master, sends him crashing down, off his chair, tumbling into his knees with a shuddering yelp of pain. Elisabeth says something that he can't quite hear. Some command that fills the air and rolls outward against the walls, enough to fill the cold space that the destruction of the projector device and sudden death of sound system had left empty. She is authoritative. Magnificent. Loud.

It's quiet where Giovanni is, though. Not merely metaphorically. Elisabeth can feel it despite that there's nothing really to hear, a dampening effect with the young man at its center, a small zone where sonic waves flatten out, collapse inward, sucked out of the air by an ability that is not her own.

"Little shitheel." Gio's eyes slide into focus, and his left hand snaps out. There's a keening, wretching scream of metal and ripping fabric, buckling stone: one cinema chair uprooted out of the ground easy as a daisy. He flips it toward the ceiling.

Blind throw, a long shot in the dark. It might hit a sprinkler or a smoke alarm; it might not.

Up in the projection booth, Baxter hurls himself up and backward in the air, blowing past Tim with enough self-generated force to make the young man's shirt ruffle. He slams into the booth's door hard enough to knock it off its hinges, casting a single bar of diluted light through the small room and into the theater. It's not a lot to see by— they'll need more before the stampede of patrons stops falling over itself and rows of seats stop encumbering the paths of rescuers.

He hangs a sharp right over the lifted heads of astonished theater-goers and swoops, drops, navigates rapidly toward the theater room's main door, his arms up in front of him, battering ram.

She doesn't hear Elisabeth's call for a bucket of water, being not tied into the law enforcement communications gear, but Cat does have some basic knowledge of scientific principles. Water makes electric stuff short out. Sprinklers overhead, maybe, but she has no means to activate them. Water from that would be very bad right now anyway; it would soak everyone and put the entire crowd at risk. But, she knows, there are other ways.

From her seat she rises, using what dim light is available; some of it provided by the electrical duplicate itself, to locate fire extinguishers. There are several kinds, she reasons, and a public place is likely to have the type meant for all purposes. Including electrical fires.

They know his name. Anger surges up from the very pit of Niles' being. How do they know his name? They may know that, but that doesn't mean they know what he looks like. The theatre is pitch dark and the patrons are starting to panic and stampede towards the exit. He slides in with them after pulling on his jacket and popping the collar up to obscure his face. He echoes his panic and alarm to seem like those around him. In truth, he is quite eager to push his way out of the dark theatre and onto the street.

But Aria can feel him. She spent months tutoring him in the use of his power. His mind, even ten years past, is familiar enough for her to pick out amongst the crowd of people, though the panic in their minds causes mental static and makes it difficult to find him.

He's here, oh god, somewhere in this mess, he's here. He came back. In her panic, Aria doesn't realize she has mentally projected the words from Cat's vision. She stumbles away from Gio, tripping over other patrons, popcorn and pop. Gio can take care of himself. She, despite being a commanding woman and a powerful telepath, lacks in martial abilities. And then. To the left! Linke Seite!

The spectre disappears from behind Gio and reappears as an overlay over Felix. The electricity that the duplicate shunts through Felix hurts like a fucker and stings right down to the core. He's not trying to kill the Fed, rather, he just wants him to drop the damn bucket.

There are fire extinguishers, but the one Cat wants is in the booth. The ones on the ground are for ordinary fires and difficult to access given the press of the crowd and the fact that they are located a few feet from a dim emergency light in the far corners of the theatre.

Another spectre appears midair along with Baxter. It hovers like a silky ghost, then blinks out, flickers and surges through the flyboy's body again and again, crackling with electricity every time it does.

For the moments that the spectre is visible above the crowd, it gives those watching an idea of the size and shape of the man they're looking for - and the jacket, three quarter length.

Considering the panic, Elisabeth's going to have her hands full on two fronts. "~People, CALM DOWN and head for the exits as quickly and CALMLY as possible. Just like a fire drill!~" She can see the two specters floating around, and there is literally NOTHING she can do about them, but they give her an idea of what his physical body looks like and she starts scanning the throng of people trying to shove their way out to see if she can spot him. She doesn't want to pull a weapon in here, it's too dangerous.

It doesn't kill Fel. But his reconstructed and mostly fictional heart is not what it was. The shock has him dropping the bucket - it topples and spills, sending dirty water sheeting down the raked floor towards the screen, his body spasming in the grip of the spectre, before he simply crumples to the floor, barely conscious.

Peter Pan wasn't fireproof, and nor is he proof against electricity now. He stopped when confronted by the ghost, started to turn, but what Aria had thought to herself was as true for him as it is for a man moving on two feet: you can't outrun light. The surge of electricity through his body short-circuits his ability first and ordinary musculature a fragmented instant later, sends him falling in a ridiculous jig of seizures, an incomprehensible scream ripped out of his lungs without the shaping of words.

He hits the ground with a thump. Bounces once, twice, his jacket sizzling. Were it not for the low conductivity of kevlar and dense layers of cloth, he'd probably be worse off than he is. As it is, his hands leave pitted red star-fish prints on the carpet and he can't— quite— see

Gio lurches up onto his feet with more grace and speed than a man in his situation ought to have. He inhales like a broken engine, turns to look across the twisting throng of crowd, the electromagnetic specters flickering in his peripheral vision. He closes his hands as if to test the strength there. A pointless gesture, really, more instinct than anything useful. To the left. Link seite.


He breaks into a dead sprint toward the swathe of cluttered civilians, looks for a moment like he's going to crash directly through skinny blond girlfriends and an eldery man and barrel through Elisabeth fighting in their midst. Half a yard away, he brakes, springs off a puddle of spilled soda and lands hard on the wall, his boots wedged into the decorative striations sculpted into the architecture. Quick as a monkey, he begins to climb toward the exit, searching the crowd with eyes dark with fury.

She can't see it, but it must be here somewhere. Cat is thinking fast on her feet of how to neutralize the source of danger. A glance goes to the spectre to mark its position, then she's scanning for him, to spot the man. Maybe… If she can douse him with the soda she has it'll cut off his focus, interfere with the power use. So she takes the lid off the cup and takes aim at who she thinks is Niles Wight with the contents.

There is also Aria's voice in her head, projecting. Maybe she'll receive also. It's a long shot, given the crowd and the panic, but she has to try. Aria! Focus. Tell the projectionist to find the Class D extinguisher and spray the electric creatures!"

This is precisely why Niles was classified Tier 3 and meant to be locked permanently away in the deepest bowels of Moab. His power is incredibly dangerous and difficult to combat against without prior preparation and knowledge of how his power works.

The replicator also doesn't need to be anywhere near his duplicates to control them. Which is why the very physical Niles Wight is moving towards the exit with the throng. He is indeed on the linke Seite, and Elisabeth catches sight of a thirty year old man with a strong nose and ruffled hair who casts a hardened look over his shoulder. His jacket is identical to that of the spectre-like ghosts that haunt the theatre.

Problem is, he's already out the door and into the lobby proper. And once in that large, open space, the crowd moves like water towards the exit. Gio misses him only by a split-second, but now that Baxter has fallen, there's a spectre to follow him.

A flash and then there's a hovering ghost inches from the Italian's face. The crackly ghost smiles as his old friend once did, though on a face with gentler lines. "Hello Gio," says a staticy, but oddly human voice. "Long time no see, ay? But I guess not really too long for you." A fist swings, but it's purely a symbolic gesture. It's a crackling burst of electricity not nearly as effective as the way he took down Baxter and Felix. What it is, is a distraction, a tug at his old comrade's temper to keep the sound convertor from dashing out into the lobby, to give his physical self time to escape.

Cat has a very good thought, but the problem is, the second spectre blinks out with the speed of teleportation. It's hard to get a fix unless you know where he's going to appear next. There is the spectre speaking to Gio to aim at, and that one does seem distracted.

Aria had been crouched down by the side of a seat. Cat's mental projection brings her out of the cold fear that her own death is inevitable. She blinks back stinging tears and turns her attention up to the booth. Tim the projectionist is confused at first, but she puts her forceful personality to work. Unfortunately, Tim is not a brave man. The fire extinguisher drops out of the booth, bounces off a chair and clatters to the ground. It rolls beneath the seats within two rows of Cat's location. Well. That's something.

Well, even with cops down, the priority here is Niles Wight… and once she spots him in the crowd, Elisabeth starts after him. It's unlikely that she'll catch up with him, not in this mass of people, but it's possible… and she'll take the risk of chasing him because it's her job.

Oh, god, Lee is going to kick him out. That's truly Felix's first thought, when he comes back to himself from that gray haze of near-oblivion. And that is part of why he forces himself upright, and peers around for Niles and Liz. He heads after his partner, though at a purely human stumble, rather than any hint of Evolved speed.

Baxter's getting up. Really. Hand on a cinema chair armrest, tightening, his arm steeling into a sharp bend. Baxter's getting u—

No, never mind. A lackadaisical slap of his palm against the lapel of his jacket is enough to tell him that the radio is utterly fucking dead: one fizzling, dying burst of static. The back of his head meets the ground, and he smells the stink of burning as his eyes seam shut. Fuck it. The others will figure it out.

An arc of electricity lances through Gio's frame, weakening the precise steepling of his body for just an instant. Sends him skidding, snarling, down the molded wall, before he jams his heels sharply outward. Halts his surrender to gravity with a rasping scrape of boots on plaster, paint and velour peeling out underneath the soles, cracks spidering away from the grip of his fingers. "Wright, you traitorous son of a bitch/," he snarls. His scarred face contorts around a spit, a lump of saliva hurling into the specter's diaphanous blue face.

The next instant, he lunges toward the doorway. Catches the frame with his hands, a squeal of metal bending into squiggles in his hands. A haphazard swing of his foot collides with some unfortunate evacuator's shoulder, and then he's up again, pounding across the lobby with a roar, indifferent to the havoc of pedestrians and alerted security personnel. "NILES."

It's a scramble, after she sees the shape dropping from above to land a few rows away, to actually snag that extinguisher. Cat goes for it in a mad dash; time is of the essence. She doesn't know what Niles might be doing right now. The device is snatched up swiftly, then she's on the move toward the lobby with it in hand. The pin is pulled so it can be ready for use on the way.

While moving, she calls out to Aria again. Stay down," she instructs, projecting again to be picked up. I've a place you can go. After we get out of here.

But when she reaches the doorway to the lobby she has to stop, being framed there. Her eyes have to seek out and find the target before she can spray.

By the time Liz and Felix manage to push their way into the lobby, the bulk of the people seem to be gone. There's a few stragglers that trip over their feet as they stare backwards, but for the most part, there's nothing left but trampled popcorn and dropped paper cups.

Out of nowhere, a crackling blue spectre appears in front of Liz. The figure doesn't attack, but rather hovers close, the blue shape audibly crackling with electricity. "How do you know my name?" The voice is deceptively, oddly calm - the kind of calm a man utterly in control, and utterly without morals would use. "How did you know I would be here? Has that little bitch got precognition? If so, she hid it well for a long bloody time."

In the meantime, Aria has made her way into the lobby as well. She stumbles out and mops blue hair back from her face. Her breathing is quick and she darts sharp eyes around the lobby. "He's still here. He's…"

"Hello Kurbis. Friends with pigs now? Tch."

Niles appears near Aria, close enough to cast his shadow from the glow of the light that still flickers from the building with the familiar clock across the street. Should Liz or Felix think of interrupting - well, another replicant flickers to life in front of Felix, hand poised up. One quick shock to either of their hearts could kill them. A quick shake of his sleeve and a small knife slides into his palm. "You know, since I got my powers back, it's been zap zap zap. I never thought I'd miss the tacticle pleasures of slitting a throat." A shrug. "Ah well." He's calm as anything. "Gio. Giovanni. Strange how you didn't actually betray me. I was going to let you live."

For a split second, the scene is a near-perfect tableau of what Gabriel painted. The blue haired girl in fear, the man's shadow above her, the two behind, dark shapes of Gio and Cat.

Then it all goes wrong. The first thing that happens is the third duplicate that Gio walked away from in the theatre proper surges to slide through the conductive metal he so helpfully bent. It serves to magnify the amount of electrical current he can generate and sends a lethal surge of electricity through the scrap. The second is the knife in his hand goes sailing towards Aria's neck and embeds deep with a wet, sickening thwunk and a spray of blood.

Cat has her chance. To spray the duplicates and hope it works, or allow the madman to retreat and stop the flow of blood from Aria's neck before she bleeds out.

"That wasn't exactly how I planned it. But." He backs slowly towards the door. A fourth duplicate surges out to create a wall of crackling energy beings between him and those gathered as he makes his way towards the exit.

Oh shit, Elisabeth has time to think as he pops up in front of her. Instead of answering the electrical being's question, Liz dodges to the side and moves to pull her pistol out. Whirling to aim it toward the physical form of our guy, she says, "~Stay where you are, Niles Wight. You're under arrest!~" She laces it with all the suggestion she can muster, but she's pretty sure it's going to go nowhere — and for the first time, she laments her lack of compulsion power. She doesn't want to kill him; who knows what harm that might do the timeline? But Elisabeth's a pretty good shot, and winging him may slow him down enough for the others to stop him. It's a damn good thing all the civilians are running away pretty fast by this point.

He doesn't dare try and speed through the form that bars his way - Fel's already unsteady on his pins. So he darts for Aria, instead, peeling off sideways with a hummingbird's speed, to try and literally hold her throat together. it's eerily and unpleasantly reminiscent of the time he got shot. The first time. Felix crouches by her side, trying to remove the knife without further damage. "Call 911," he yells, though not to anyone in particular.

The fight goes out of Giovanni then. Instantly. His eyes go wide, his body turns; he ignores the specters, any and all of them, and then he's moving. Running, pell-mell, shouting, Niles forgotten. Aria. Aria. There is nothing novel about this terror, adrenal, his hands tight in fists as he runs, his pupils so swollen his irises are blanked out, black, and the ground tremors like a seismic event under his artificially exaggerated strength.

He skids to a stop in the throng of rescuers around Aria, drops. Starts to reach out, but he stops, his fingers hovering a few narrow inches from breaking his lover further than she already is.

Her priorities change when the situation at hand is spotted. The knife through the air into Aria's throat, the blood starting to escape, Felix starting to assist her. Cat has just moments to think on her feet and make a decision. Such things have been in front of her before. When Rickham was being healed and had to be put together, knowing how things fit and should look. When Gillian had been attacked by Sylar and needed sewing on her forehead… Once again her having taken time to read Grey's Anatomy and some basic EMT materials pays off.

"I've got her," Cat asserts as she attempts to take over from Felix. The extinguisher is thrust toward him. "You get the attacker."

Or just make him really mad. The good thing about having four duplicates out is that there are four extra sets of eyes that can perceive what's happening in the room. One spots Liz's motion for her gun and that allows Niles to move far enough out of the way that the gunshot grazes, cuts a toothy line along his arm, but the bullet does not embed. Almost as soon as the bullet leaps from the end of the gun, a duplicate slices through the air and jolts Elisabeth's body with enough electricity to knock the cop unconscious. He clutches his arm and bellows out, "ANY of you try to follow me and I'll fry her heart in her chest."

Aria convulses, gurgles a sick, wet sound. Blood trickles from her mouth and clings to blue-stained hair. She stares up at Gio, eyes almost unbearably sad. She projects, blindly, but it's meant for Gio. He…he was our friend, our leader. Why. We never did…I didn't…Thea…Gio. The others…he might… she reaches blindly for her lover's hand.

Meanwhile, Niles is pushing open the door, arm clenched to stop the blood from the gunshot wound. His small team of replicants stay behind, crackling blue energy to make sure no one follows after. He's not moving very fast, but there's the replicants between anyone who might chase and the man himself.

With Cat at hand, Fel's up on his feet again, fleeting after Niles. But he stops short at that order, bringing up his pistol with gunslinger's speed. HE may get in profound trouble for it later, but he aims and fires after the electrokinetic.

There's limitless horror dawning in the depths of Gio's eyes, downturned. If she'd spoken aloud, he probably wouldn't have heard her at all, never mind begun to process the meaning of her feelings and the character of her warning.

As it is, the intrusion of her telepathy upon his mind is the only way he can and does get it. He breathes out, and it's half curse, half sob. "I don't know," he admits, finally, what he should have admitted days ago instead of brushing off her concerns and insistently shoving mollification at her querulous fear. "I don't know. I—" he cuts off, abrupt as a gunshot, when the speedster lifts off to do exactly that.

Lifts his head, twists it to stare after the way the man went. Even before his eyes finish focusing, his fist is swinging, tracing a vicious arc down into the ground, slamming into the floor of the complex. Stone cracks, judders, impact ricocheting down the surface of the floor, overturning civilians and jolting excess kinetic energy into Felix's feet. His shot goes wide, blinking into the plateglass yards to Niles' left.

The extinguisher is held out to Felix, Cat perhaps expecting him to take it so she can tend Aria while the Fed deals with Niles using that as a weapon, but Felix doesn't do so. He fires his gun instead, and Gio is making the floor shake a little. Cat finds her footing briefly altered. As a result the extinguisher hits the floor and rolls partly away. "What the…?" Her eyes close for a moment and her head shakes. Hand over the perfect weapon for the occasion and the FBI man goes for the gun instead. She might chastize him for that, but… there isn't time. Woman with knife in throat. Bleeding.

That copy of Grey's she once read is called on, pulling up structures of throats into her mind's eye, along with the basics of how to handle bleeding. She moves to apply pressure around the wound and reverse the loss of blood while checking to see if she's breathing. The trachea may have been pierced, which would be a dual problem.

Aria. Stay with me. This is not your day to die!

The shuddering of the ground knocks Niles off-balance and stumbling to the ground. Felix's shot bites into his left side and out the edge like a piercing. It bleeds and he clenches it, but keeps moving.

Inside, the duplicate slides a burning, electrical hand around Felix's gun-wrist and squeezes until flesh begins to sizzle. "You're not a very smart man, are you?"

The duplicates linger a moment longer, then suddenly blink out of existence.

On the ground, Aria fishes for breath and tries to keep conscious. Blood, despite pressure, flows steadily. She might make it if she gets medical attention now, otherwise she's going to bleed out. Her trachea has been nicked, but not pierced.

Well, no. Fel….not so much with the clever, especially when adrenaline is driving. He gives a thin, whining snarl, and drops the gun, as all the nerves in his arm scream in protest, and his body shudders, nearly out of his control again. He crumples to his knees, but remains there.

Turning his back on the speedster and the shattered line and fresh instability of the lobby floor, Gio stays on his knees. Doesn't go for his phone, which he would crush; doesn't touch Aria, whom he might kill. The PD has been called already, aid requested; Catherine has her neck compressed, red trickling out from between her fingers.

Giovanni scuffs a little closer, his trouser fabric rasping the polish, and his arms hanging close around his torso, his face suspended in the peripheral of Aria's, a hazed blur. He tries to find her gaze. I'll warn the others. I'll explain it to the cops. But you have to be here to make them understand, okay? Wright's dead to us, or he has to be. You're our leader, and you can't leave us.

Please— baby. They're bringing help. Don't go to sleep.

There will be no taking Aria to a safehouse for Cat, she's busy just making sure the woman doesn't die in the time it takes for paramedics to arrive and take over with their better equipment and more than rudimentary book-read skill. The knife is still in her throat, the panmnesiac knowing that may be the only thing keeping the blood from being worse. Use of a pressure point is out, since that would cut off blood to the brain and be just as bad.

She has fleeting thoughts of danger to Aria from Niles trying again, and of her being darkholed by the Company or DHS after her projection of telepathy, but there's little to be done about it. Both risks are better than dead, if only marginally so.

Just before the medics take over, Cat sends one final projection for the telepath to pick up. I will find you again and can maybe explain. Then she stands, blood on hands and clothes, taking just moments to watch Elisabeth being tended to and see she's safe, before seeking to slip away.

Aria reaches to fold her hand around Gio's. She smiles, but it's a halfhearted effort, like she's smiling up from the bottom of a well. Run, Gio. If they catch you here…they'll…they'll take you away. Go warn them, baby. Go. Tell the others. Please. I'll be okay. She uses her strength so that her boyfriend is the only one who hears that. But then she turns her mind to Cat, though it's projected wide enough that Felix can receive it as well, and maybe Baxter, if he's regained consciousness. Please don't tell them what I can do. They'll lock me away. Niles…that wasn't our Niles. He's too old. There is something… she pulls in a gurgling, wet breath. Sehr falsche. His mind wasn't right. It was…broken.

She keeps conscious only long enough for the paramedics to arrive and to hear the wail of sirens. Then her eyes close. She still breathes, but it's a shallow, warbling sound. Aria Baumgartner is in serious condition. It remains to be seen whether Cat, Liz, Felix and Baxter prevented the prophecy's fulfillment.

But they do know the name and face of a powerful Evolved who seems to have an agenda and won't hesitate to kill.

Fel is too busy cradling his wounded wrist to offer much other than wordless reassurance in return. His mind is staticked and confused with pain, but he's still standing, relatively speaking. "Not the man you know…"

I'll find you afterward. Giovanni holds his girl's hand without daring to squeeze, and slides a penny down the wall of that well before releasing it. The metaphorical penny, and the touch that he pulls away from. Maybe she can hear it plink down in the liquid darkness close to her: a wish. I'm going to run, he tells her, grudgingly capitulating to orders. I understand: I'll warn our people.

I'll warn Niles.

Which is altogether different from what he might otherwise have volunteered: he could have offered, instead to make Niles talk.

"Thank you." The parting word is for Catherine, an instant before other people flood into the space between them. Rising to his feet, the scarred man eases backward out from amid medics and approaching uniforms. The former get a quick once-over, wary; the latter, a curl of his lip. Blood-wetted cloth snaps audibly with the vicious twist that he turns on a heel. He's being shouted at. He doesn't care. A jackhammer strike of his foot on the ground, and he leaps off down the hallway, five fingers uplifted to drag screaming, shattering furrows through the plastic-plated lights of the ceiling, swallowing his flight in darkness.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License