Checkmate - Fade To Black


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Checkmate - Fade to Black
Synopsis When Edward Ray's grand scheme finally come to fruition, Phoenix and Pinehearst clash in the backdrop of the mad mathematician's grand design for the fate of the future.
Date July 23, 2009

The future can be changed. It has always been my belief that we all have the capacity to create such change; forewarned and forearmed.

The elevator doors slide shut and there's a distinct rippling of light and dark to those submerged in the lightless blindness of Colette Nichols' invisibility. The young girl slouches back against the interior of the elevator, the soft white leather of her long jacket squeaking against the metal wall. Her hands claw at her face, struggling to pull off the balaclava she was recommended to wear, and a sticky mess of blood smeared against her lips and nose clings partially to the inside of the mask.

From the moment I set out to change my lot in this future, to change what I know I become to something else, I knew it would be a mission I would not walk away from.

Rolling the mask inside-out, she begins daubing at the red mess on her face, trying to smudge it away, thumbs sweeping droplets of blood from the corners of her eyes. Clearly in pain, she hunches forward, jaws clenched and sightless eyes wrenched shut as she holds the mask over her mouth, coughing repeatedly. One hand sweeps out though, palm out, that universal sign of I'll be okay.

The day I first met Helena Dean, I knew I would eventually die for a cause I believed in. I didn't know then, however, that our causes would come cross to one another. That the future I envisioned, would come at a price so steep I would not bloody any other's hands with it.

A quiet tune hums through the elevator for only a moment, before a low, sonorous hum reverberates thorugh the elevator shaft, shaking the whole car around as the lights flicker off and on. The sound originated from the lobby, a thunderous noise that shakes half of Pinehearst to its foundations while the elevator descends to the fourth basement level.

Sometimes the world needs martyrs, and for the future to be written in a different score there must be one. But unlike the future I come from, the Columbia massacre does not need to be the martyrs. I can don that mantle, and I can be hated by the world, if it means that through the hate of my deed change comes to us all. I will be the martyr, and I will make change. When you read about what I have done in the paper, remember that number — 245,001. Every one matters.

Without a key card access, the decryption of the elevator falls to a ghost of the digital age, one lingering within Pinehearst's security network, fighting off an intrusive force trying to turn security against the intruders. For all the struggle, unseen by Phoenix, that Hana Gitelman is facing, their smooth ride down to the basement levels speaks to her ability to multi-task.

I reject the future as it was written, and in its stead I replace it with one of my own design. Because if we do not find a point of divergence soon; what happens, happens…

"I'm— just going to stay in the elevator," Colette breathes out as her shoulders rise and fall quickly, looking down at her black gloved hands, glistening with the blood she's mostly wiped off of her face. A wet slap drops the mask down to the elevator floor, and she leans back again, her head clunking against the metal wall. Two floors left to go on the descent, to where Ghost detected Peter is, and where everything will start.

…and then we truly are out of time.

"Good job, Colette." Brian murmurs softly to the girl who he supposedly took care of at one point. Assuming the role of that caretaker, the man's hand stretches out to give the girl's shoulder a soft squeeze. "Rest up. We'll be back soon enough." Maybe. The word is practically said though not by any of Brian's doing. The ex-agent slash lighthouse founder slash phoenix operative slash whatever is leaning casually against the back of the elevator. Two of his copies stand by the doors, clad in all black and armored, wielding shotguns and standing at the ready. The 'lead' however is dressed much.. nicer. A crisp black suit and a starch white shirt. No tie though. Ties are hard.

Glancing over at Gillian, Brian gives a little grin over his gum-smacking before returning his vision to the doorway. His hands slide into his pockets as he waits patiently, humming softly along with the music as they continue their descent.

The air around Helena has a certain stillness to it, like a breath that's been taken in and held, like the sky above the sea with only the faintest tremor to it - the calm before a storm. Her gloved hand reaches out to touch Colette briefly, squeezing her arm in a silent gesture of thanks, and then she's turned toward the door. "Everyone else alright? Everyone else ready?" She's not alright. She's not ready. She's doing this anyway. Brian is cast a bemused look, and for a moment, she looks at Gillian. For a moment she seems ready to say something, but abruptly quiets. Nothing she says no is going to be anything other than cheesy. But the way her fingers are tight in her gloves, and the strain in the muscles of her neck and shoulders make it pretty obvious how nervous she is.

"We'll take care of it from here," Gillian says to the woman wanting to stay on the elevator, the raspy voice giving her away more than the mask and everything else. How long the mask will last is anyone's guesses. "I'll be in front, stay behind me too, Brian, we need all of you we can get. I can take almost any damage that might be waiting for us."

Almost any. More than the rest of them. There's no armor on this one. She can heal, she can run, she can turn into metal, if Arthur pulls out lasers, she has a defense against that, too… There's a heavy step forward so she's at the front of the door. A deep breath as she listens to the music. "Fuck, could've had a better tune for this." It could be one of the last songs she hears, you know?

In her head she recalls another song, bringing it to the forefront of memory, and listening to it. There's a lot of good things she has to remember. And a lot of bad things.

The goggles are pulled up, making her eyes visible, but she doesn't bother to remove the ski mask. A glance at the weight limits posted in the elevator are the only thing keeping her from Ironing up. First step out of the elevator, though…

She's alert and calm, near one wall of the elevator. Arms are carried: her M16 over one shoulder, a pair of silenced .40 caliber pistols at her waist, grenades tucked away elsewhere. Black is the chosen color of clothing, Cat's features obscured as is customary on such activities. Night vision is in play to overcome the darkness of Colette's cloaking, comm gear is in place, and her torso is protected by Kevlar. Eyes rest on the Gillian with them for a moment, a remembered dream starting to replay itself, but shut down with the need to remain focused. At Helena's question, she nods in that direction, then lets her gaze settle on Colette briefly. "Thank you," she offers, "and thank Tamara."

The First real trip is always the hardest; Delilah was frankly astounded at the seriousness of it all, and though it began as almost something fun for her, an admonishment and warning later, she seemed to be taking it far more seriously. Not being much older than Colette- and facing what could possibly be a premature death? She has taken the road she usually does in such situations. What is that exactly? Be inordinarily happy about it. The same eyes she saw Staten Island with for the last six months. Despite this, there is always going to be that degree of nervousness. "That's why, if I get out of here, I'm going to make sure we change the one at home." IE, better elevator music. "At least the absurdity of it isn't lost on me…" Delilah even laughs, just a tiny bit.

She's dressed in what protective gear she managed to get her hands on, save for her arms. Her arms are bare to up past the shoulders, except for black gloves on her hands. A mask, like the others, though with the mouth cut free just in case. There are a pair of pistols on Dee's own belt, and one in her hands; the one drawn and the gun holstered on her left are larger, and do not hold bullets. At least, not metal ones.

Managing a distracted, if not somewhat sheepish smile at the compliment from Brian and the reassuring hand Helena offers, Colette ducks her head down and wipes the back of one gloved hand beneath her nose. No more blood, thankfully she's stopped. At the comment from Cat, Colette's milky white eyes lift to her as a smile crosses her face, "She knows." The light-headedness Colette suffers from after the use of her power seems just a touch worse than usual, but the sheer area of people she was bending light around is beyond anything she'd done before. Playing with stationary objects is one thing, hiding moving, erratic people is far more difficult than she thought.

Nothing but static comes over the headset radios from the lobby team, someone inside of Pinehearst is jamming the long-range frequencies, despite Hana helping to manage the communications array, clearly she's not alone in the system. The short-range links seem fine, a dull echo in one ear from the chatter in the elevator.

When the lift finally reaches the 4th basement level, there is a gradual slowing and lurching and awkward sensation of arrested movement a moment before a soft ding sounds out on the elevator and the doors slide open to reveal a plain white hall lit by fluorescent lights recessed into the ceiling. Long, reinforced glass windows are shrouded by closed blinds, windows that look into laboratory offices and medical rooms. Gillian has been on this floor before, and Cat has memorized the layout maps, there's no room for error.

No matter how different the elevator is, no matter how different the hallway is, Helena can't help but feel how familiar this all is. The same faces, the same names, different eras entirely. This has happened before, and last time it ended in so much death.

Whatever is going on upstairs has worked, no security is present on the 4th lab floor within sight of the long junctions of halls. Just one right and a left down the halls will take this team to where Ghost says Peter's last known location is, the opposite end of the lab levels near an area on the map labeled biological containment, but — if Ghost can be trusted — Peter's not being contained.

"Good luck," Colette whispers, rubbing one hand against her cheek teeth tugging at her lower lip. She's afraid, but she also has faith — faith in the people gathered around her, faith that everything happens for a reason, faith in Tamara guiding her here, even as the sounds of muffled explosions begin to rock the building upstairs, causing the lights in the hall to flicker off and on again.

The elevator slides open and Brian gives a little nod, shoving himself off of the wall of the elevator. "You got it Gilli." Winters says affirmatively.The two armored Brians exit first, shotguns leading the way. Moving in a military like fashion, the two men face each hallway and scan them thouroughly before…

"Clear." Brian pipes inside the elevator, allowing Gillian to go first. The two 'guard' Brians stay solid, waiting for Gillian to lead them. However James Brian crouches next to Colette for a moment. "See you in a bit, kay?" Another shoulder squeeze before he stands, going to reach out to take Gillian's hand for the briefest of moments before giving her a playful shove out of the elevator. And then he's reaching inside his suit jacket to pull out the silver pistol. A smile is cast at Helena, and then they're on their way.

"You know," Helena's tone is surprisingly casual despite the seriousness of their circumstances, "You dress a lot like Company Pete these days." This obviously to Double Oh Brian, but the comment is almost an afterthought. She reaches into the holster at her side and pulls out the gun that was nestled there. Normally Helena eschews guns entirely. She doesn't like them, and generally thinks her ability is all she needs. But with the stakes, she takes no chances. A brief look is cast back toward the elevator, at Colette's seated form. Please, God. Don't let this turn out the same way. Please, please.

The static on the radio might be a worry, but not entirely. "As long as you got me and Brian, we got a link upstairs," Gillian reminds quietly, stepping forward out of the elevator once Brian's made the clear. After three steps, her feet are noticably heavier on the floor, making a firmer sound with each following step. She doesn't grow in size, or anything, and when she glances a glance around to either side as she walks, there's a sign of dark gray instead of pale skin and eyes. The iron woman has returned. Not much of a human shield, though, considering she's half way between five foot and six foot, and doesn't weight much. Still taking point.

"Though they're a bit distracted too, she adds, voice changed to something more resonating than her usual voice, like speaking through a metal wall, but unmuffled by the distance.

Using the memory of the hallway to fill in the blanks her eyes can no longer see with this particular vision, she continues ahead, trusting in Ghost's intel as much as she can, turning on the right first, and continuing down toward the hall on the left, planning to go all the way at a quick walk, metal body and all. She doesn't reach for any weapons. She's not packing any visibly at all, actually. Then again, she's a weapon all by herself. Time to see what Arthur has in store for them…

Unaware of what happened to that future version of Colette, because she wasn't there, Cat looks out at the corridor ahead when the doors open, quickly comparing them with the maps she's seen for accuracy. Eyes sweep across the people near her, and she steps out into the hallway behind the Iron Lady. It briefly occurs to her, the connection between brother and sister. One emulates James Bond, the other calls to mind a name given to a former British Prime Minister. The M16 is taken from her shoulder, the selector turned to semi, and held at the ready.

Taking defense lessons, practicing her aim, getting taught 'the biz' by ex-everythings- it will go only so far. Here's hoping that it has been far enough, that Delilah goes back upside in one whole piece. She follows the rest of them out, passing a parting glance back to Colette before doing so. IronGillian is a real attention grabber, but unfortunately, there is no time to fawn over the coolness of being a metal person. But, there is a bit of security in at least following behind Gillian a ways, in case something crops up out ahead of them.

This is an awful lot like playing Doom, isn't it? Waiting for the giant slobbering mutant to round the corner shrieking. The same nerves apply.

Around the corner and down the hall, past several of the empty labs it's clear that all of Pinehearst's workers have gone home for the evening, at least down here. Computers run silently on standby mode, occasionally one will flicker to life, search for information in a database, and then crackle loudly as the graphics card overheats and the computer melts down from the cyberpath battle going on just outside of this realm of perception.

As they round the corner towards the hallway that will lead to where Peter is, the lights suddenly become red tinged, and emergency strobes attached to the ceiling near fire-sprinklers begin flashing rapidly, followed by a blaring of alarm klaxons. The security breach has been detected, and with Hana stretched thin with whatever trouble she's run in to, the alarms have all sounded. But this is only the beginning of how strange the situation becomes.

For the double doors at the end of the hall that lead to the biological containment wing suddenly burst open, followed by a man in a wheelchair rolling backwards and the brief, horrifying sound of hissing and maddening shrieking filling the air, and automatic gunfire down the hall. When the double doors close, they click loudly and lock from the other side. "Maury! Maury!" His chair kilters to one side from the momentum he's moving at, and then swivels as he tries to stop it, only to pitch upend and send Peter Petrelli crashing to the ground on his side, limp legs sprawled out behind him. "God damnit, god damnit!" He pounds one fist into the floor, even as a sudden explosion shakes the building on this level, followed by the further patter of automatic gunfire and wild screaming, more like animals than people through the door.

Struggling to push himself up onto one arm, Peter's elbow shakes from the effort of lifting himself up. It's only there, prostrate on the floor with his wheelchair tipped over, that he looks up to see the black-clad and masked figures armed to the teeth sweeping down the hall. Peter's breath hitches in his throat and he settles on the singular recognizable figure amongst the bunch, of all people, "B— Brian?" The last one he expected to come rescue him.

"Petrelli." Brian answers calmly, placing one hand on his hip. "You look pretty retarded." He notes sweetly taking a step forward. The two armored Brian's move forward quickly shotguns trained on the door that Peter came zipping out of. Pressing their backs to either side of the hallway, they wait.

Nicely dressed Brian however flows fluidly towards the downed patient, his gun practically dragging behind him. Walking calmly, Winters tilts his head as he reaches the man. Bending down to offer the man an arm up, his motion changes at the last second. Instead of helping Petrelli up, his silver pistol presses against Petrelli's temples. His shoe lifts and presses down against Peter's throat, forcing him back on the ground. The hammer is clicked back.

"Say you're sorry." Winters commands coldly.

"Peter - " Helena's hand lifts to tug down the opening of her mask, her face exposed…when suddenly the Hell, and she's visibly hesitating lifting her own gun. Brian is her friend, and what was done to him was awful. "Brian, we don't have time for this. Get your apology later!" Don't make her raise her gun. Don't make her raise her gun. Instead she walks closer, her gun at an angle in a cup and saucer grip in both hands, directed toward further down the hall. "Brian, please. For me. Whatever's down there is bad, we don't want to stick around!"

Explosions. Screaming. Yelling. Peter wheeling backwards and falling down— and …he remembers Brian… and while Brian doesn't remember him, he certainly acts the part. A lot going on, and that's just what's going on for one of her. To think her attention is split in many places right now.

"Brian," a steely voice snaps at her brother, though Gillian fully understands why he's upset, and why he hates the man. She'd actually been the one who informed him of that hatred, if not her own personal feelings towards the man who killed him the first time. She had left that part out of the discussion. It hardly matters right now, or so she would think. "We came here to get him out of here, not shoot him in the fucking neck." Do it for your sister too. But she doesn't say that much, nor does she say she's yelling at him for much the same reason that Helena is…

The voice is tinged with a metallic sound, something very similiar to how she sounded in the practices she had with Peter, though the words themselves are different. She doesn't move to help the cripple up, instead moving to place herself between him and the door.

"I'll carry him if I have to," she adds, not needing to say that mobility is important. It goes without saying. From where she is, she prepares for whatever might come crashing through— but she doesn't prepare for what may go on behind her.

Her head shakes. She's seen this before, when they met to plan for the Moab assault. Finding Brian and Elvis couldn't put things aside and concentrate on the mission at hand. Helena is addressing things with Brian and the downed Peter, Gillian doing the same, Cat doesn't feel any need to speak on it herself. What's on her mind is how this moment of disarray would play right into the hands of any Arthur or Arthurs who happened to arrive right now. There are alarms going off, and the sounds of gunfire up ahead of her in the area Peter rolled out of. She lifts the night vision gear from her eyes and pockets it as she speaks to Peter in a voice of urgency, hoping to get the focus on matters at hand. "Peter. What's the situation in there?"

Thankfully, Delilah has no hangups about aiming the long-barreled pistol at Brian's leg. No firing, but her eyes in that empty space of fabric narrow under her eyebrows. "I will so dart you, Brian. Get off him." She glances between the man on the ground and the door. Yes, of course she's nervous- and if someone takes the time to look, her grip on the pistol is certainly not the trained grip of a professional. Under the red lights and crazy sounds, her breathing isn't so much either. One of the few ordinary people sticking around for the extraordinary fight.

"B— Brian, we— " Peter's dark eyes are wide, voice hoarse at the foot on his throat. Swallowing awkwardly, his fingers curl around the leather of Brian's shoe, "we d— we don't have t— time for," a grimace spreads over his lips, nails digging in futily to the supple shoe surface. "A— Adam— M— My father— " he swallows again, struggling under the shoe, "He released the— the Advents— " Sharply exhaling a breath, Peter stares up at Brian with palpable fear in his eyes as he sees Helena begin unmasking. It's like he recognizes her, but Gillian said Peter had no memory of her. "Helena— Run."

The doors at the end of the hall buck and crash as some unseen weight is thrown against them in the flashing red illumination of the emergency lighting. The hairs on the back of Helena's neck stands up, everything is lining up the way it did in the future: the easy arrival, the security alarms, the next thing to come would be —

"Peter," All the attempts at negotiating with Brian are cut off when he and his clones are bodily swatted aside into the walls like ragdolls, their bodies abruptly moving as if the unseen hand of some gargantuan child was playing rough with his army men. Peter's cripple form is flung from the ground through the air, spinning end over end before crashing into the ceiling, dislodging ceiling tiles before swung to the side, slammed into one wall, then flung in the opposite direction and smashed into one of the reinforced securty windows, spiderwebbing the glass with fractures. Peter is allowed to hit the floor, blood spraying from his mouth and nose as he collapses to the tile underfoot. "You're grounded."

Standing behind the Phoenix operatives from the way they came in, pinning them between the locked doors and himself, Arthur Petrelli looks like the devil in the flesh under the hellish red lighting. His ink black three-piece suit is in perfect order, one hand raised with two fingers pointing where he had flung Peter. "This is a noble effort, but did you really think that you could just slip past me with some pathetic distraction? A three pronged attack. Clever, but ultimately pointless."

By the time they're turning towards the sound of Arthur's voice, a rippling wave of heat distortion in the air comes rocketing towards them down the hall. It's a psychic attack Brian, Cat and Helena are familiar with, the same one that came before they were sent to Moab — the psychic attack of Johnathan Carmichael.

Better trained and having suffered the effect before, the brunt of the psychic shockwave sends Brian's brain into dysfunction as his vision blackens for a moment, as if from sudden head trauma, but he's able to shake off the paralytic effect, able to shake away the helplessness that defined him in those days before he became Brian and Winters individually.

When the wave hits Helena and Cat, they too are better prepared for the onslaught, in part. Experience favors Cat's side, and Helena's mental battles with Verse has toughened her mind to these sorts of ambushes. While their extremities tingle and prickle with deadened nerves and legs buckle, they retain consciousness, which is what saves their lives.

On the outside edge of the shockwave's of effect, Gillian, Delilah and Peter feel only something ash over their minds and send a chill down their spines.

"It's too late for words." Arthur's displeasure grows as blue-green lights begin to spark and crackle on his fingertips, along with a shimmering field of colorless light that clings close to him, a rippling forcefield familiar to Gillian, it used to be Gabriel's. "I'm sorry it came to this." As he speaks those words, there's a slithering hiss that comes from Arthur's body as two fleshy masses begin to separate from him, then quickly turn into rippling and insubstantial shadows bearing Arthur's likeness. "But I guess this confrontation was inevitable," the two shadow clones finish his sentence.

Throwing an arm up at Helena, Brian flashes an irritated glance at her. "By all rights I should have shot him already." Winters explains. "At least give me this." He demands, looking back down at Peter. His face screws up in confusion as Peter tries and fails to explain the impending doom. Delilah goes ignored fully with her threats of darts. Mostly because there are two other Brians. With shotguns. Winters glances over at Gillian, the only other one who truly knows what's going on. A slight nod of his head is given, going to stand fully, he offers his hand. "Get up—"

But it is with that command that he does the opposite. Being flung into the walls, the Brians collapse readily on the ground. The lead Brian's pistol going sailing to who knows where. The other two Brian's contain a loose grip on their weapons, though they fall on the ground as well albeit close to them. Though when Arthur sends out his wave, Brian features relax as if drifting into unconsciousness. Eyes slowly closing, Brian remains limp on the ground. All three of him. Though very much awake and ready to fight, despite the aches of being thrown into a wall, the new Brian is a very good actor.

Arthur. Betraying father (Bill's face drifts through her mind), lying son of a bitch, tried to kill one of her best friends, crippled his son, the man she loves, brutally ripped the powers away of more people than she can think of right now, his smug expression sets her teeth on edge. Is she angry? The sudden increase in pressure in the air suggests that Hel is very, very angry. As she fights back her nausea from the vertigo of the psychic assault, there is a stir in the air. No more words. No clever quips, no snarky comments about how Arthur has the worst case of Empty Nest syndrome she's ever seen. Instead, Helena brings her hands back and then forward in an almost pushing, tai chi sort of gesture, and with it comes a gust of air barrelling at his primary physical form with hurricane force. No more words.

Oh hell. In the back of her mind, Gillian sees that Peter recognizes Helena, can only assume he somehow got his memories back, but that doesn't make the mission any easier when him and Brian get flung around like ragdolls, damaged and possibly nearly killed. A word of advice had been given to Cat before they left. If they needed back up, she was to punch her. That would be their back up. Keep punching her if more's needed. Brian clones might be easier to make for her, but Alec clones come with something important. //Clothes. //


With shadow clones. The one who brought no visible weapons reaches to her sides and grabs onto two thin objects, shutting out anything that's not happening right in front of her. Helena's angry? she's not the only one. For many of the same reasons. Tack on the fact that he killed her in this very building not a month ago. The first time anyone had. He killed her again on the streets of Staten Island. And that's certainly not the last.

The metallic form shifts away, eyes becoming visible as she suddenly ripples with electricity. Electricity that expells from her body in a phantomy form of herself. Defying gravity, moving with quick speed, it flies after the wind blast to seek out the beating heart of the man who killed her. It's the long black object in hand that she clicks. A Laser pointer. Like the kind that someone would use to point at a projection, or point at the floor so their cat can chase around. Chandra actually loves them. But they're not for playing with. The red light slides across the floor quickly, seeking out one of the shadows. Cardinal told her the weakness, after all. And she intends to exploit it.

It's a feeling she's had before, sure enough, having only just managed to get far enough away to use thermite and incinerate the biohazard box in Jersey City. But in this situation, there isn't enough room to escape fully, or to move out of what she believes is the range. Fortunately for her, though, Cat has some resistance. While the urge to give in is present and her limbs are affected, she feels dizzy, she remains conscious and able to act. Eyes move to track the effect of Helena's windburst, while Gillian sends out an electricopy and brings the pointer to bear versus shadow Arthurs.

With an effort of will, Cat sends herself across the floor to take cover and get closer to the metal Gillian. There she will strike the back of her leg repeatedly with a spare ammo clip while staying under cover from lasers and such that might be flying around.

Arthur's physical form is sent immediately off of his feet, flying through the as he smashes sideways into one wall with a crackling ripple of his forcefield, then down to the ground, bouncing and rolling onto his side. The old man pushes himself up slowly, head tilting up as he waves a hand towards Helena, flinging her off of her feet, past Peter and slams her into the locked double doors, blowing them open and depositing her rolling and bouncing into a room where the floor is slick with blood. But there's no bodies. The enormous room is a freight transport chamber with open metal stairwells that ascend the concrete walls to the higher floors. In the middle of the room, a twenty foot by twenty foot freight elevator is designed to ascend the concrete shaft, and juging from the //H surrounded by a circle, it's designed to go to the building's roof. Whatever was screaming in this room, whatever created all this blood, is somehow gone. But the sounds of explosions Helena can hear echoing through the building are clear signs they've gone nowhere good.

In that same moment, an emergency klaxon begins to blare, followed by an automated voice just after the last barrage of explosions from below this floor rumbles the building. «WARNING. COOLANT BREECH DETECTED. REACTOR HEAT LEVELS AT MAXIMUM. PLEASE EVACUATE FACILITY»

There's a baleful, hateful stare in Arthur's eyes as he turns his focus on Catherine and Gillian's physical form, laserlight beginning to bloom on his fingertips in the moments before the electromagnetic replicant of Gillian comes smashing into Arthur. The old man lets out a horrified cry of pain as the electricity slips right through his forcefield, while his the first of his shadow clones takes the light from the laser pointer and hisses wildly, slithering under a door to get out of range from it. Arthur struggles up to his feet, a purple glow surrounding his hands as he amplifies the abilities of the shadow replicant in view, causing a sudden cold snap of temperature drop around it.

A distant ding of elevator doors opening comes only moments before a sudden explosion of automatic weapons fire peppers Arthur from behind. Not expecting an attack from the rear, the bullets rip through his body in misting red bursts, sending the old man staggering forward as the wounds slowly begin to close. "Stay away from my daughter!" The voice is unfamiliar to nearly everyone in the hall, but the high-pitched wail of Jennifer Chesterfield is an unexpected relief. The gunfire comes again, rattling and popping as the brunette moves down the hall with her assault rifle raised from one of the closer elevators.

Arthur's augmented shadow clone turns, hissing a slithering sound as its luminous white eyes focus on Jennifer just as her gun begins rapidly clicking instead of spewing bullets. Th black, amorphous form rushes forward like an ink-black sheet caught on the wind, freezing the hallway behind it as it goes, forming frost on the walls and rimming the tile with ice.

Footsteps, loud coming down the hall fast. "Look out!" A blur of white body-checks Jennifer, slamming her into a door just before a sudden flash of colorless light peels shadows back like smoke on water, revealing for the briefest moment the very human form of one of Arthur's clones. Standing with her palms outstretched and whirling discs of light hovering over her palms, Colette Nichols moves to stand in front of Jennifer, raising the ambient light in the room, causing the red glow to be brighter and brighter, drawing that low-spectrum light around her hands.

The partially revealed shadow clone takes a step back, then immediately freezes a blade of ice out of the air's condensed moisture, shooting it forward towards Colette as it rips through her shoulder like a sword, shredding leather and flash-freezing the wound, slushy blood spraying the tile floor.

Arthur's physical body turns, head cocking to the side as he looks towards the young photokinetic. Two fingers flick ahead, sending her slamming back into the elevator next to the one Jennifer had emerged from, the metal clanging as the young girl slams into it. A blue-green flicker comes next, and a barrage of lasers comes flying at her. Shrieking in horror, Colette raises her arms as the beams of light warp and bend around her, two shooting down into the floor, tracing black burns thorugh metal, while three lasers bend up through the ceiling — cutting the elevator's cables.

The last thing Colette sees, is the red-lit hall before the elevator silently vanishes down a dark and empty shaft, whipping and cut cables thrashing about wildly in its wake. Arthur turns his focus back towards Gillian and Helena, failing to notice the up arrow on the third of three elevators illuminated — someone else is coming to dinner.

Unable to negotiate around the electromagnetic clone, Arthur suddenly moves in a black blur through the hallway, creating a gust of wind in the wake of his superhuman speed burst. Reappearing with a snap of air and blackness behind him, he stands in the freight room where Helena landed, fingers pinching into a vice as he wrenches her off of her feet from the ground with a telekinetic stranglehold, his head tilting to the side as two fingers raise slowly. "You're coming with me," he growls, another telekinetic nudge flicking the activation of the enormous freight elevator, a preface that it is going to begin its ascent.

Peter, weakly, struggles up onto his hands in the hall, dark eyes darting to Brian, blearily looking around the hall, then over to where Delila stagger back with her gun. There's a softness in his eyes as he sees the way she tries to skirt the chaos, he knows her fear. "H— Hey…" Trying to get her attention, "H— Help me up… please." As his head starts to even out, the warning lights briefly all go out, casting the basement into brief darkness, before the red emergency lighting kicks back on, the power is failing.

Helena let out a yelp as she went flying, skidding to the ground only to realize that there's blood everywhere and - thank god, none of it hers, but it's still pretty, well, worrisome to say the least. Even as she starts to get achingly up, she's suddenly seized by Arthur's telekinetic power. She -hrks-, hands going to claw at her throat where there's actually no arms to grab at, legs kicking and flailing as she's dragged, and air pressure starts to build.

Two black gloved hands seize either arm of Brian's suit, and he is uncermoniously hoisted to his feet. Straightening his suit jacket, an affirmative nod is given to either copy on either side of him. Shotguns retrieved the two make their way down the hallway swiftly. Not before the lead Brian relieves one of them of their sidearm. Turning on his heel, the abandoned wheelchair is set upright and rolled over to Delilah. Brian only gives a finger jerk to Peter of instruction. A glance is cast to the elevator where Colette went. His lips draw into a thin line before he looks to the elevator coming up. His gun is raised at it, and he waits for whoever is coming to town.

The two masked Brian's however are sprinting towards the end of the hall towards the freight lift. The two black clad men rush past Gillian towards the elevator.

Helena let out a yelp as she went flying, skidding to the ground only to realize that there's blood everywhere and - thank god, none of it hers, but it's still pretty, well, worrisome to say the least. Even as she starts to get achingly up, she's suddenly seized by Arthur's telekinetic power. She -hrks-, hands going to claw at her throat where there's actually no arms to grab at, legs kicking and flailing as she's dragged, and air pressure starts to build.

With the baps against her leg, there's the sudden appearance of two more hers. Both fully clothed, both without visible wounds. One takes in a deep breath, and knows immediately what the ability she got is. She can smell the fear coming off of the people who came with her, and it makes her strong. The strong one rushes over to Delilah, and Peter, and says, "I can carry both of you if I have to. We need to move. Fast." Obviously. Badness is happening. The elevator may not be possible, but they can take the stairs. God, poor Colette. She's really hoping she'll be okay. She had such faith that she would be.

The husky voice is more easily recognized than anything else. They especially need to move cause that shadowy figure on the floor, the ice that crinkles off it… There's only so much super strength can do to a shadow. But the replicant got a laser pointer too. She's hoping the little red beam of light will keep the thing at bay, if not bisect and cut part of it. It's not something she'd tested, just something she'd heard about.

The second one doesn't know her own abilities, yet, but she too points lasers around, trying to assist the strong one.

It's the other Gillians that suddenly fly through the air toward the freight elevator. While Brian might have rushed past her at first, it's hard to beat people who defy gravity. The electric one crackling with energy and going ahead, but they're both flying. And they're both trying to fly right at Arthur Petrelli, a foolish attempt to tackle physically, hoping the electricity proves as effective the second time around.

Things are moving fast, and it isn't going well. Helena's been grabbed and is heading up in that freight elevator. There are more Gillians and laser pointers, people are moving to get Peter tended to. Cat's feet take her toward where Jennifer fell, a hand extending down when she gets there. It doesn't take long to assess what kind of rifle she has and realize she can't give her more ammo. Damn. Why does an American carry the AK instead of a tried and true M16? Damn. Colette, is… crap. Cat hopes the impact at bottom doesn't hurt or kill her. And the reactor is giving evac warnings, about to melt down. "On your feet, Mother," she urges. "Where's father? I'm heading down toward the reactor. I think I read enough to figure out turning it off."

If there is one thing that Delilah will always be able to pick out of gunfire, wailing, slamming, snapping, screaming- it would be 'help me'. Her brown eyes are still wide and her mouth open when her attention virtually snaps towards Peter, despite the mechanical cries of 'EVACUATE' ringing in her ears.

Delilah moves to crouch and offer Peter her arm and shoulder, the motion being much more certain than say, the grip she holds onto her pistol with. "Come on, love." Unquestioning assistance- a split second of pure kindess in the din of the red-lit hall. It is then that Brian rolls the wheelchair towards her, and it crawls to a halt after bumping into her leg. "Up we go." Gillian's voice simply gets an affirmative nod- yes, yes, just- Help. She does not say it herself, but it is obvious, as is the natural fear rolling off of her.

Oh fuck.

Those two words are the thought that flashes through the man in black's thought as the elevator softly reports its presence on the floor with a 'ding' lost to the sound of klaxons and screaming, hazel eyes widening a bit behind the ski mask worn by Richard Cardinal as he observes the red-drenched chaos that's revealed before him. Figures that might be familiar if not with their own disguises in place, power effects lancing through flesh and walls. //I'mnotreadyI'mnotreadyI'mnotready— //

The shadows are moving, he thinks, and so he reaches down to grab a jury-rigged looking device off his belt, all duct tape, wire and flash bulbs around a battery core, thumb pulling a looped string sharply out of place. "WATCH YOUR EYES!" He, too, looks away after hurling the flashbomb down the hallway, which hits the floor and explodes in a short series of stuttering flashes of impressive candlepower. Shadows can't close their eyes; can't look away from light that washes over them like waves of fire. The two seconds it's alive before the battery burns out should be enough.

His head's still down as he nearly lunges out of the elevator and right into Jennifer and Cat— ignoring them for the moment in favor of the doors that Mrs. Chesterfield just emerged from. Doors that shut even as he reaches for them, the 'Up' arrow lit. "God damn it, Tyler, get your ass— " This just is not his day. He turns on his heel, moving with urgency back to the elevator he'd just come out of.

Just passing through, apparently, on his way up!

Struggling up to her feet, Jennifer's wide eyes are focused on the elevator shaft Colette disappeared down, then up to her daughter as she helps her to her feet. The depleted AK-47 is dropped with a clatter to the ground, and Jennifer's shaking hand grasps her daughter's arm, recognizing her voice despite the mask. "Catherine," it's the first time they've spoken in years. "C— Catherine, your— your father went to go stop the reactor. We— soldiers came, just like Edward said they would. We wer ebeing held prisoner down — " She shakes her head rapidly, digging her fingers firmly against Cat's arm. "We have to go." The look in her eyes, the watery quality of her leonine stare indicates all it needs to. Jennifer is a proud woman, a strong woman, and this is the first time Cat has ever seen her even threaten to cry. "We have to go."

In the elevator shaft, Helena's kicking and strangled noises is like a symphony of amusement to Arthur's hunger-deranged senses. "I've always wondered about your ability," Arthur crooks, his raised finger letting out with a sudden burst of telekinetic force that starts sawing into the front of Helena's head as a thin line of blood starts to flow down from her brow, "To feel the wind, the rain, the air. Think of the things I could accomplish with all of that power?" His eyes begin to glaze over, turning a strange metallic-silver hue as his telekinesis begins to manipulate the mechanical controls of the elevator, setting a course for the roof, while droplets of rain suddenly begin to patter down from above as the roof access hatch, eight floors above, begins to open up to turbulent and stormy skies.

When Delilah offers a hand to Peter, the dark-haired and scarred man lets out a quiet sound of relief, but his amazement is at the multitude of powers the masked woman is displaying. It has to be Gillian, and that means she got Brian's ability before he saw her killed, it means — it means — "I think… everything might be okay." Taking Delilah's hand, Peter is directed towards the wheelchair, landing in it with a creak of the metal. He looks up to the super-strength replicant of Gillian with Knox's ability and vestiges of Knox's personality traits, since that's how the clones work.

The flashbang goes off with a deafening report of sound that reverberates through the hall and a sudden eruption of blinding light. That peeling away of illumination is exactly what Gillian needs. Arthur's cryokinetic shadow is sliced in half when Gillian sweeps a laser-pointer through it after the flash-bang, causing the shadow to shriek in agony before dissolving and landing as two equally dead halves of a naked old man on the floor.

"C— " Peter ducks his head down and shields his eyes, squinting as he looks around, ears ringing from the distant flashbang. "C— Carrying me will just slow you down." He hastily breathes out the words, "I need you to wheel me into the lab down that hall," he motions to the hall nearest to the elevators, "We all got split up. Maury and I were supposed to meet up with Alison, she's hiding in lab sixteen, I told her not to come out for anyone but me. She has a vial of the Advent Virus, we're going to need it." The way Peter intones need it has a grim connotation, considering what the virus does.

A sudden burst of electricity sends crackling waves of pain through Arthur as he releases Helena from his telekinetic grasp, stumbling back along the large freight elevator, one hand raised to wave blue-green beams of laserlight through her electrical form without harm. Considering his options, Arthur staggers away from the replicant's shocking touch, his skin blistering and boiling away from its crackling hands before healing back in the same moment.

Mercury-silver eyes of Mortimer's intuition layered over Gabriel's intuition gives Arthur a canny sight into what is happening. A sudden surge of shadows around his body splits off four replicants from him that shoot to the four corners of the lift. One manipulates the moisture in the air, creating ice along the concrete walls beyond the large lift, flash-freezing the room in a sudden sub-arctic temperature drop. Another of the clones blossoms with an inner radiance, and then lets out surges of white-hot nuclear energy to the walls, flash-boiling the ice into water vapor, and then finally, as he is tackled by Gillian's flying form, Arthur's hydrokinesis causes all of the water vapor to enwraps the electromagnetic clone, submerging it in a globe of water vapor. "Scream for me," he hisses out against Gillian's hair as she pins him up against one of the lift's railings.

As Cardinal moves back into his elevator, and the fight in the lower levels continues to burn on, another sudden flicker-snap of power comes, and the electricity — all save for emergency power — comes to a grinding halt. The freight elevator, running on a seperate grid, continues to roll its way up through the freight chamber, but Cardinal's world has been plunged into darkness, save for the glow of the laser pointers and the flashes coming through the hallway. A moment later, there's a low humming sound as intermittent red lighting comes on, but the regular elevators are still out of juice.

Helena's screams of pain echo through the shaft as Arthur begins to slice her head open. The air around her literally trembles when she's suddenly dropped to the floor. With blood trickling down her forehead and into her eyes, Helena glares at Arthur and hisses, "Gillian, if you've still got eardrums, cover 'em." She's doing the same herself.

A long time ago, Sylar attempted to do what Arthur had been doing in that very moment. And Helena's response is about to be the same as the pressure builds and then…


"You're a good kid, cutie," Gillian of the super strength says to Dee, actually seeming to be flirting a little while she speaks, before she lifts on Peter and helps him toward the wheelchair. "Stay close to me, cause I love the way you smell right now." That's a strange comment if anyone ever heard one. But then she has to stop and close her eyes to block out flash grenades. Same with the other clone in the hallway. But she gets why it happened. Even if the room plunges into darkness again a moment later. Yes, Peter, she's alive. Will they be okay? Maybe not. Not everyone will make it out of this okay. Especially not with nuclear meltdown.

There's only so much she can pay attention to. Too many hers in too many places. Too much going on.

Yet even as the world plunges into darkness, with just little red lights to guide her, she finds the time to say outloud to Peter, "I don't know what the fuck we need the thing for, but if you say so, we'll do it. I'd be just as mobile with you out of the wheelchair as in it, love." Looks like this Gillian doesn't know how to hold her tongue when it comes to nicknames.

The fear wafting off of Dee makes moving him to the wheelchair easy enough. The other one suddenly hovers above the floor, realizing what ability she got, and using it to fly over to the wheelchair and pick it up. The laser pointers stay active, stay pointed along the wall, the floor, waiting for the shadows show their ugly faces again.

In the fright elevator, things are different. Encased in water, the electrical one seems to open her mouth, letting out a sound that must be a scream, while the other her does too. It doesn't contain her completely, but there's sparks coming off, obvious pain on her face, making her fall away from where she slammed Arthur. And it makes her scream a little, too, despite herself. Scream and twitch slightly. Not only that, versions of her have died. She's already lost more pieces of herself, and knows it.

Helena's words give her warning. Covering her ears might not work, but she tries anyway as the loud crack sounds.

She's about to reply, eyes on Jennifer's face as her arm is clutched and she hears it said they need to go, father is tending to the reactor. He's free, this tells her, and the reactor will be tended to. No need to go down there. Helena, meanwhile, and a Gillian are headed up with an Arthur. They need to go? Yes, they do. And go Cat will.

But the words are held back by the sound and light of Cardinal's flashbang, then by the loud thunder coming from where the freight elevator was. It takes her a few moments to regain bearings after that, but regained they are.

"Go where?" she finally asks Jennifer, even as she's made a decision on that score and is attempting to carry it out, to bring the older woman with her to and up the stairs.

At first, Delilah nearly completely ignores the initial words from Gillian, and it is the second half that gets a startled sort of blink while she picks up her feet to go with Gillian and Peter down the hall. She still has the pistol in one hand, but really- what use is it going to be when people are commanding iron, shadow, cold, thunder, wind, and light? What a useless ability to have at a time like this, sleeves and darts or not. All she has left is to follow the leader.

"I had him, the little weasel ran aw— "

The lights of the elevator flicker and die, plunging Cardinal into a darkness that he's not altogether comfortable with. It's been many years since the dark held secrets from him, and now that they do again, it's somewhat unnerving. There's no time for more than that serpent's tongue of fear to flicker out (and feed Gillian's strength that tiny bit) before it's pushed away, and he shoves back out of the elevator.

At the words from Winters, he grunts his understanding, shotgun swung up to his shoulder as he moves at a soldier's march towards the stairs, ending up moving alongside Cat and Jennifer in the process. "Haven't gotten to the labs for the virus yet," he growls to them under his breath, not realizing that's already been tended to, "It's useless if I can't get Tyler back, though."

Super-sensative hearing. It is possibly the worst weakness in Arthur's repetoire. The moment Helena's fearsome thunderclap comes down, the reverberation of the sound around the concrete shaft rattles the bones in Arthur's body and causes his hands to move to his ears. Dropping down to his knees, his eyes wrench shut and his jaws clench, a pained scream coming from him as his nuclear shadow swirls around in the air, swooping down to find the flying Gillian.

Within the ephemeral blackness of the shadow, luminous bones glowing with atomic fire radiate with an extreme heat, and the shadow envelops Gillian, followed by a sudden flare of heat and light as Arthur moves a hand and telekinetically shoves Gillian over the edge of the railing, just before his shadow detonates and unleashes a tiny localized nuclear explosion around Gillian, incinerating flesh from her bones and blasting her remains apart beneath the lift, sending a flare of bright light around the room that causes his cryokinetic shadow to slinks away into the shadow of one of the lift's supports.

The other two shadows Arthur creates move towards Helena, and as the shadow flits and flickers around, tiny bursts of telekinetic energy erupt from it, a telekinetic force slamming Helena up against the railing. It's unseen hands wring around her neck again, squeezing tightly before a sudden flash high above glows brightly, and a bolt of lightning comes lancing down from above, striking the shadow with a white-hot lance of electrical current. When the light fades, a smoking husk of a naked old man tumbles end-over-end over the railing, falling from the lift.

Arthur moves to his feet, hands still covering his ears, the sudden pop of shotgun fire spins Arthur around as blood sprays from his shoulder. He focuses, as best as he can, the white forcefield barrier shining over his body again as he turns to spot clones of Brian running up the stairs that zig-zag around the elevator shaft, firing down from the stairs with their shotguns at Arthur.

The old man staggers from another blow, stopping the slug with the forcefield, flattening it out as it falls to the metal floor with a clink. Rain continues to fall down through the opening from above, a heavy and torrential downpour backlit by flashing lightning in the clouds. Only four more floors to ascend before the roof is reached, and Arthur turns towards one of the Brians ascending the stairs, blue-green laser-light snapping to life on his fingers as he sweeps them through the stairwell, slicing the railing, a shotgun barrel, and Brian in half. The bleeding body tumbles down the stairs, followed by half of the shotgun and one of his arms. The other clone staggers, sways on the stairs, then begins opening fire again.

"Just hurry!" Peter exhales the words noisily, rolling the wheels of his chair down the hall in the dim red light. He rounds the corner past Cat, turning his focus to her, "Cat! Jennifer! Get the hell out of here, now! We'll meet you topside! Go for the stairs, the elevator, whatever! If the reactor's going to blow you don't want to be down here!" Nodding shakily, Jennifer reaches out and takes a hold of Cat's sleeve, following her in the direction of the containment wing and the freight elevator, as well as the stairs that follow it up.

By now Gillian can tell something is up, Peter is acting stronger than he had when she appeared, how did he get his memory back? Was it Maury? Why is Peter working with him, with Maury Parkman and Alison Meier?

Turning that Delilah and Gillian are following him, Peter wheels down the hall just a few doors, turning his chair sideways so he can knock on the door, "Alison— scrambled eggs." It's a nonsensical codeword, and a shaky, whimpering voice responds from the other side.

"P— Peter… c— come— quickly…" The door is unlocked, and as it opens, a horrible sight emerges from within. A small, dark-haired woman that Gillian recognizes as Dr.Alison Meir is bleeding from her pores. Both of her eyes are slicked red with blood, she is sweating it from every part of her body, even her hair is slick with it and some clear, gelatinous fluid. Shakily, she raises a pallid hand towards Peter, holding a pneumatic-gun syringe. With this lab just across the hall from the elevators, the exchange between Peter and Alison happens in plain sight of Cardinal and Brian. Some times, things happen for a reason.

"Alison," Peter's voice is a hushed whimper of disbelief, he looks down at the syringe, unsteadily taking it in one hand, biting down on his lower lip. "Alison, you— you should come with us. We have to hurry, but— "

"Kill me." The request is as pathetic as it is horrifying, and the dark-haired, petitte scientist leans her shoulder against the door frame of the lab, blood sweating through the white fabric of her lab coat. "Please," she begs, lurching towards Peter's wheelchair as he scrambles it backwards. "Please just— just kill me." A droplet of blood rolls down from her brow, drooling to her chin before dripping off. "Kill me before it breaks down… please." She's dying — slowly and painfully. Peter looks over to Gillian, then to Delilah, mouth open in confusion before he spots Brian and Cardinal, looking at both of them helplessly.

A shot rings out from the elevator as Brian steps forward, watching the body of Alison Meier slump back from the bullet wound now bored into her head. Lowering the gun, Winters glances back at Cardinal. "Did you see where he went? Or.. do we just go after Arthur and hope he shows up. I swear that guy is just like a scared bunny, he doesn't talk he just runs." Winters explains as his shoes clap across the hallway. Talking as if he hadn't just shot a woman in the head. "Helena's going to die soon. If we don't hurry." Brian adds in.

Throwing a beckoning hand over his shoulder, Brian makes his way away from the labs whether or not the entourage is in tow. His gun hangs at his side as he makes his way down the hallway, tucking his gun into his coat for the moment.

Meanwhile, Brian's counterpart sprints over the remains of his copy, letting go another shotgun blast every now and then whilst being very careful to remain behind cover. Once the shotgun is dry, his sidearm comes out. Bang bang.

Twice, Helena has been responsible for death.

Dina was an accident. Helena had instinctively used her air manipulation to push the grenade away from her, back the way it came.

The people in the truck who'd been electrocuted on the bridge were pretty much dead anyway.

Now for the third time, Helena takes an action that will (hopefully) kill someone. Arthur - the flesh Arthur who's so focused on the Brians in front of him, doesn't pay attention to her anymore. Doesn't pay attention when she reaches for her sidearm, raises it as she walks, aims, and does her best to send a bullet through the back of his head. Hopefully that forcefield doesn't do wrap-around duty.

There's a loud scream as Gillian is wrapped around and nuked once she falls over the edge. Body parts broken, clothing burned away in many places, as she tumbles and falls, it becomes obvious that she's healing. It's an odd sight, seeing body parts reform quickly while she tumbles, caught in gravity, get delayed for a moment as she smashes into the ground of the lift four floors down. Not nothing a regenator can't survive, but it still stops her. There's no movement for a moment, but the electrical one, breaks free and flies straight down through the floor, after her at the speed of light, reentering her body with a sudden jolt that opens it's eyes again. A gasp of air comes out lungs that had stopped moving for a moment. The clones didn't die even as she did, but that doesn't mean they don't react.

Up in the hallway the two Gillians falter, not even thinking about shooting the woman whom her brother takes care of. Instead there's a twin cry from them as they drop down to their knees. They almost stop breathing for a second, until they manage to get back to their feet, back to hovering. "Son of a— the fucker nuked me." The strong one says, tears visible in her eyes from the pain coming down the link. The link had broken for a split second, even, before coming back. "I'll get back to her, just— fuck," she growls under her breath. The flying one takes off down the hall. Herself needs help right now, too, too.

The one who slammed into ground below the lift pushes herself back together as well as she can, fixing broken limbs as she goes, dripping with blood in various places. She doesn't wait to heal all the way before she takes off, flying after the lift to catch back up again. Her clothes are in tatters, many tattoos visible to the world, mask broken and burned off, face visible. Black hair streaks behind her.

The lift is visible as she races up the stairs as quickly as she can with Mother in tow, headed for the roof as Peter suggested. Cat is rather more in shape than Jennifer would remember, it would seem perhaps part of her rebel lifestyle lends itself to that fact. Her weapons go unused for the moment, indeed the only direct battle action she's taken thus far has been to strike Gillian. But one never knows, the chance may come to her.
Being The Normal One Here, Delilah lets out a tiny gasp of air at the sight of Doctor Meier- the sight, indeed. A woman bleeding out from her skin. That first look will probably be just one more thing to add into probable bad dreams should she get out of here.

When she asks for what is clearly mercy to her, Delilah does turn her eyes to the bullet-loaded pistol at her own hip; though as it turns out… Brian does the deed without so much as a blink. Only now does she realize all at once that he isn't the Brian she knew, and he just shot a woman in the head. Then again- Dee had thought it too. Her free hand clenches into a fist, and the pair of brown eyes turn away with a hard, momentary blink. Thankfully, this also distracts Delilah from worrying about Gillian crying out in pain among the already noisy building, and Dee's next look is to Peter, half afraid of his reaction to his apparent cohort, but mostly looking for guidance.

"There's only one direction he could… have…"

There's a moment that only one thing focuses in Cardinal's view, and it's a hypodermic syringe in a man's hand - standing out in crystal clarity just as it did once in a vision granted by a man far closer to God than he. Only it's not in the right hand.

Petrelli the Younger's guardian falters for a moment with the sudden destruction of one of her clones, and in that moment - everyone else off-guard from pain, from shock, from the sight of Alison Meier's gruesome fate - the thief's deft fingers lay claim to it before Peter can get a firm grasp upon it. It's snatched up before Delilah's eyes, held in a secure grip as he continues movement, barely slowing.

"Just hold on, Gilli. I'll get the sonuvabitch," he states in a flat growl, "Moving to check."

As he hits the stairs running, he can already hear the dominoes falling in his head.

A sudden gunshot sends Arthur jerking forward with a spray of red out of the front of his head. He stumbles, staggers, and then falls limp over one of the railings. In that same moment, both of his remaining shadow duplicates launch towards Helena, the cryokinetic swooping past her like some story-book phantom, flash-freezing the gun held in her hand, but thankfully not her entire hand, as she's able to reflexively drop the freezing metal, causing it to shatter on the lift. The phantom rockets back up and away from where Helena is, and then out through the opening onto the roof. The telekinetic phantom, moving in defense of Arthur, wrenches the piece of railing his lasers sliced free — a corrugated piece of rebar — and redirects it through the air towards Helena. The piece of rebar moves at the speed and intent of a javelin, lancing through her midsection as it bowls her over and onto her back on the lift, the ribbed piece of brown-gray metal sticking out of her abdomen, just like it was in Eve's first painting, just like it was in the aftermath of Columbia.

The cargo elevator draws near the roof, and the forty-foot wide opening on the roof of Pinehearst's New Jersey headquarters reveals a lightless night's sky streaked with lightning. As the freight elevator comes to a stop, the lift clunks and rattles, and Arthur peels himself up off of the railing, the hole in the back of his head slowly beginning to wind its way shut, while the massive damage from the exit wound on his face folds back together. Gasping ragged breaths, laughter, Arthur lurches and stumbles away from Helena, looking over to her with disbelief, shoulders rising and falling from the concerted effort of his breathing. "You think— I'd let something like that stop me? A bullet? I've been mastering abilities for generations, all you're doing is delaying the inevitable!

"Do you have any idea the mistake you're making!?" Arthur's voice booms across the roof as he runs one hand through his rain-slicked hair, "I could have made this world a better place, I could have changed everything!" he blood pooling out from behind Helena from the rebar that pierces her steams in the cold, falling rain, mingles with her blood in swirling patterns beneath her. Alive, but for how much longer? "All you had to do, was die for your cause and become the martyr! All you had to do was die!" His hands wrench into fists, and Arthur's two remaining shadows sweeps across the concrete of the open, flat rooftop and swirl at his feet before unwinding and rising up to either side.

Clamoring up the staircase, the remaining Brian makes his way to the roof, sidearm out, gunfire popping loudly as Arthur quickly raises a hand to stop the bullet in mid-air, deflecting each shot with a wild ricochet of the rounds. "Was that so much to ask for!?"

Downstairs, the Pinehearst building shakes and shudders with a rumble of whatever catastrophic damage is happening elsewheres. Then with a crackle, pop and a snap, the electricity comes back on and then flickers out again. Peter's eyes are focused on Alison's unmoving body, watching it begin to dissolve and break down, her skin sloughing off like wet bark from a dying tree, her bones warping and bubbling as beneath her clothing, she begins to dissolve into something with the consistency of cherry cobbler. Immediately, Peter looks away, eyes wrenching shut, as he curses under his breath and then looks up with wide eyes as the pneumatic syringe is taken by Cardinal. Somehow, though, seeing a man mobile and able to move with the gun causes Peter to halt his protest, watching Cardinal and Brian moving for the stairs.

Reaching out with one hand, Peter grasps one of the girl's who helped him into the wheelchair, squeezing gently. "You need to get out of here," his dark eyes turn to Gillian, a faint smile on his face. "I'm just going to slow you down, both of you. Run to the stairs, get to the roof. The elevators down on the administrative wing run on a separate grid than these ones, I'll meet you up at the roof." Letting go of Delilah's hand, Peter glances back to Alison's remains, eyes wrenching shut before he turns his focus up to Gillian.

"You have to protect Helena for me, Gillian. You're the only one who has the strength to. You have to protect everyone… I'm counting on you. That syringe— it's the only thing that can stop my father now. You have to go…" His jaw tenses, lips pressing tightly together, "Go." He starts to wheel his chair back and away from the other, "Go!"

"Helena's still alive. So is my copy." Brian rattles off as his legs move him up the stairs next to Cardinal. "Though I doubt he will be by the time we get up there." Using the railing for a boost, Brian kicks up the speed. "I'll divert his force, distract him. You do what you need to do. But do it quick." Winters commands and with that, pulls ahead of Cardinal on the race up the stairs.

The Brian on the roof tosses his now empty firearm to the side. With a lack of any real threat to offer against Arthur, Winters does the only thing he can do right now. He sprints at the far older man, hurling himself bodily at the man during his monlogue. A wild swing is let out at the man's face.

Helena almost doesn't notice it at first. When she hits the back wall, it's more the slam of the kinetic force that startles, and then there's confusion, and suddenly the realization to look down, to see the protrusion from her torso, and for it all to flash through her mind. The painting…what she'd read in the future. The delirium of shock belays the pain for now, and it's with some fascination that she watches her own blood intermix with the fresh rain that spreads across the floor. The edge of that is tinged with fear, and she whimpers, succumbing to it a little. Where is Cat? Where is Peter? She's alone. She's all alone. She's going to die alone. A part of her wants to summon the will to pull her off the rebar, but she's too weak. Her breath comes in hyperventilated gasps, and she lifts her eyes to Arthur. "The word…you created…was as false…a creation…as you are…a father…to your sons."

"You really think I'm going to…" Gillian starts, yelling a little at Peter as he tells her to go, to leave him down there. He'll see them on the roof? How? Doesn't he know how much she sucks at leaving him behind. "I said I could fucking carry you!" Even as she hesitates. He asked her for something. He really does remember Helena. And of course what he told her… it'd all been a lie, hadn't it? A deep breath makes her feel better, but not completely. "Fuck you," she suddenly rasps, blinking back the tears, as she reaches out and grabs him by the shirt and hauls him out of his chair, tossing him over her shoulder.

Apparently she doesn't do the leaving people behind very well sometimes. The super strength expands to all areas of her body right now. The other hand grabs onto Dee, and pulls her up over her other shoulder, and she starts to run, taking stairs two at a time once she reaches them. Not the most comfortable way to travel, but it beats walking— or rolling. Two Gillians fly towards the roof, one still healing even as she gets there, legs barely healed when she lands. The sight of Helena brings even thicker cloud cover than before. Not only because of that, but because of words being passed along the communication link that's different than Brian's. Alec's clones still can communicate, though there's something cruder, closer to using the radio coms they all have, really. Peter says to take care of Helena.

It's almost cruel to pass along the message. Lightning crashes down from the clouds, loud bursts of thunder, not quite as loud as the ones the weather witch created, but enough of one.

Helena's dying catches in the air, giving her strength as she breathes in. The flying version of her moves for a wreckless flying pass again, realizing she could get swatted away, killed. She's the decoy. For what comes directly after her.

"Lying. Bastard," is as much as she's able to say as she moves forward at super speeds. Hand to hand combat is generally a bad idea with Arthur, but she's throwing punches that are powered by super strength at him. "You wanted me to be stronger? Well I am."

Three more stairs left. Two. One. Out on the roof at last, Cat stays in the doorway for a brief moment, just long enough to check that Jennifer is still behind her and scope out the situation on the roof, to see what exactly she might walk into here. Arthur's position is fixed, actually that of all Arthurs, then Gillians and Brians, and Cardinal too. She heard Tyler being mentioned. Where is he? Damn.

Her destination, however, is picked easily when she spots a slumped blonde figure with a Sylar cut mark on her forehead and a piece of metal sticking out of her lower body. She's seen that painting too. Oh, fuck! "This way," she directs to Jennifer if she's kept up, as she sprints toward the lift.

On getting there, she calls up the pages of Grey's Anatomy which tell her just what organs if any the rebar went through, starting to assess the situation.

Perhaps she shouldn't have started so big- Phoenix is where she belongs, but Pinehearst is not. When Peter grabs her hand and squeezes it, Delilah reflexively does the same, regardless of if he's a stranger only to her. And just as she is going to listen, the SuperGillian decides that she is not leaving Peter behind- and while she is at it, takes Delilah along for the ride too. The girl lets out a squeak of surprise, and there's not much she can do about being toted up onto the roof.

At the very least, right after she does make a move to possibly get off of Gillian's shoulder simple to be helpful, her brown eyes trying to fearfully scan her surroundings like Pumbaa stuck in the root. Bad day, bad day, bad day- blood everywhere, shit hitting the fan- she could have stayed in the car.

Pistons groan and cables squeak; metal frame rattles up in its shaft, and the cold iron of mechanical brakes lock into place with tidy precision at odds with the mutilation the rest of the building's structure and architecture is undergoing, one more elevator out of Pinehearst headquarters' stupendously durable set, rolling up to a halt. Doors part like eyelids. For a moment, nothing but blind darkness resides within.

The next moment, Tyler Case pokes his head out from around the corner, a gopher sprung from sawgrass. He blinks, both eyes big in his head from underneath the protective teepee of his arms.

Abruptly, somebody else's hand clanks a grip shut on the rubber-lipped door, hauls back against the pressure of automated closure. A cracked voice, a blistered, guttural rasp of exclamation. "Alé." Fortunate, that long before Babel or the organic growth of language divided, tone of voice and exigent circumstance made human experience universal. Two young men stumble running out, boots jarring spatter across concrete.

"H'lena." The name is familiar, the distraught, even the face behind it recognizable underneath the riming muck of too much blood, known to her. The man who stops, stiff, above Catherine's shoulder with a rifle isn't, quite, but the details are lost to the driving needles of stormwater, the abrupt shrill and rattle of autofire at Arthur's stolid, suited shape. Neither the trauma nor the force of velocity of the high-caliber rounds do anything worth mentioning.

Tyler, on the other hand.

"Back off!" Crimson lightning rips out of the man's combined hands. Shot out, in front of him, before the panicky inward pinch of his shoulders, his legs so wide in stance it's difficult to tell whether the hapless amnesiac is trying to brace against the power he's loosing off or to shrink and hide against the ground. It doesn't matter either way. What matters is: he hits.

Jennifer rushes along at Cat's side, dropping down to one knee as she sees Helena bleeding out. The matriarch of the Chesterfield family grimaces, reaching down for the rebar, but then lays her hand out across Helena's stomach, her brows furrowing as the rain slicks her chestnut colored hair. "I can stanch the bleeding," Jennifer murmurs, flicking a worried look in Arthur's direction, and a tingling warmth spreads from her hands as she manipulates the flow and regulation of Helena's blood, "promote clotting, I— we have to get her to a doctor."

When one of Brian's replicants rushes Arthur, the old man moves his hand to the side with a sweeping slam of telekinesis, batting Brian over the distant edge of the roof to fall four stories down to the ground below. Arthur struggles to retain his composure, water running down his face. Helena words sting Arthur with the sharp, bladed barbs that no ability has yet been able to harm him with. He staggers away from her, a horrible realization dawning in brief bursts of what he has become. Fleeting glimpses, through Helena's eyes, of what a monster he is, and how much nothing he has left now that everything about Pinehearst is crumbling around on his head.

Gunshots suddenly erupt from the stairwell as Winters comes running forth, pistol firing in semi-automatic fire. The first two shots peg Arthur in the shoulder, causing him to stagger back from the force of the blows, a distant bolt of lightning forking down behind him, followed by a distant rumble of thunder. The next few shots are deflected by a telekinetic forcefield, and Arthur's fingers crackle blue, followed by laser-light whipping just above Helena's head, slicing thorugh Winters' midsection halfway before the beam flickers out, dropping the agent bleeding and in pain, and horribly still alive at the feet of Richard Cardinal, as the man carrying the pneumatic syringe arrives from the stairwell.

Renewed in his fury by Gillian's reappearance, Arthur's cryokinetic and telekinetic phantoms move to take on the aerial clone, swooping past her, while one snares her with a telekinetic grab of one of her arms, wrenching it backwards with sickening pops, the other flying through her flash-freezing her organs and flesh, causing her to drop out of the sky like a rock and shatter on the ground into dozens of pieces. Even as the psychic backlash of a clone death hits Gillian with all of the force of a baseball bat to the head, Arthur steps forward to engage her in the rain.

"You could have been like a Queen." Her superhuman punch slams Arthur in the jaw, crackling his forcefield, followed by another punch, and another and another. The old man staggers back, then lances out with blue-green flashes of laser light that bends and twists around Gillian as it did around Colette, shooting away from her to harmlessly score the roof.

Were it not for Gillian's presence here, Helena would've been the next target of Arthur's wrath. Had it not been for what John Doe did to Gillian, she wouldn't have had the strength to stand up to Arthur now, the strength to confront him, the strength to—

Gillian's next punch glows a brilliant orange-white, followed by a blue flash of energy that smashes into Arthur and shatters a portion of his forcefield for a moment. The bones in her hands radiate a sickly yellow-white light, burning orange through her skin. She's mimiced Arthur's induced radioactivity… and she has no training with it.

As that realization takes her focus, Arthur reaches out to lay his hand over Gillian's face, fingers pressing against her bare skin. "Give me your pow— " A scream breaks from Arthur, a painful and wailing howl of agony as he lurches back from his touch at Gillian, eyes wrenched shut as he claws at his head, "Aggh, get out of my head!" There are some powers terrifying, some powers wondrous, and some powers that are so innocuous, that their true strength can never be realized until the final moments.

As Arthur looks up to Gillian, eyes wide, the vision of his future afforded to him by the ability of one Pastor Joseph Sumpter, is a vision of a future not so far off, a vision so horrible that Arthur has no choice but to choke back his words and stare wide-eyed at Gillian in the fleeting moments before the present meets up with the //future.

Then, the unthinkable happens.

The world slows for Arthur, feels like it's coming to a halt, and when the crackling snap of red lightning strikes Arthur, the old man staggers backwards, his shadow replicants fluctuating and flickering before breaking apart like so much black smoke, blowing away in the wind. Arthur clutches at his head, a primal scream escaping from him as all of his countless abilities are shut down by the burning crimson lightning flowing from Tyler Case's outstretched hands.

As blood gurgles up past the lips of the horribly mutilated replicant, a black combat boot lifts over his head and to the other side, resting there for merely a moment as Cardinal's steel-hard gaze rakes over the rooftop towards the man who stands there as an angry God. The rattle of shells over the rooftop is like a leaden rain, each would-be fatal delivery deflected or its effects merely healed moments later by the seemingly invincible old man that's caused such pain and suffering - tonight, and too many nights past.

There's another sound those falling shells remind him of, though, and in a synchronicity that's lost on him the memory whose chord they strike in his mind is eerily familiar to that playing out in Arthur's own as the touch to her cheek brings the visions of Joseph Sumpter to bear against him like the sharpest edged sword.

The patriarch of the Petrelli clan is wrong about one very important thing here, though. Gillian is a Queen. And she's just moved him into check.

The former thief starts to move, a man who made nearly no ripples of importance in the future that Arthur would have made, and Don Quixote heads for his windmill. The rainwater splashes under his feet as he charges across the rooftop for the man, his head down against continuing fire, hand close to his chest to clutch his one final, terrible weapon safely beside his heart.

Scarlet lightning erupts through the air moments before he's there, and as that terrible scream rises from the rooftop, Richard Cardinal slams into the old man's chest like a cannonball, his hand twisting at the last moment to drive the hypodermic gun firmly, roughly into his gut. His finger pulls the trigger - the easiest thing in the world.

Through clenched teeth, one word is hissed out through the backdrop of chaos and rain, bare inches from Arthur's face.


Arthur howls in pain, fingers clawing at the air as he falls to one knee, just before the pneumatic syringe in Richard Cardinal's hand slams into his stomach and forces a full dose of the Advent Virus directly into his blood stream. Arthur flails wildly, pushing Cardinal away with an almost ineffectual shove to the chest. The old man burbles, rises to his feet and stumbles to one side, exhaling a ragged and wet breath.

"No!" He can feel what's happening to him, "NO!" Just like Alison, but far faster acting, blood begins to bead on Arthur's forehead. He stumbles to one side as Tyler releases the crimson lightning, letting the virus take full effect as Arthur's powers come back on. "NO!" The effects are immediate with his heightened metabolism, and his skin begins slipping off of his muscle, eyes begin to bubble and ooze out of the sockets, hair sloughs off in chunks and blood boils away beneath necrotic muscle. Arthur, like all of the poor test subjects he has experimented on in his path towards a bright future, boils away like a pot of crushed tomatos under the weight of the Advent Virus.

Sliding down from Gillian's shoulder to have some semblance of dignity, Peter hunches there at the top of the stairs, beside Gillian's super-strengthed form, and watches the end of his father, the end of Pinehearst and the end of the future that he was told was so bright.

In one slow motion, Arthur's dissolving body sloshes down onto the roof of the Pinehearst building, bubbling and melting away in a steaming lump beneath the dark fabric of his suit. Soon, the cold and gently falling rain begins to wash away the remains of his body, leaving nothing but molten bones behind.

Moving out of the line of the stairs, Peter slides over towards one of the elevators that flank the freight elevator, looking across the roof towards Teodoro and Tyler Case. Tyler's hands slowly lower to his sides, red smoke rising up from his fingertips as his irises fade from crimson to brown. Tyler walks over, past Teodoro, to look down at the molten slop of Arthur, then up to Cardinal with a look in his eyes that says you planned all of this, didn't you?

Peter pushes himself up just a little more, able to see Helena now, with the rebar rising out of her stomach, and his eyes slowly begin to widen. He looks up to Delilah from the position he's seated in up against the closed elevator doors, before a subtle ding chimes out behind him. Peter looks confused, starting to try and move as the elevator doors open, but there's simply no way for him to move. When the doors slide open, unblinking blackness filling them like a silent void, a single voice echoes from the depths of Peter's prophetic dreams into reality.

"Mister Petrelli." Followed by the sound of a gunshot. Blood sprays out of the front of Peter's chest as a round from a snub-nosed revolved punches thorugh his sternum, followed by the soles of sensible shoes pressing against his shoulder, and kicking him over the edge of the roof, four stories above the ground.

From within the elevator, a short and wiry man in a black windbreaker steps out with a smoking revolver, an umbrella in his other hand shielding him from the rain. With Peter Petrelli, dies the last of the bright future.

"John, if you would be so kind." Behind Doctor Edward Ray, a taller,more muscular and older Tyler Case emerges, followed by thundrous bolts of red lightning that leap across the rooftop. The sudden shock of the gunshot to the depowered Peter and Edward's careless disposal of him has no time to sink in, before the horrifying power of John Doe is brought ot bear on those on the roof. Red lighting arcs from person to person, bolts of the energy sapping away Gillian's superhuman ability, returning to her the lavender glow of her augmentation, and then immediately robbing her of that.

"I can't have you, or this facility, going nuclear." Edward states calmly as he walks between the bolts of red lightning as they one by one begin stripping people of their powers. Brian's surviving clone immediately chokes on his breath, begins spasming in seisures, and dies on the stairwell from the shock of disconnection and his mortal wound. Helena feels the sky stripped from her, Catherine's memory collapses down on itself, Cardinal's ubiquitous senses are robbed from him, Teodoro's mind is slammed back to less ephemeral perceptions, Delilah's poison secretion dries up on her skin, and Gillian's clones from Brian Fulk begin one by one dissolving into protoplasmic goo, much like had happened to Veronica Sawyer.

"Tyler." Edward raises his gun, and Tyler takes a step back, "Wh— what are you— " another gunshot rings out as Edward Ray fires a round into Tyler's shoulder, sending him collapsing to the ground, clutching the wound. Immediately, from the gunshot wound, his power begins going out of control, and the moment Cardinal sees two sources of red lightning, it all begins to make sense.

"Do it, John." Turning to look in Edward's direction, John Doe's expression is one of weak and pathetic resignation. Everything, as he's come to learn, was for nothing. He has no future, just a ruined life and everyone he loved lost to him. Only Barbara Dahl's ghost in the back of his mind haunts him with an idea of the future, but even she — she's not here is she?

Turning to look towards his younger self bleeding from the gunshot wound to his shoulder, John raises one hand as crackling waves of red lightning spark and sputter, jumping towards his counterpart, beginning what Gillian immediately recognizes as a violent feedback loop. Edward's eyes widen as he walks forward, looking across the rooftop to his mostly captive audience. "I have you to thank for this, Gillian." Without his glasses, Edward looks far older, older than ten years should make him. "That day, years ago for me — months ago for you — when you empowered my ability in the New York Public Library… I saw this. I saw everything play out. For just a moment, Gillian, I saw every possible future at once. Everything, from the moment you touched my hand, has led here. To this."

John walks towards his younger self, augmenting him and in turn being augmented, a horrible loop of devastating power that sends plumes of crimsnon lightning hundreds of feet into the sky. "Arthur wanted to create a future ruled by the formula. That world — it can't be. You know it takes something… something monumental to change the future." Edward turn shis eyes to Cardinal. "Two-hundred and forty-five thousand people live here in Fort Lee New Jersey, Richard. I intend to activate the Suresh Linkage Complex in all of them."

A faint smile crosses Edward's lips. "A population jump of the Evolved of that magnitude, in one area, will ensure the change. Arthur is dead, Peter is dead, and soon… " His eyes narrow, and the feedback loop continues to grow. Gillian knows how it went last time, that when Teo shot Peter, it caused the loop to break prematurely and sent dozens of them rocketing through time. Shooting either of the Tyler's now could have disastrous results.

"Thank you all, for playing this game with me." Edward notes with a proud, smug smile.

"Cat…" Helena's relief at seeing her is palpable, and she reaches out a weak hand to touch the other woman as if in need of reassurance. "Is this your mom…?" she asks with a ghost of a smile, suddenly feeling tired, her head lolling to the side. Her eyes widen though, when they see…"Teo", she whispers, brows furrowing. A little string of consciousness from her blood being clotted by Jennifer's ability keeps her alert, combined with the adrenaline pump of shock.

She watches the interplay between Arthur, Gillian, Tyler, and Cardinal with an air of satisfaction, pleased that her last moments will have the comfort of knowing that he's been taken down. She starts to relax a little, until Peter's eyes meet hers, her hand starts to lift toward him and then…

…and then Edward, devil in disguise. The shot rings out Peter falls, and is kicked over the side. Adrenaline pounds and she screams, force of will suddenly propelling her forward a step only to start to collapse again, a hand outstretched helplessly. "PETER!"

It is as much as the sudden pain from her surge of movement as the ripping away of her power that causes Helena to sink, hopefully caught by the efforts of Cat and her mother. And this, this feeling must be what it is to want to die.

The super strong Gillian had only just set Peter and Dee down when the elevator evicts someone who shoots a gun at him. The gunshot makes her jump, looking back at Peter wide eyed— and then turn to run at Edward— and John's electricity snaps through her, taking away the power that let her carry Cardinal into checkmate, as well as robbing her of the purple glow at her fingers. But she's looking back at Peter on the rooftop.

The augmentation loop is so dangerous. The slightest shift in any direction could have leveled Moab, and send everyone in the prison rocketing through space and time. It leveled a block of Staten Island. What would a loop of Tyler's power do if cut off. And does she honestly care? Not blowing up might be good, but really, she doesn't care.

Maybe part of her does, but she stumbles barely dressed across the roof towards Peter instead. She doesn't have anything to throw at him anymore. With everything sucked away, she can barely even feel the strength she'd had a moment ago. She'd done so much she would've been tired, and now that what was keeping her moving is gone.

It's all her fault. It's all her fault. Even without a perfect memory, that's one sight she won't forget. Everything is her fault.

"This— is not a fucking game— you sick fucker!" There's tears falling down from her eyes.

Static. So much static now. She can't remember seeing the red lightning from Tyler striking her. It's happened before, not so long ago. Suddenly finding herself flying out the window of the house in Hartford, hitting the ground, and driving off in a car she happened to have keys to. Going to the hospital, being found by Delilah and Helena, taken back to her building and soaking it all in. Cat, this time, at least has the advantage of such recent experience and the analog memories from it. She knows she's twenty-six rather than nineteen, though she feels that young again. She knows she's a rebel in a leadership position who lives in Greenwich Village. She knows what she can remember of reading her own Catabase, except the Pinehearst and Primatech bits she put under a password she can't recall now.

The panic is less than it had been that first time, but it's still present. Confusion. Shock. Bewilderment. Eyes settle on the impaled blonde nearby, starting to slump to the ground, and her mother nearby as she moves to catch Helena, to not let her fall. "Mother… What… Helena, what happened to you? Where are we? Why am I armed?"
One thing after another- Delilah's brain is assaulted with things that will only play back in her dreams. She peels off the mask and discards it only after she too is peeled with that arc of red, her face weary and eyes shining more alert than most of the wartorn bits and pieces on the roof. Her hands have strayed, almost by themselves.

Arthur, Peter, the shock of having a part of her taken away, this man- Delilah does not know what he is talking about, in all brutal honesty. Just that this is quite possibly even worse than that old man they all came here to face head on. This Home, and nobody is going to ruin it.

You're right, Edward. All of them know not to kill either Tyler Case.

Not as much can be said for you.

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM.

The cracking of a pistol sounds off like a beacon, seven times in succession, unloading, streaking and screaming through the air already thick with emotion and the rankness of spilt blood. All ten bullets are aimed at Edward, with Delilah at the source. Her will is steady, and her aim, she hopes against hope, is true.

Rounds bury themselves in Peter's flesh with sickening impact that rocks Teo's gut with that fatal conviction for the third time he can remember, and red lightning takes from him all of the eyes and ears he could have used but his own. Tyler meets Tyler, Gillian's flight and Helena's entreating scream equal exercises in futility, Cardinal's shot spent, molten viscera tumbling rubbery between his shoes.

Out of order, but he makes enough sense of it. Rainwater courses red down his cheeks, frays vapor out of his mouth. He blinks at the drone of gunfire, twitches long fingers around the grip of a gun he doesn't remember drawing. Shouldn't, really, have bothered to. His jaws crack like concrete, aghast or maybe merely around the withered embryo of an aborted whistle of appreciation; he barely remembers to blink, looking askance.

Delilah reminds him, a little, of a mother he used to know.

"Buona sera, Edward," he offers instead, hoarsely, either irrelevantly or disjointedly irreverant. For a protracted moment, it's impossible to tell.

A hand lifts, stripping the soaked-through ski mask from Cardinal's head to let it fall on the gore-stained rooftop, watching with no mercy or pity in his eyes the end of Arthur Petrelli; boiling away to a terrible, nameless paste of gentic slop that bubbles against the rubber of his murderer's boot soles. One of his murderers, that is, for certainly he didn't act alone this night.

And then—

And then everything goes to hell.

By the time he can react, he's merely regarding Edward with blood in his eyes, lips curling up at one corner in a snarl, "Didn't I kill you once already?" Then the gun speaks, once, twice, ten times to empty a clip, and he looks away from the predictor with open disdain, caring not even for his final fate. No, he's looking at the time-warped mirrors of Tyler Case, the lights on the roof reflecting pain and sympathy in his eyes again, something washing that iron facade away at last. "John…" A step closer, his hand raising, "…John! Don't do this, damn it, I'm your friend. Bebe's your friend… you're not alone, and for God's sake, this'll probably kill you both!"

Gunshots riddle Edward's body, and for a man who can see the future he does nothing to avoid any of the ten bullets that come popping and snapping into his chest. His umbrella falls from his hand, his revolver from the other, staggering back with a peaceable smile on his lips, blood running from his mouth. No last words, none needed. Rickham's words echo in Cardinal's mind; We can rest when it's over. They knew, they all knew. None of them were going to make it out alive.

One of the doors to the stairwells that access the roof suddenly opens, followed by hasty footsteps of a familiar wiry form rushing out onto the roof, A brown suede jacket immediately turns almost black from the rain pattering down on it, wild and bug-eyed eyes sweeping across everyone gathered from behind the lenses of round glasses. "There's still time." Another Edward Ray, younger, more altruistic, but just as willing to throw another human being under the bus in the name of progress.

Turning to the doorway behind him, Edward reaches out and grabs someone by the wrist, rainwater pattering down on his head as the temperature abruptly drops nearly fifty degrees from what Helena and Gillian witnessed. The younger Edward leads a young woman out onto the roof, her curly chestnut brown locks slicked with rainwater, as if they'd already been outside in this storm.

"There, there!" Edward rests a hand on her shoulder, then points towards the pillar of crimson lightning. To her eyes, Elisabeth Case can hardly believe what she's seeing, believe that the two men standing adjacent to one another are both her brother. The dark-eyed woman takes a few steps forward, hesitating when she sees Helena, bloodied and impaled, then begins walking again, slowly past her.

"T— Ty?" She starts to run, sprinting across the rainy rooftop, "TYLER!" As Richard turns towards the voice, for a moment it looks — it sounds — like Bebe. It all makes sense to him then, Tyler's affection towards the tiny tart, his willingness to go along with her plans, her schemes.

She looks so much like his real sister. And family, nothing can take that away.

Turning at the sound of a woman calling him by his name, John Doe looks towards the brunette running to him, holding out a hand to try and ward her off as she charges towards her brother heedlessly, throwing her arms around his waist and pressing her face to his chest. Immediately, the waves of amplification and crimson energy pulse and crackle into her, causing her bones to begin to glow alight and her skin to turn a yellowish shade from the atomic radiation beginning to seep from inside of her. Brightest of all, the woman's radiant eyes are an irradiated blue pair of pools lacking detail and shape, just hazy color. "T— Tyler— Tyler you've got to stop!"

He feels like he should know her, and his younger self, in such pain and agony from the overwhelming surge of power, murmurs her name, "L— Libby?" Disbelief, confusion, she died in the bomb.

John turns, looking to the younger Edward with red glowing irises, wild bolts of brilliant red lightning arcing and jolting between he and Tyler, as his younger self spasms and convulses. "I…" his voice echoes as if he were speaking out of a deep cave, coupled with a static crackle and pop of thunder behind every syllable, "I can't stop it…" It's a pathetic expression, brows raised and creased as he and Tyler continue to bounce their amplification to one another uncontrollably, creating larger and larger pulses of static electricity.

For the first time in so many years, Edward has no way of predicting what is about to come to pass. The future is a blank slate. "You can, John… I know you can," his voice is weak, wavering, and Edward leaves a drooling trail of blood in his wave as he walks, seeping from somewhere on his right leg, all too copious. Whatever happened to him in the Pinehearst building nearly killed him.

Watching everything happening, Jennifer reaches out with a shaky hand, taking one of Catherine's and one of Helena's, closing her eyes as she hangs her head. There's a tension in her expression, one of uncertainty and worry, and as she turns to look back up and the glowing red light, she both fears, and accepts what might come.

"I— I can't! It— it's not— " That hollow and distant tone to his voice continues to grow, coming with waves of crashing thunder as the red bolts continue to snap and pop around him.

Edward raises one hand, staring between his fingers as the corona of light from Elisabeth begins to grow, watching flares of radioactive energy arc and spill off of her body. "John! John you have to stop this! John you have to stop this right now, or she's going to kill us all!"

A tormented look comes over John as he stares down at the woman, stares at her face, looks into her eyes, and it all finally starts to come back. No matter how deep they were buried, no matter how hard the scars on his mind tried to hide them, no matter how much the trauma from his experimentation at the hands of Pinehearst ten years from now was… the face of his sister alive is what awakens Tyler Case inside of the shell of John Doe.

"Libby," he murmurs under his breath, the screams of his past self filling the air as bolts of lightning jump and spark off of his form, hands shaking and that crackling pulse of augmentation growing larger and larger. Finally, he reaches down and brushes his palm over her cheek, feeling the warmth of radiation coming off of her as his clothing begins to brown and smolder where she leans against him.

"I— " Her face mirrors his, a look of hopelessness and despair. "I can't." Libby reaches up, her hand ghosting near his face, nearly blinding him from the light it sheds and the cancerous glow that sickly emanates from her thin body, setting black spots of crisped burning through her leather jacket and her jeans.

"I can't let you do this," Libby says to John over the growing noise of thunder. "I'd— rather we both die, than let you become a monster. You're not— you're not a monster— you're my little Ty." Her hand comes up to touch his cheek, and the scalding hot pain of her caress is nothing compared to the ache that her words cause in Tyler's chest as he looks out over everyone else here, looks to his Edward's lifeless body lays with arms spread out on the rooftop.

He has to stop.

Turning away from Libby, John looks back at his younger, tortured self. The bolts now encompass the entire building, shedding an unstable crimson glow like an erupting volcano over the Jersey parkland. Tyler reaches up with one hand, curling his fingers closed. "I— I have to— " his jaw clenches, and the bolts of lighting only continue to build towards a cataclysmic charge, "I— I have to— " his hand trembles, fingers clenching together, "take it back."

There's a sudden snap, and all of the bolts of red lightning snap away like severed high-tension cables, wildly thrashing around in the air before drawing back towards Tyler and John in the manner snapped rubber bands recoil on themselves. The moment the bolts meet with Tyler, there is a sudden explosive detonation of carnation-colored light that floods out all vision and engulfs the Pinehearst building, sending Tyler and Libby flying backwards away from Johm. Struck by one of the bolts on their way back, Edward lets out baleful howl and staggers back holding his head, eyes rolling back as he collapses down to the rooftop in a motionless heap.

As the red light fades, John is still standing, though his legs buckle and he wavers before collapsing down onto his back, a hazy red smoke rising out of his nostrils and mouth along with blood trickling from his nose. Libby struggles up, a scream rising from her throat, "Ty! Ty!" Scrambling on hands and knees, the no-longer glowing woman scrambles towards where the older iteration brother lays motionless on the rooftop.

"Ty! Ty say something!" She slides an arm under his head, gently lifting him up as his blood red eyes peer up at her, his irises having permanently turned a deep crimson color. "O— oh my god, Ty, oh my god— " He isn't moving, he isn't breathing, he's just staring up with a peaceful expression on his face, arms limp at his side.

"Libby…" A weak voice mumbles from beyond where she kneels, "L— Libby is that… is that you?" Disbelief crosses Libby's face as she looks up past the man in her arms, to the younger iteration of her brother crawling up from where he lay, hands shaky and a bleeding cut on the side of his head. Hesitantly, Libby lowers John's head and shoulders to the ground, moving over to where Tyler is trying to struggle to her.

She says nothing, only wraps her arms around her younger brother, keeping him held tightly and protectively in her embrace. She shivers, fingers curling into Tyler's hair as she presses her nose down to the top of his head, breaking out into ragged sobs. "I— I can't— I can't feel it anymore, Libby," his voice is a weak, whimpering tone of voice, "it's— it's gone."

Gone. Libby focuses on the feeling inside of her, only now finally noticing that the radioactive glow has faded from her body, and she is no longer a walking, burning nuclear meltdown. A gasp escapes her, and she tries to will just a smidge of the light of the midtown explosion that Tyler trapped inside of her — the very atomic fire that rebuilt her body and saved her life out to view, but is unable to muster it.

Shakily, one hand moves up to rake through Tyler's hair as she leans back just enough to see his face. "It— it's gone from me too…" her hoarse whisper proclaims, "It's gone."

She couldn't sound happier.

Helena closes her eyes, turning her face away from the sight of the siblings. "Cat," she whispers. "Cat… you need to get out of here." She doesn't know how Cat and Jennifer could possibly manage to get her out too. She's not even going to propose that they try. Which won't predispose certain folks from doing so anyway. Helena doesn't know her ability shut-down isn't permanent, but with everything that has happened, it is something of a cherry on a sundae made of suck. She told Teo that she'd cried herself out in 2019. Now, as hot, angry tears fall silently, she discovers that wasn't true at all.

"Hail to the queen, baby." There is a loud acclaim just after Delilah riddles the future Edward with ten bullets, perhaps fitting, perhaps not- it is angry, and the tone serious, but the words singularly absurd, in that way only Delilah can make it. Her hands shiver around the handle of the gun once, fear still on her, but willpower larger. And then another one comes up, and all that stops her the second time is the fact she has no bullets in her gun, and it feels as if she needs to let it go. Instead, the redhead, hair whipping about her shoulders, drops the gun and steps forward to pull Gillian back towards her, that suddenly strong embrace familiar in that it once held her weeks ago when she had died in this very building. "Gillian, keep here with me…" And really, Delilah expects no less, even as hell breaks loose, and the world begins to crack at the hinges there on the roof.

All that Dee can do now is watch and hold onto Gillian tightly, mouth parted and eyes fixed on the meeting of brothers and sister, and the arcing brilliance of something that she knows she is both fortunate- and unfortunate to be able to witness.

Still stumbling unsteadily toward where Peter was, Gillian ends up standing to watch the death of Edward Ray from the future. Did he see that coming? He probably did, but it gives her some kind of mild satisfaction, that doesn't last very long as she looks back at the empty space on the roof. Her heart sinks. In some ways this might be the worse day ever. It wasn't supposed to be him. It was supposed to be— it should have been her.

Peter Petrelli should not have been the White Queen. Maybe he wasn't supposed to be, but if he doesn't get up…

When the other Ray appears, Gillian darts forward, only to be pulled back from Dee, surprisingly strong. Teeth show for a moment, the protective clothing burned off as lips peel up. She's snarling.

She's also crying. Part of her is.

It doesn't last long before she curls against Delilah and closes her eyes, holding on in her physical weakness. Runion of siblings, destruction of Edward Ray's game plan. All of it should be satifsying. But it's not.

In the darkness and the rain, everything that's happened, it's almost easy to miss certain details. There's a masked figure still on the roof, down on knees, masked in darkness and rain, watching certain things through eyeholes cut into the blackness. Water soaks through the cloth and the fabric, and the figure growls out a, "Was as much your fucking fault as it was mine, Rayman." It's spit at the younger of the Edwards, tightening her gloved hand into a fist. The shape is the same, the voice is the same. There's something so familiar about it.

Gillian's head starts up from where she's held. Eyes red, tears still on her cheeks even as the rain tries to wash them away. There's nothing in the back of her head. Her eyes everywhere have faltered, but the voice…

There's static, and so much fog, as things happen all around her, people she can remember from the previous time this happened, some she can't remember. There's Mother clasping her hand and Helena's, Helena advising her to bail with Mother and get away. Gillian standing near the roof's edge looking down at something, the guy with glasses she remembers being in her files as helping them with the Vanguard. Tyler Case, who also had a file and Libby who doesn't. Delilah hugging Gillian. The redhead who helped her start putting the pieces together before… And that's where it starts, the fog begins to clear. Details come back to her, the more important things first. Like what to do with Helena.

"Nonsense," she replies to the idea of leaving her. "Leaving's only done when there's no choice. I… I'm not sure how, but I think there's a place nearby to take you, where you can get fixed by a doctor who won't turn you in, won't get you sent back to… Moab."

Then she speaks to Mother, confidence coming back into her voice, leadership being shown. "Our house in Hartford is gone. Arthur burned it down, tried to kill me there. I live in the Village, and have room for you and Father. We get Helena tended to, then we contact him and get him to join us."

Her eyes close for a moment, silence during that, while she considers something. "Work to do here, still, right? There's… biohazard material here that should be destroyed, made sure it's gone forever?" Mother will have to confirm or deny that for her, or anyone else who hears. It's just something that seems important for some reason.

Then she goes back to quiet, looking for the best way to lift Helena up and assistance in doing so.

The clinging silhouette of brother and sister combined is pushed so far out the monochrome blur of Teo's peripheral vision that he almost succeeds in focusing elsewhere. His eyes stay on Edward, and he isn't even honestly sure why; the trajectory of his tread, however, is scratching wet toward the slumped figure of the weather witch almost spent on the concrete, gun pushed back in under his arm.

Wordlessly, his shoulder thumps Cat's once, slides sleeve off the fabric of sleeve. One arm hooks the narrow breadth of Helena's waist, the other her knees, the curl of his shoulder conforming to the smaller size of the woman's body. There's something off about the motion of him, when he straightens, lifts her, but strength enough in his carry to do exactly that.

"I'll take her," he croaks. A scab is melting off his chin, dissolving, dropping beaded crimson onto the flattened soak of Helena's shirt, around the ugly jut of rebar; he smells of smoke and exhaustion. "To the Ferry. 'Nd the Cases, if they can run. Alec has the place set to blow."

So many pieces, is it any wonder Cardinal had the final puzzle ever so slightly wrong? It won't stop him from blaming himself, in the days to come, the sudden stillness of the dominoes in his head as they remain standing cold comfort given the losses that came in their place. Far more personal losses, if not for him than for some of those he cares about. At least cares a little about.

"Every conflict has sacrifices that have to be made, you and I both know that too well." A memory, of Edward Ray's words. He only truly, truly understands them now, perhaps, and the realization is no less bitter. As well as the knowledge that, if he had it all to do again, he may well do so.

In the aftermath of the reunion of siblings that almost killed them all, once he can see against the spots in his eyes and figure out what's going on, Richard steps forward, dropping down to his knees beside John Doe - Tyler Case, ten years later, from a future that won't ever happen - and pulls off a glove with his teeth, reaching out to press his fingers to the man's throat to test for a pulse. Nothing. That hand reaches up, sliding eyelids closed over the red eyes, his own closing with them. "M'sorry, Tyler," he says, quietly, "S'twice I didn't save you. At least someone did." He looks over to Libby and Tyler Case the Younger, silent a moment. Then—

Wait, did Teodoro just say they were blowing the building up?

The future is not immutable, it can be changed, and it can be changed for the better.

Cradling her brother in her arms, Libby rests her head down on Tyler's shoulder as her brother wraps his arms around her, hiding her head with one hand. He looks up, wide eyed, towards Teodoro and Cardinal, two people who had brought him through so much and managed to bring him here, finally, to a better end.

I have known since the day I laid eyes on Helena Dean, that she would not be the martyr Arthur Petrelli wanted. I would sculpt a future, a new future, and if she was truly strong enough to take it from me, I would not protest.

Looking over from where she holds Helena's hand, Jennifer Chesterfield looks off on the face of Edward Ray, staring up glassy eyed and distant in the falling rain, wondering what it might have been that he saw in the moments before Tyler's power surge struck him. With both Edwards laying dead on the roof of Pinehearst, the rain keeps pouring down from above, bringing with it hope for renewal from the storm that has come.

Perhaps there will come a time, when Phoenix is not seen as the enemy, when they do not play the role of pawns on the board, perhaps they can find a purpose in life that does not exist at the end of another's strings.

The thunder has passed off into the east, and the storm that has brewed over New York City for so long has finally begun, in a way, to clear. But the thunderhead that once threatened to pave the way to a brighter future, is now leading to something all the more unusual and horrifying — a future unknown.

I have a faith in the future, that everything happens for a reason, and that one day we all will know a world where the haves and the have nots are not divided by genetic lines. Arthur's future was not the future I wanted, and so I set out for those I took with me to change the future…

"We should go," Jennifer whispers to Catherine, then to Helena, squeezing the blonde's hand. "We can help you down, get— get you out of here…" Her eyes sweep tearfully to Catherine, "We have to leave before anyone shows up, before— we just have to go."

We all knew, going in to this mission, that none of us would make it out alive. I saw to it, that in the end, we are all nothing but interlopers, ones who would come and go, and do our work, and the fade away into the pages of history as if we never were.

Struggling to stand, Jennifer looks over to the bodies of Edward one last time, then up to Tyler and his sister, before turning her face up to the rain. "The storm's moved on…" she whispers quietly, her teeth setting in to her lower lip, looking out to the one woman in a black sky mask standing on the stairwell. Her brows furrow, lips pursing in a look of scrutiny. The woman in the black mask turns, looking back and forth across the people on the rooftop. Jennifer sees something, knows something, but remains quiet, staying close to her daughter's side.

None of us could live on, because we truly did not belong here…

"…Let's go."

And your point of origin is where you can do the most damage.

End Volume VI

Heels click quietly across a tile floor, one man at either side of a severe looking brunette in a sleek charcoal gray suit. Carrying a blue folder under one arm, she moves aroudn the corner of a well appointed hall, motioning to the two agents at either side of her, sending them off down seperate corridors. A badge comes out, one contained in a plastic flip folio, and she strides past a security checkpoint thorugh a door and into a lavishly appointed office.

"Special Agent Kershner." Rising from a seated position, a man in a dark tan suit with his collar unbuttoned walks over and holds out his hand. He offers her a charming smile, sandy brown hair swept back and away from his face, aviator sunglasses tucked into his pocket. "Have you had a chance to meet special agent Daiyu Feng?" He motions to a darkly dressed man standing in a corner of the room, turning to look over his shoulder.

"I have not had the pleasure, no." Sarisa offers a plaintive smile, turning to walk towards the man she truly cares to meet. There, standing facing out towards the Rose Garden, a broad-shouldered man with a little gray in his dark hair turns slowly, a smile spread across his face, red tie standing out sharp against his white undershirt. "Mister President," she states with a warm smile, offering out a hand.

Grinning, Nathan's confident stride over to Sarisa is quick and smooth, just as is the beginning of a handshake. But when the psychometrist's hand touches Nathan's, when her skin touches his, he can see the fear welling up in her eyes, see the panic and terror building behind her expression as her nails dig into his skin. "You're not— "

Nathan raises one hand, placing a finger to his lips, making a quiet shh sound. What she sees, what Sarisa feels behind that hand of hers, is horrifying in the depths of secrecy it means. The man standing before her, the man in the most powerful position in the most powerful country in the world… isn't who he says he is.

"Miss Kershner," Nathan says with a broad smile in such a manner as to intimidate her into silence, "I'd like to talk to you about a special project General Autumn has in mind. What do you know about the Vanguard?"

Volume VII: Escalation

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