Dead End, Part V


ff_des2_icon.gif ff_edward_icon.gif ff_huruma_icon.gif ff_kendall_icon.gif ff_nadira_icon.gif richard5_icon.gif ff_robyn2_icon.gif ff_walker_icon.gif

Scene Title Dead End, Part V
Synopsis At the rear of the convoy, the crew of Speedwagon and Wildcat fight to defend one-another.
Date March 5, 2021

Broadway Street
Ruins of Toledo

July 5th
6:37 pm

There’s blood everywhere inside Speedwagon’s cabin, Walker is slouched over the steering wheel, horn blaring. There’s no mistaking that he’s dead. Nadira and Kendall are covered in his blood. There’s gunfire popping elsewhere, and the engine of Speedwagon is still roaring, with Walker’s foot on the accelerator, but the vehicle is stuck wedged in the front of an abandoned restaurant, front wheels spinning in the air.

In the street, three men on horseback in ratty clothes are approaching, one hand on their reins and handguns trained on the vehicle. With them is a man who, save for his ratty clothes, looks to be made entirely of stone.

This isn't the first time Nadira's seen someone dead, but never like this, never this close. She's glad immediately that she'd suggested Kendall take the window seat, only because that means he's not the one leaning over Walker's body to stop the car. Heart racing, she puts the vehicle in park and leans over to turn off the car with a hand covered in the blood of the man who was their driver for most of this. Instinctively, she looks to Kendall to make sure he doesn't seem injured, but it's a quick check–the blood is likely all Walker's and she doesn't have time to check him further for injuries.

"Kendall," she hisses, her voice low. "Do not go out there. If you do, be sure you see where those with guns are. I am going to try and drive them off, but I need you to remember that this is not time to be a hero. Be smart, be safe."

She's saying this because she's going to go out there. Nadira doesn't try to go out Kendall's side, she swallows hard and looks at Walker. "Sorry friend," she whispers. "You got us here… but I need you to do one more thing for us." She glances quickly back at Kendall before she firmly pushes Walker's body off the side–if she's lucky, if they're gun-happy, they might shoot Walker first. She's got another reason for it, but she needs to get a better view of the situation first. Nadira reaches out with her senses, focusing on feeling the water around her. She ignores what's in the back of the truck for now–if she needs it, it's there and she can try and refill it later when they get out of this.

If they get out of this.

Her senses lock on the hydrant even before she manages to get a good look at it. That's the best location to pull from, if she can get it. She doesn't quite know who can hear her, but she figures if someone in the Wildcat catches what she's trying to do, they might understand what she's yelling.

"Someone, destroy the hydrant!" Nadira shouts, her whole body tensing as she feels her grip on the water tighten. She'll be ready.

It happened faster than Kendall could react to; one minute, everything was fine, the next, Walker's head explodes all over them. Kendall's immediate response after they crashed is to make the entire Speedwagon disappear, as if it teleported elsewhere. It didn't, they're still there, but hopefully it'll confuse their enemies long enough to let them…

Shit, let them do what? A shaking hand comes up to his face, wiping off the blood, though Nadira got the brunt of it. "I… I couldn't do anything. Shit. Walker…"

His gaze fastens on the three approaching, then shifts over to the hydrant. "I.. I got it." A compact rocket launcher of sorts appears on his shoulder within their invisible shroud, and he leans out the window, aims for the hydrant, and fires. He can't make it explode at the end on its own, but the water pressure simulates it well enough as he hits it with enough force to knock it off, water spraying everywhere. Then even as the rocket launcher disappears, he stares at Nadira when she says she's going out, and he scoots over to follow her. "I'm not going to just sit here, I can stop those bullets!" Kendall isn't sure he could stop all of them, nevermind the rock freak, but… "they'll shoot you before you can even splash them!"

The music faded out some time ago, before the collapse of the overpass, but now the radio crackles to life. «Convoy! This is Gracie! We’re being raided! They are going to go for your drivers first!»

They already have.

«They will kill anyone who doesn’t surrender! Do not fight back! I repeat: Do not fight back!»

The radio crackling to life grabs Kendall's attention and he snatches at it. "Too fucking late there, Walker is dead and we got three assholes headed our way, I'm hiding Speedwagon but I doubt that'll stop them! Nadira's about to turn on the waterworks, we can't let them get our supplies. We can't surrender or we're as good as dead anyway!"

Robyn reaches over enthusiastically for one of the bottles of wine, and begins to pour herself a glass.

Destiny reaches across the table, having to stand up out of her seat to make the distance, but stops just short of her prize. Dropping back to sit, she looks down at her lap, hands fidgeting there. "May I please have some wine?" she asks in a soft voice.

Robyn turns a sympathetic eye, quickly leaning over to pour her a glass before anyone can argue with her, then follows by filling her own glass back up to the top and… not passing around the bottle she's picked out.

And then, all hell breaks loose.

The handoff of a bottle of water from the sleeping car to the cabin of the Wildcat is fumbled when Edward hits the brakes. It goes flying forward, bound by the laws of momentum, and smashes against the dash. The pleasant conversation between Zee and Destiny is broken just as surely as the bottle that soaks Des from her denim-clad knees to her ratty green canvas high tops.

It’s a good thing she was properly riding shotgun this time, and not sitting over the center console, where there would have been nothing to stop her from flying into the windscreen. Edward’s arm thrown out to brace her shoulders in that way that all parents seem to do instinctively helps.

Then she’s ducking down and reaching for him to make sure he’s doing the same. Destiny clutches at his shirt sleeve, sobbing already. “Eddie!” she shrieks, that single word begging him to respond and give her a sign of life. History can’t repeat itself here. Her eyes shut tight, face scrunching up.

Richard hadn’t been sleeping, but he was resting his eyes, listening to the conversations of the others while laid back on one of the bunks in the back… and then the Wildcat was swerving, people were shouting, and worst of all the sound of gunfire pinging off the vehicle was echoing through the air.

Then he’s most definitely not doing that. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug.

A roll to one side drops him out of the bunk and onto the floor– hard– the jarring impact helping shake loose the last of that comfortably sleepy haze.

“Des! Protect Edward!” The first thought barked out, before the man bleeds away from corporeal into shadow as if dissolving in a pool of darkness on the floor of the Wildcat, sweeping over the floor like a light was shifting and passing through the cracks in the back door, twisting beneath the vehicle to get a better and safer look at what’s outside.

And what he sees isn’t promising.

A familiar whine of destruction and the winging of bullets is enough to keep Huruma roused through the tossing of the Wildcat; sounds, pressure, and vibrations make up the world for a few moments more, the net of the empath's reach splayed out and braced like its wielder. Teeth bared and lip bloodied against them, Huruma lurches upward from the aisle as Richard swarms into shadow; there is a rifle at her back, though she goes for the pistol at her side.

Gracie's pleas of surrender aren't words that she particularly likes- - just why does the tinny radio show such conviction, she's not sure. She's only sure of one thing, and that's who started it.

"Arm yourselves if you can." Huruma hisses as she rises and finds some semblance of cover in the Wildcat, pale eyes glinting. She tallies minds around them, peeling the frantic from the assured and reaching out with dripping psychic mandibles for those she marks as interlopers.

Zee is hyperventilating, head covered, cowering behind Destiny’s seat. This is too similar, too horrifically similar to what happened in the Ark. The sudden gunfire, the violence, the shouting. Her heart is in her throat, head pounding, the flashbacks have never felt so real before.

Edward turns to Destiny, watching her with wide eyes. “I—I’m fine, I’m fine.” He says, ducking behind the steering wheel, unable to see where the shots are coming from, even as they abate some. His confusion, however, is the absence of the Speedwagon. It was there one moment and then gone the next, and a brief view of Kendall and—he—must be seeing things.

“Destiny, I need you to—” There’s a grinding twist of metal as the door to Wildcat is torn off and thrown aside and Edward is yanked bodily out of the vehicle and thrown onto the street. Kendall and Nadira can see the stone man throw Edward like a ragdoll, then turn to them. He doesn’t understand what Nadira is doing, can’t see the impact her mind is having on the water, the connection she’s forming.

Give up!” The rock man bellows. “Or you all fucking die!” He isn’t sure where the vanished vehicle is, but he has enough problems to focus on. Unfortunately for him, he also doesn’t see the shadow under the truck as a threat, or feel the fingers of some unseen empathic hand starting to caress his mind.

The radio crackles again as from Tinderbox, Marlowe's voice snarls through against a backdrop of gunfire. "«Are you fucking joking? Surrender and we all DIE!» The transmission cuts.

His boisterous cry is enough to give Huruma the focal point she needs, identifying conscious minds nearby to him that she can differentiate between human and animal. People on horseback, three riders. Three riders and this rock man, and—up.


Someone on the roof, close by, north side of the road. They’re nervous, but determined.

Two more a couple hundred feet away, south side of the road. Same emotional energy, the angle of it must be—snipers. Three snipers.

With Kendall hiding the Speedwagon, Nadira's rapidly changing her plan as she goes. She turns back to Kendall. "I cannot get eyes everywhere I would like," she admits, leaning out just enough to get a better vantage point of the hole where the hydrant used to be. "I think we need to just defend this. I do not know why Gracie thought surrendering would be a good idea, as I highly doubt they would keep us alive either way. So, Kendall, this is where we hole up. Do whatever you need to."

They're going to guard their supplies like their lives depended on it. They just might.

Nadira can feel the water as it escapes from where the hydrant was, and she leans out just enough to get a good look at where the rock man is. "I do not believe you are kind enough to give us an actual choice!" She yells. It doesn't take a motion like some kind of magic user, and it might even be hard to tell it's her–she's just looking, after all. The direction of the water suddenly turns in a perfect curve, as if moving through some kind of invisible pipe, and the pressurized water goes towards the man with the force of a firehose. If nothing else, she's sure she can keep him back rather effectively.

"Oh I'm going to do more than hole up here. Time to give them a show." Kendall's terror is quickly being replaced by anger, especially when he sees the Thing attacking some guy, flinging him like a rag doll. Kendall doesn't really know Edward but this is now an us and them situation. Despite Elliot's snark the previous day about telekinetics using their hands for no reason, Kendall still feels compelled to lift his hands up, then bring them both palm down.

And just like that, there is a sense of something large and ominous swooping down on everything, and the entire area is blanketed in an incredibly dense fog… at least so far as the hostiles are concerned. It cloaks everything as far as the eye can see, blocking off the blasted overpass, the other cars, the other groups of attackers.

And yet, oddly, no one from the convoy has any trouble seeing anything. The fog is visible, but they can clearly see through it.

Kendall isn't done yet. He was just setting the stage.

From the deepest part of the fog comes a terrifyingly familiar animalistic roar, and a large pack of predatory dinosaurs charge up, coinciding with Nadira's water impact.

Someone watched Jurassic Park the night before.

With the assurance from Edward that he’s fine, Destiny nods her head shakily, the immediate spike of panic dipping some, leaving her able to breathe. She grips his hand tightly and nods again when Richard shouts his order. Protect Edward. That’s an easy ask.

There’s something Edward needs her to do, too, but it’s cut off as the door is wrenched open. Destiny grips his hand so tightly, grasping at his wrist with the other, that she’s dragged from her own seat, over the console in between the seats, and finds herself sprawled over the one he had occupied when she can no longer hold onto him. “Eddie!” Blue eyes stare up wide and terrified at the thunderously shouting rock formation of a man. Laying prone like that, she looks so small.

But she feels suddenly sixty feet tall, full of bravery. There’s a moment where she shoves herself up from the seat and starts to lunge forward, then she’s simply landing on the pavement in a roll, like there were frames missing from her movement reel. Sneakers crunch on old asphalt as she dashes forward and skids to a stop when she finds Edward, crouching down at his side, holding there like a protective animal. Little, but fierce.

“I’ve got you,” she promises in a low whisper. In an instant, she’s breathless and scared once more. Trembling fingers curl against the fabric of his shirt, the other flat to the pavement, ready to lever herself up again. Her voice is a tremulous thing by the time Kendall’s illusory fog rolls in. “What do I do, Eddie?”

Commingled with the dusty shadows beneath the Wildcat, Richard takes a moment to try and get his bearings and figure out how many their enemies are and what he can do. Horse hooves, and… stone columns? No, those are feet, the movements of them on the ground stirring old memories of a man whose flesh was scarred iron. That man, though, was the protector of an Edward Ray, while this one…

His godfather's torn from the truck and hurled carelessly away from it. The sound of breaking bones that rings in the shadowman's head are just a creation of horror and fear, rather than a true sound, but it's enough that - if he could see color in this state - all he'd suddenly be seeing would be red.

In the chaos of the moments that follow— a pressurized blast of water slamming into the stonemorph, hallucinatory mists swirling upwards and the sharp screams of fictional dinosaurs echoing across the street— that shadow flickers up that rocky form as swift as a bird passing overhead.

"Get away from him–!" A vicious, sibilant whisper rasping through the air as tendrils of shadow move to wrap about the stonemorph's head and claim it.

"No no no no no," has been the panicked recitation coming from Zee as she curls up in an effort to make herself as small as possible. This has all happened before. Different circumstance, different villain, same result.

She swallows down a curse as she pulls her head up from her arms, cheeks red and just slightly stained from tears. A hand shakes, before she grips it into a fist to steady it. "This can't happen again," she breathes out in a shuddering breath as she looks around the cabin for something, anything before she lands on a pistol that probably only a few shots in it.

It'll do.

Throat tight, she reaches over and takes it into hand, fingers curling around the grip. The slide is pulled back just slightly to see if there's a bullet, the safety flicked off. Hopefully no one else needs this is all she can think to herself as she pulls herself up to her feet, glancing at the chaos in the front seat forlornly before she moves to push open the back - and vanish from sight, invisible.

Huruma's boot is touching down outside the shredded door to the Wildcat as the shadow coils outward and up the frame of the stone man; her pistol is at the ready and trained on the latter, restrained from taking a shot thanks only to Richard's signature presence and the oncoming spray of water, the overall cacophony of tricks.

To those that would make the convoy victims, Huruma sends out a silent pulse of despair, clinging and twisting around head and face like a sheet of fine plastic. For the gargoyle, one whammy after another seems ready to claim him from head to toe. Huruma has nothing more for him. The others that came along to the Wildcat are not quite as fortunate, as the tall woman rounds her eyes on them instead.

"Richard-—" Huruma's voice is a familiar one through a fight, even worlds away; her off-hand glimmers along the curvature of blade when she gestures to an angular north. "Roofs." If it barks like a dog and bites like a dog—

The pings she can reach on the rooftops are peppered with a fresh dread as she makes aim at one of the other raiders with her pistol. These ones will first feel the teeth of the poor Wildcat in the form of distilled fear; the empath's snarl joins the shrieking of Kendall's illusions, her influence paving the way for the potential of bullets.

Water rises like serpents from the fire hydrant, impacting the stone man like a firehose against a building. He braces against the spray, one hand raised to shield his eyes, exhaling a ragged and confused breath as he skids back across the street. He shouldn’t be as afraid as he is, but the waves of panic that are hammering at the back of his mind come in as many crashing waves as the water. He turns, looking wide-eyed at Nadira and Kendall as the fog begins to set in, opening his mouth to say something—

—and then a shadow passes over his face, and when it moves away all that is left of his head is his neck and lower jaw. There is a gurgling noise that spurts out of his throat, and the rock man collapses to his knees, stone skin sloughing off like some sort of gathered armor, and then falls to his side dead.

Edward, just a few feet away, lets out a gasp of shock as he kicks his legs, trying to push himself and Destiny further away from the gore. “Stay down! Don’t—you shouldn’t be out here!” He has a few cuts and scratches on the side of his face, a little split on his brow, but otherwise is okay. It looks like a lot of blood, but that’s how cuts on the brow and head tend to be.

Nearby, the three horsemen that had been moving to circle Edward let out cries of horror and confusion as a mist rolls in along with heart-pounding fear. But it’s the chirrup of velociraptors emerging from the mist that has them blindly firing into the fog, horses rearing back in fright to throw their riders.

All three riders are thrown to the street, weapons clattering away from them as they do. Edward watches the raptors run right past he and Destiny in wide-eyed confusion. He adjusts his crooked glasses, watching the raptors pursue the horses and circle the fallen riders. In the moment of distraction, Edward snatches one of the rifles from the street and—from a crouch—points it down at the cowering, screaming, and supernaturally terrified raiders. “Don’t move!

Up on the nearby rooftop, the sniper that should have been covering the fight is running for his life across the length of the rooftop, rifle in hand. His breathing is hastened, heavy, and intense. At the same time, the cry of countless birds rise up into the air, murmurations of what look like starlings but are actually unnatural composites of grackles, crows, sparrows, and pigeons move as a unified whole. The last thing the crew by Speedwagon and Wildcat see of the sniper is a flock of birds diving in his direction, followed by a wild—but brief—scream.

Nadira isn't sure it's done. She doesn't move save for to put an arm across Kendall in some sort of reflexive defensive action. She lets the water drop, but she waits for a moment before she even makes a noise at this point. She swallows hard, and once the moment passes, she calls from the Speedwagon. "Are we safe to come out now? How is everyone?" She doesn't ask if everyone's okay. They're not. She doesn't ask if they're safe. They're not. Her words are careful, not to incite any more emotional damage than they're all going through at the moment. Even if the immediate threat is over or reduced, they have an entirely different battle to face after this.

The bullets shooting at the dinosaurs is exactly what Kendall had intended; the scavengers are wasting their ammo, and nobody's getting hurt by the bullets. It's a highly effective way to disarm their opponents, and the dinosaurs move about, completely unaffected, which should also help with demoralizing their opponents.

The rock mimic is a different story, and Kendall isn't quite sure what to do with him… but then he's taken care of in a rather nauseating manner. Nadira blasted him with water, and Kendall doesn't know where the shadow came from, and really doesn't want to know, but that rock dude is super dead, and that's all that matters. Ahem.

When he hears mention of a sniper from Huruma, however, he sees where she is pointing, and he jerks around to look… only to see the sniper run off and then get Hitchcocked.


No threat there, anymore, that guy is also super dead. When Nadira wraps her arm around him, Kendall pats her arm reassuringly. "I think that's all of them." he mutters to her, then pulls away. Getting mom'd at a time like this? Sorry, Nadira, he's still too angry over Walker's death to just sit idly by.

A much larger dinosaur than the velociraptors runs up next to him, a good 5 feet tall at the shoulder, with an old style wild west saddle of all things on its back. It hunkers down next to him, and he grabs the pommel and hauls himself up, even though he has zero experience riding a horse.

Then again, this isn't a horse.

He charges forward on dinosaurback, completely ignoring what Nadira told him earlier, and circles the riders, coming to a stop next to Edward with his suddenly mundane rifle. "Drop your weapons and surrender unless you want to get EATEN!" he yells at them, flush with adrenaline, accompanied by the hisses and chirps of the swarm of velociraptors and the bigger deinonychus that form a pack around them in a full display of intimidation. The fact that Kendall is still partially covered in Walker's //blood/ probably doesn't help them any.

And just to make sure they're shitting their pants, from the thick layer of fog comes a deeper, more guttural roar, and three tyrannosaurus rexes loom up through the mists, towering a good couple dozen feet above them behind Kendall, all three leaning forward and baring their foot-long teeth at the hapless riders.

It's a bluff; most of the dinosaurs are simple illusions, but the fact that Kendall is riding one should hopefully convince them otherwise.

Kendall swerves around, about to charge up the line to where he can see the rest of the convoy up ahead, but his forward movement gets checked by the reminder he's supposed to be protecting the supplies. And Nadira did tell him not to be a hero, a fact he only just now remembers, so he returns to the situation at hand. Huruma didn't say there was anyone else, so this should be it; instead, he turns his gaze back to the riders, and the utahraptor he's riding hisses at them as it flexes the giant wicked claws on its feet.

Destiny is silent for a horrified moment when the remains of the rock-armored raider go collapsing too nearby. She scrambles back with Edward, breathing hard as it catches up to her. Her hands come up to clutch at her head as she lets out an ear-piercing scream. That fear is allowed to rule her for five uninterrupted seconds in which she doesn’t challenge it before she pushes it back down where it creates a terrible tightness in her chest and a twisting in her guts, but no longer paralyzes.

With Edward holding the three riders at gunpoint, Destiny lunges forward, keeping low and out of his line of fire, to grab the other two. She sends one skittering behind them when she slides it across the pavement and claims the other one for herself before coming back to Edward’s side, focusing on keeping her breathing slow and even. He’s never seen Des fire a rifle before, but she handles it like she has.

Blue eyes dart around briefly, but the gun stays pointed where she intends to need it — and hopefully she doesn’t need it. She was considered much too young when Jurassic Park came out, so this is her first glimpse of something like this. It is not helping ease her panic, even if the strange creatures do seem to be on their side. A glance at Kendall tells her why that likely is, and she eases just a bit more, even if her eyes are too wide and she has to swallow a lump in her throat in the hopes of not crying again.

The world ends…

The shadows erupt upwards from beside the fallen figure of stone, bleeding away from a monochromatic silhouette to form once more Richard Cardinal facing the horsemen being held at gunpoint, rage in his eyes and his voice as he continues the sentence, transmuting from a ghastly hiss to an accusing shout in an instant, “…and this is what you do? Kill the innocent for your own fucking profit? Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. Cowards! Murderers!”

Wisps of ashen darkness coil and slither around his hand as it fists white-knuckled by his side, as if something hungry were eager to be unleashed, but after a tense moment he tears his focus from them and looks to the truck. “Natalie’s got the roofs,” he calls over sharply, “Someone get on the radio and contact the others– we need a situation report!”

It's during Richard's screed that a gun clicks behind one of the two Destiny holds at gunpoint in support of Edward. Fading back into visibility, nervousness is clear on Zee's face as she holds the pistol she had commandeered as steady as she can, metal only rattling just the slightest bit in her hand - a mix of her uncertainty, the sudden appearance of dinosaurs, and Richard being absolutely fucking terrifying all coming together.

Kneeling down, she retrieves the remaining rifle and takes it into hand, keeping behind their attackers rather than moving in step with Destiny and Edward. She glances back over towards Wildcat, and exales sharply. A glance next to Destiny - this is quite the reversal of the last time the pair found themselves assailed by gunfire and violence. "So hey," she says after a moment, clearing her throat to work away any shakiness. "Maybe dump out any ammo you have too. Pretty sure we're, um. Gonna be hanging on to these." That's a smart thing, right? Right? "Anyone does, like… anything, they lose their vision." Not permanently, making the threat a bit more vicious than she intends, but maybe that's what the moment needs.

There is a satisfying notion behind seeing otherwise meek folk step up as these ones seem to; Huruma is confident that she played a part, of course, but once the younger women and Edward were able, they straightened out. Slipping her pistol back to its place on her belt, Huruma scans the roadsides and the panicked pings of those raiders still left within her range.

"You are starting to sound like the Inquisition, Ray." Huruma's only commentary as she turns on her heel to alight into the wide open cabin of the Wildcat; she slides into place behind the wheel, mouth pursing tightly as she tests the radio receiver before attempting a message. At least her voice is a distinct and familiar one, signaling the status of the rearmost even without needing to.

"Wildcat requesting Convoy status, over."

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