Death Imitating Art



Scene Title Death Imitating Art
Synopsis On the set of Multiple Man Maxwell Quinn finds that not only does life often imitate art, but death as well.
Date July 5, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Glass shatters as three men are thrown through the plate glass, falling with a howling scream from the telekinetic thrust. "Hey! Hey! To hell with them, we've only got two minutes left!" Crouching down beneath an old, rickety table, NYPD-Scout Detective Maddy Harrison tucks a lock of coppery red hair behind one ear, looking up towards the broken windows, and then to the sounds of distant gunfire.

"Parker!" Dark brows lowering into a look of frustration plastered over fear, she motions with one gloved hand to the enormous pile of C-4 rigged beneath the table, a tangled mess of multi-colored wires and plugs connecting to a timer and car battery laid on its side on the floor. With an electronic beep, the timer changes.


"Parker!" Maddy's green eyes go wide, looking from the bomb towards the sounds of rushing footsteps heading towards the stairs. "Please, please tell me you stole an ability that can deactivate the bomb? Otherwise you're going to have to hold off the terrorists while I try and disarm it!" She doesn't sound too pleased, and from the way the timer keeps counting down, it has to be a quick decision.


Parker Blue stands at the window of the building, an intent, squinty-eyed look on his face. He's clad in a black t-shirt and a pair of dark blue jeans with a silver belt buckle. There's an artful dash of blood spattered on his clothing, though not a bruise to be found on the man's face. He stands there, cool and calm, unconcerned with the ticking timebomb. The literal one.

Very slowly, his hands flex into strong fists. "I don't have one yet," he says, "But I will."

A leg swings out as he shatters the remaining glass with a few well-placed kicks. A fluid movement and there's a pistol in his hand. He backs up a few steps and then runs, to leap through the open window. He twists midair and snaps at a dangling cable that sends him spinning down to the ground level. He lands with a roll and suddenly snaps his weapon up, gunning down anyone who so much as twitches.

He tucks into a roll and tumbles behind a piece of debris, then snaps a new clip in. He sprints out, leaps up and does an elegant and extremely fast sprint over twisted rebar of a broken foundation. He's maing straight for a cluster of terrorists, dodging a hail of gunfire with a sudden burst of superhuman speed.

Vokolov has the ability he needs. But the woman is protected by a cadre of armed guards. He needs to get closer.


Dressed in black balaclava to hide their identities, the members of the radical terrorist organization Firebird quickly scramble away from the hail of gunfire that Parker volleys in their direction. Booted feet scrape across the pavement, shoulders slam on broken concrete, and automatic weapons are blindly discharged over makeshift concrete barricades of crumbling concrete ruins. Behind the armed guards, a single black SUV riddled with bulletholes in one side remains parked, with a tall and sharp-featured blonde standing with her arms folded, head lowered and brows tensed. The long, black jacket she wears catches the breeze, a scar cutting down from brow to cheek on the right side of her face is the reminder of her Ilyana Vokolov's first encounter with Parker Blue.

"Kill him!" She shouts with a wave of her hand, a black-gloved finger pointing at the rogue cop. The Firebird terrorists sprint from their hiding positions, opening with a barrage of automatic gunfire that peppers the street in plumes of stone-dust and sparks, as Parker's nemesis turns her back on him, marching towards the SUV to prepare for her escape.

Parker remains crounched behind a wall of debris. His eyes start to glow a bright yellow as his power sensing kicks into gear. A wry, cocky smile pulls at his lips as he reaches out to snag hold of the balaclava-covered terrorist. "I can still sense you even if your faces are covered!" He quips, as he reaches forward to rip the mask off the face of a beautiful, black-bobbed woman. "Hello Anastasia." And then, just as the Firebirds start to shoot, yellow veins pop up all over Anastasia's body. Bullets that would have normally bounced right off the invulnerable woman instead slice through her and bounce off Parker instead.

He lets the woman fall and then charges headlong, towards Vokolov. Bullets spark and leap off him, but the action hero is unharmed. Men get in his way, but he's able to swing with more force now that he's not worried about hurting himself. He ploughs through them all, taking out sometimes three men at a time. He surges towards the closing car door.


Just as Ilyana pulls the door closed and shuts the word out to the matte black finish of tinted windows, the door explodes off of its hinges as Parker Blue rips the door clear off from the car, hurling it behind him to smash into one of the Firebird terrorists, sending him toppling over the concrete barricade.

"Parker!" Ilyana hisses, rolling across the seat as she tumbles into the opposite door, smashing it open before rolling out onto the street and up to her feet. "So this is how it's going to end, then?" One hand is held out, followed by a rippling lattice of light that swirls over her palms, her tesseract, a folded dimension in space where she can store personal objects. From within, a machine pistol manifests in a flash of blue light, quickly whipped up towards Parker.

"So, this is't where d'mighty Parker Blue has 'is last stand?" Her Russian accent is thick, rolling R's and sharp consonants. "What is't it going to be, Parker, your long-awaited confrontation with me? Or your cop girlfriend in th' buildin'k?" One blonde brow rises as a dusty wind blows through the street.

"Time's almost up, Parker."


"This isn't the end, Ilyana." Parker steps towards her, completely unflincing in the face of the pistol. He still has Anastasia's invulnerability for a few minutes yet. He can hold onto her ability, even after death. How long exactly, he can't know for sure.

But hey, he's the hero. Can't let a thing like possible horrible death make you lose confidence.

"I've got more important things to deal with than you right now. Though it has been fun," he quirks a cocky grin, and then snaps out an arm, lightning fast to snag her in a tight hold that immobilizes her gun-bearing arm. Their faces are only inches away, intimate, despite the chaos that blooms around her. "Mind if I borrow this?"

Then his eyes start to glow yellow again. He leans in to kiss her. The snaky orange veins slide up over his nemesis' face, out from the kiss as he sucks her dry of her power. And sucks her tongue a little bit too.

Faces lit by the muzzle-flash of a machine-pistol, Maxwell and Ilyana's faces rest close to one another, even as she attempt to empty some thirty shots into his midsection. The bullets flatten against his stomach, falling with plinking clinks to the ground below, and then soon the gun does too as Ilyana exhales a sharp breath, eeyes lidding halfway as she stares up at Maxwell with a bittersweet look on her face. "Get out of here," she breathes out against his kiss, "and go save her."


Parker smiles the smile of a man totally in control of everything. He cups the side of her neck, gives her one last look with glowing yellow eyes, then sprints off across the ruins with superspeed he got somewhere. Then, with an amazing show of acrobatics, he scrambles up the wall like a spider, finding hand and footholds that would be invisible to anyone who isn't an expert climber. He slides up and into the room and darts towards Maddy.

"Stand back!" he announces as he tries to get the portal to work. But her, he falters. Her ability is so hard to use because something about its energy doesn't mesh well with his ability.

And now the hero starts to sweat as he fights with Ilyana's power to try and pull the ticking timebomb into a pocket dimesnion. When it looks like he's not sure it's going to work, he murmurs a tightly controlled, slightly panicked, "Run, Maddy," and then louder, "Run!"


Crouched by the bomb, looking at the timer with wide eyes, Maddy glances up with a shell-shocked look on her face. Her jaw clenches, teeth gritting together, and as she pushes herself up to her feet and begins sprinting, the timer behind her continues to tick down.


Running past Parker, her red hair seems to swim in coils that twist and snap in a too-artistic manner to be real, eyes wrenching shut as a glistening teardrop peals away from her eye-lashes, distorting and warping as it trails behind her.


Waves of blue-white light flicker and snap over Parker's hand, a warping and distorted bubble of reality over his palm, allow with a slow wind beginning to build in the room around the bomb. Maddy doesn't look back as she passes him, booted footfalls slamming on the ground as she tears out into the hall, skidding to a stop as she stares down at the stairwell, then finally back over her shoulder to Parker's blue-lit face.


Silence, silence that seems to hang for too many moments, and Maddy mouths something unheard, and then begins hustling down the stairs towards the ground floor. Each thundering step kicking up broken plaster and shell casings from their wild firefight all the way up to the roof of the building.


The air around the bomb warps and distorts, bending and flexing the walls with a rippling haze like a heat-mirage, and the parking blue lights swirling around Parker's fingers continue to whorl and churn in an uncontrolable manner.


Maddy smashes out through the glass front doors out onto the street, landing on her shoulder as she rolls across the ground.


Green eyes quickly ascend the building, looking to the broken window high above street level.//


Hardly even breathing, Maddy watches the blue light begin to build in the blown out window, backpedaling and scrambling away from the abandoned tenement building on her backside.


Across the street, Ilyana pulls herself to her feet, watching the blue glow surround the window, seeing the dark silhouette of Parker inside, her lips parting to whisper a silent farewell.


Reflected in Parker's eyes, the timer counts down one final time, as the air dimples and distorts over the bomb.


"PARKER!" Maddy's scream fills the air as she balls her hands up to fists and crawls forward onto her knees, a brilliant blue light flooding the street, until—


There's a sound of a bell to indicate that filming has stopped. Maxwell Quinn backs up from the 'bomb' that is currently a flood of blue light that shines painfully up into his face. He rocks backwards as some lackey kills the light on the order of the director. An Evolved hired to do light effects stops generating the 'tesseract' and goes to sit down in an area by the craft van.

He rubs at his wrist and rolls his shoulders back and accepts a bottle of perrier from a production assistant. Max is wearing a pair of yellow contacts that really do make his eyes look like they're glowing.

"I hope we got it that time. Did we get it that time? Joe?" He wipes his hand over his forehead and accidentally wipes a bit of fake blood off as he does. "It was pretty good. I think I got the movements going up the wall that time. Smooth like butter." He grins good-naturedly.

An attentive makeup lady scoots forward to powder his forehead and reapply the artful splatter of blood. "Can somebody get me an aspirin? Extra strength?"

Stepping out from behind a half-wall that obscured the crew monitors from the camera, the scraggly-bearded producer Joe Stetzen rubs one hand over his mouth, grinning like a bastard. "Max, Max, you nailed it, absolutely nailed it. Coleen's illusions were god damned spot on this time, I tell you."

Walking up behind the actor portraying Parker Blue, Joe slaps a hand on his back, giving a shake of his head. "I tell you, the cost differential in the special effects department is out of this fucking world, the studio is practically throwing money at us now, since we've got a licensed Evolved crew. Come on, come over and take a look at this before we ship the dailies out."

Behind Joe and Max, the studio illusionist Coleen tugs on her baseball cap, managing something of a disaffected smile as she pushes past camera crews and stage hands flooding into the building, snatching a water bottle from the refreshments truck as she makes her way down to street level.

"Who'da ever thought that being born with the ability to make a whole lotta flashing lights'd net her more money per film than the actors uh? Ay, Collie!" Max calls out to the departing light girl. "Drinks later at that pub down the road, uh? I owe you a couple from last time I think."

Max is in a good mood. So much for staying in-character. Method actor he ain't.

"Hey you telling me I'm getting a raise, Joe Joe? Because my agent would love that. She's still got a stupid percentage because I negotiated a bad deal back when I was a schmuck." He swallows a few mouthfuls of Perrier. "You think I can take these damn contacts out? I freak myself the fuck out when I catch my reflection." He follows with Joe the producer, tossing waves or patting the shoulders of familiar crewmembers as he passes.

The crew likes Max. He was one of them up until not long ago. He doesn't keep his distance like a Hollywood hotshot. He knows what it's like to be doing the gruntwork while the big names get all the glory. Then he leans in to Joe and murmurs quietly. "Don'tcha think Trish is going a little thick on the accent? I mean, I know we're going for action fun here, but she sounds like she should be chasing down Moose and Squirrel."

Pausing on the stairs, Colene glances back over her shoulder at Max, giving a rather sheepish smile before awkwardly nodding her head in agreement. There's a surprised, partially stunned look on her face, but the special effects technician nods repeatedly once more, than makes her way out down on to the street outside.

"You'll have to talk to Vern about that, but I think the pay's locked in now. As for that accent, aye, you're telling me. Her language coach doesn't even know where she picked that up from, apparently she thinks it's more, uh," Joe's brows raise in an awkward expression, "accessible to the ordinary audience if it's so god-damned stilted? I dunno, whatever, we're going to be raking in money hand over fist once this— "

When you live your life around pyrotechnics, around explosions, but the real things, the real deal? Those are always so much more horrifying to deal with. When the ground shakes, when an orange glow flashes in through the window and glass shards are sent flying in every direction, the world goes into a high-pitched whine of deafness for Maxwell Quinn. Dust settles from the ceiling, muffled shouts of shock and horror are all around him.

Lighting technicians are scrambling, some people are bleeding, there's a plume of smoke rolling past the window from outside. Something actually just exploded.

"I dunno, man. Even a real Russian accent just sounds damn cheesy. It's not the Cold War anymore. People think of Russia, they think of Borat, not villains. She shoulda been a sexy…I dunno, some country people are actually afraid of." How classy. Max itches at a bit of fake blood on his arm, then realizes it's not fake. Ow. When'd he get that? Oh well.

"It's all right. I'm getting a percentage of the final t— "

His hands go up to his ears and he winces painfully. "What the fuck. What was that? Where's your damn radio, Joe? You think it was them terrorists the cops warned us about?" Regardless of whether the producer is following, Max sets off at a trot towards the source of the explosion.

Joe's clutching his head, laying on the ground, rocking back and forth from the concussion of the explosion that he shielded Max from. Blurred delerium carries Max in shaking footfalls down from the high floor, past windows that give him snapshots of the carnage outside. The food service truck, parked around the back of the block they were filming at is nothing but blackened shrapnel and flames.

By the time he gets out on to the street, he sees the faces of people in horror, some of the film crew were hurt by the flying debris, blood running down the side of one of the cameramen's heads as he staggers away from the burning wreckage of the van.

The van Colene was headed to.

Maxwell can't even see where she might have been through the smoke, but the people who were half as close as she was are laying on the ground, not moving. The brick wall behind where the van exploded has a freshly spray-painted red slogan smeared across the rough stone, it's one that in some ways is life mimcing art, if only in terrible irony.

Humanis First

"Jesus christ!" says Max, far louder than he intended to because of the cotton-packed concussion pain in his ears. He grabs for a radio off a fallen crewmember who nods that he's all right. He clicks the button, but nothing happens. The thing fizzle and chokes, but seems to have been damanged by the blast. He steps forward and trips over a piece of debris that turns out to be a piece of the camera.
"Collie!" He's not thinking like the star of a movie. If any of his handlers saw him staggering towards the sight of a terrorist attack, they'd have a fit on behalf of their insurance brokers.

He stops when he sees the van and stares at it. For anyone watching, it would be an odd sight. Something about the residual light and smoke hanging in his hair and the optical nature of his special yellow contacts makes his eyes glow almost supernaturally. "Somebody call a goddamn ambulance!"

He moves forward again, stooping to check the pulses, condition and identities of the people on the ground.

Sound is still a muted din in Max's ears, coming back slowly over the moments that have passed, replacing the high-pitched ringing. The van is little more than a twisted axel and blackened metal surrounded by burning wreckage and scattered, injured people. Most of them were knocked over by the blast, some have cuts and bruises, those closer to the van were ripped apart by the flying metal, blood and dust clinging together in a very familiar way to Max. You don't serve a tour of duty in Iraq without becoming familiar with IEDs.

Smoke rises up high into the clear skies, black and choking, and there's no sign of Colene or her body anywhere; so much smoke and fire, so much destruction. All because someone was born differently.

And Max can approximate where the bomb was placed based on the explosion pattern. If for instance, it was inside the van or by it. The ringing in his ears is all too familiar, and not from years spent on movie sets.

He blinks and for a moment he's somewhere else, somewhere where cuts and explosions and gunfire are very real. But he fights it away and pushes the images out with a shake of his head. He grabs for a nearby fire extinguisher and charges towards the source of the fire. Other people start to move and help each other up. There's a siren off in the distance, but this is Midtown. The crew cleared off the road for their trucks, but it's not exactly a clear shot for emergency vehicles to reach this ruined area of the city.

It may take a long time for authorities to sift through the wreckage of the vehicle and find out just how many lives were lost today, but braving the heat and smoke and flames, Maxwell Quinn refuses to let any lingering ife to unsaved. Surrounded by the roar of the flames and the stinging smoke, he works feverishly to put out the fires and search for the wounded amongst the dead.

Sirens blare across New York City, smoke rises up beyond the tops of skyscrapers, and the live of an action movie star has just taken a twist into reality; a sharp nose-dive down into life imitating art.

And death imitating art.

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