Endgame - Suffer The Children


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Scene Title Endgame — Suffer the Children
Synopsis Elisabeth Harrison's strike force assaults the Sea View Hospital on Staten Island, in their final showdown with the Vanguard.
Date January 28, 2009

Sea View Hospital

There comes a time in every person's life, where difficult decisions must be made.

Snow falls hard from dark gray skies, snow that is driven by a sharp and cold wind that comes off of the sea, blowing over rocky shorelines and thorugh leafless trees. The shoreline of Staten Island is a craggy and broken vista, overlooking the island of Manhattan in the distance, and the west shore of Queens. Rising up from this particular shore, lies the crumbling ruin of a place of healing. A desolate reminder of this Island's once prosperous nature. It wasn't the bomb to blame for this hospital's closure, it was simply the victim of this island's decaying glory.

A time where fate places a choice in front of you, and tests your morality, and your conviction.

Sea View Hospital looks like something out of a movie, an almost too-haunting depicting of urban decline. An old and brick-faced three story women's hospital. Now much of it lies in crumbling ruin, with most of the ceiling having collapsed in on itself, revealing broken and jagged support structure that resembles the bared ribcage of some animal's carcass. Windows are smashed out all along ground level, and those that are intact on the upper floors are covered with thick layers of grime, darkening whatever lies beyond. The front doors of the Hospital are broken from their hinges, left to lay amidst the accmulating snow and dead vegetation that threatens to consume the front of the building.

But when presented with a choice that weighs the lives of the many, over the lives of the few, can we truly find the strength within ourselves to make the right decision?

But for all its abandonment, clear signs of recent occupation are evident. It was the tire tracks of vehicles that lead Phoenix's assault team — lead by Elisabeth Harrison — to the Hospital grounds, where they discovered a yellow schoolbus, only dusted with freshly fallen snow. The crime scene tape that blocked off the hospital's entrance following SCOUT's encounter with Amato Salucci here in October has been torn away, blowing wildly in the frigid wind. From the second floor, shadows move past broken windows, viewed through binoculars to reveal soldiers in urban camouflage, patrolling the second floor. Down on the ground floor, more movement; men in the same style of gray-white camouoflage with black tactical vests, and…

But what is the right choice? Comprimising our own convictions for the greater good, or sticking to one's own faith and belief, even if it seems as though all other options have been exhausted? Is there always a right and a wrong answer?

Children. Partially visible through the ground floor window that views into the Day Room, five or six school-age children can be spied from the cover of the shoreline through Elisabeth's binoculars, huddled together with their jackets on and watched by masked soldiers with assault rifles. They're using children as human shields, huddled together as insurance to hold off any potential police presence.

Will we make the difficult choice?

Third floor, barely visible through the cover of the snow and the broken wall of the hospital. An angled metallic tube, watched by two more soldiers, one open end aimed out through the hole in the ceiling towards inland Staten Island. Faded yellow stenciling on the side of the barrel are printed instructions for operation and firing. It matches the descriptions of the mortar launcher.

Or will we do what we feel is right?

Elisabeth murmurs softly to the group, "Fuck. We've got kids on the ground." She skims the glasses over the entire area, though, and says quietly, "Wireless's estimate is a hundred guards in there, though not all of them are on duty at any one time and that could have changed since she gave the us numbers. I can count fifteen from here, but visibility is shit." She pulls the binocs down and looks at them.

"Owen…. get in there and see what you can get me for intel, we're going to hunker down here for just a minute and see what we can do about regrouping with the idea of getting kids out." They'll need to revamp …. if the kids are coming out. She looks at each of them and says quietly, "You need to prep right now for the possibility that these kids are the vector. We've already seen people used as carriers once… so put it in your head and keep it there. We may have no options here but to leave them when the thermite goes." She hates what she just said. Hates it more than anything she's ever said in her life. "Owen… you're on. Min… help me work out an evac plan for if they're coming. Brian.. keep watch."

Shit. Kids. Why do they always use Kids. Because monkey's use kids to stop a fight. becuase only the cold blooded will actually shoot a kid. But Elisabeth is right. 'Just talk really really low owen, we'll hear you okay? Good luck" Gesturing to the mics they have and the earpieces. Less osund to tip off the bad guys. "Think they're infected possibly?" Minea's moving her own binoculars, taking a peek herself, counting who she can see. 'Can't use the bus, if they're not. Could be rigged" a hmming sound comes from the brunette's throat. 'I'd rig it if I were them. SO we'll have to get them down here. I'd prefer not to shoot them. Even if they are infected. We can isolate them in the car and call in whomever we need ot, to take care of them."

Owen takes in all the details, and his instructions, with an odd thoughtful look, jaw skewed, mouth twisted into a tight shape, wolfish brows drawn close together. He makes a false start toward the building, barely a twitch, the moment he learns about the kids. Fortunately restraint wins out over impulse, and he cuts a glance toward Elisabeth before nodding.
As much as he can, he stays in other peoples' footprints, or tire tracks, or whatever other means he can find to disguise his progress. To the best of his (admittedly limited, no matter how well they prepared him) knowledge that'd be the only thing to give him away when he kicks it into high gear and darts into the hospital. He intends to explore the place from top to bottom, staying wherever the soldiers aren't as much as circumstances permit. He'll cover his mouth when his exploration brings him anywhere near the kids, and scour the place for their objectives. If all goes well, he'll show up a few minutes later, pretty much where he was standing, with something to share.

Brian is settled against a slope of snow, his back pressed into the white fluff. A balacalava pulled down around his head. He's not looking at the building, at least not with this body. His gaze is on Owen, Minea, and Elisabeth. He listens softly as he just sets. Clad in the Navy blue with kevlar underneath, he places his gloved hands atop his knees. When Elisabeth says just leaving the thermite in there with the kids, Brian darts a look at her. He stares at her for a long moment but says nothing.

Two more Brian's are ten feet behind the crew, watching the building quietly. They are both holding assault rifles. Russian made; Ak-108's, alongside the weapons issued by Conrad and company. The closest Brian, sitting with Elisabeth and Minea, is armed with the pistol and an additional Desert Eagle .50. With holsters, even. The young man says nothing. Just observes for now, his heart already pounding.

With the blur of speed, Owen is in through the front doors and across the entry-hall. Zipping from one room to another, the speed in which he carries himself over the floor is fortunate, for his weight on the weaker sections prone to collapse is so fleeting. A blue here, a zip there, Owen appears in a room with his back pressed to a wall, spotting a soldier standing beside a window smoking a cigarette out of direct line of sigt, his mask rolled up to his nose.

Another dash down a hall, zooming rush up a flight of broken stairs, leaping to carry the span between broken steps, bounding off of a wall at unbelievable speeds. Owen skids to a stop on the top floor; four soldiers standing around a mortar launcher, one is keeping an eye on a wristwatch held in his hand, one is sitting in an old and rusted wheelchair with an assault rifle lazily leaned against his shoulder. The third and fourth are standing, looking out through the collapsed ceiling that snow filters through.

Owen breaks into a sprint, down stairs and thorugh a hole in the floor, landing on a pile of broken debris and skimming across to the Day Room on the ground floor, past red-painted graffiti on the walls, past peeling pain and cracked murals meant to be uplifting and hopeful — but something about peeling paintings of angels and the sick seems more disquieting than uplifting now.

Eight men stand in a large and open room, with twenty young kids kneeling on the floor, huddled together in a circle. They're relaxed, lazily so, and one of them is moving by the windows, rifle in hand. All of them are armed, but they aren't prepared for an attack — they're not expecting this.

Another zip and a flash, and Owen is back, having counted twenty-seven soldiers in all through the building, less than half what was anticipated for this place. If it weren't for the wrinkle of the children, this might be wonderful news.

"I can't think of a single other reason that they'd have kids in this hellhole, can you?" Liz asks Minea softly. It will break her to give this order… but she'll do it if she has to. If there are no other options. She pulls a small blueprint from her inner pocket, a minature of the floor plan of the hospital. "I see guards here, here, here in the binoculars. Kids are here," she points.

When Owen gets back and reports, Liz frowns at Minea. "Twenty-seven? That's…." Well, great news really. Except that it kind of reinforces the possibility that 1) They moved the thing we're here to get, or 2) The kids ARE the thing we're here to destroy. Shit. "Owen, did you see any sign of the apparatus that the good doctor said we should be looking for?? A lab? Anything?"

He watches them both quietly, barely stirring when Owen gets back. "There has to be a way to avoid hurting the kids." He won't even acknowledge the K word when it comes to the children. Shooting at a bad guy who's trying to commit genocide is one thing. Shooting at a helpless child who was taken captive? That is quite another thing, entirely. Closing his eyes, Brian raises his would be gaze straight up, and starts to pray.

There's a rumble from down the road, visible from the rocky hill where Elisabeth and company are hunkered down and out of sight. The rev of an angine as a yellow moving truck comes rolling up to the hospital. The truck comes ot a stop next to the schoolbus, and both of the front doors opening, with men in olive-colored jackets with green and brown camouflage pants on come stepping out. Different uniforms than then men inside, both of them looking much darker in complexion, hair tucked up under green military caps.

One throws a cigarette down into the snow, walking up to the front of the building, while one of the soldiers on the top floor watches from the hole in the roof. The other circles around to the back of the truck, rolling open the back door to climb up inside. He's gone for only a moment, returning with a black plastic case with a biohazard symbol stenciled on the side.

He moves towards the front of the building, calling up to the men on the top floor, "Nós estamos aqui! Não do caralho dispare em nos…" Spanish? Maybe Portugese?

"Mortar's important. Children we can deal with" Minea murmurs, looking at the blueprints that Elisabeth has. "Get the mortar. If they start firing at the kids when the mortar burns, then the kids are likely not vector. I'd almost bet the kids outside aren't vector. Kids inside, questionable. Owen initiate the thermite, get out, We'll start taking out the guards from out here. Get as close as we can, Elisabeth can throw up a bubble to mask our sound so they can't pick out where our location is right off the bat."

She wishes she had brought a rifle. "The children are a liability. Much as it tears at me, we'll save as many as we can, which is more than they would do. Draw them out to us till they don't fall for it anymore, and then work our way in. Consider every open window in that building a sniper hole. WHen in doubt, shoot. Go for the head, not the chest, as they are likely wearing vests as well…" More people. Minea listens before smiling. "Not spanish, but close. Italian or portugese. Pretty sure they told them not to shoot, that they're here…"

Sucking in a deep breath, Liz starts to speak and then shuts up as the other truck comes in. When Minea translates, she considers the options. "I'm agreed on the thermite. Get it into the launcher without them seeing you, and get back out…. " She looks at Owen. "I *believe* that these kids probably *are* a vector for the virus, based on what we've seen before. Which means you're going to be at-risk here, Owen….. the rest of us are gonna go in as soon as you get clear of the thermite and radio that it's done. While we're clearing soldiers, you're going to have to go in there, one of the Brians can meet you there, and the two of you are going to have to herd those kids out, and onto that truck. If you can get them into the truck, close them in and take them down the hill from here, but DO NOT let anyone close to them. Stop in the old cemetary, get on the cell and tell Wireless we need the CDC." She swallows. "If these kids are clean, you've lost nothing and saved them. If they're not…. the possibility exists that just be doing that, you'll be exposed."

It takes a lot less time getting to the roof when you stop caring about being spotted, and manage, through sheer force of will, to resist the urge to steal ammo clips or tie shoelaces together. That comes later. Right now, Owen is, at a speed that lets him count snowflakes, take a moment to run through his briefing on the finer points of not incinerating himself with a thermite grenade, sink his instrument of burnination down the tube of the rocket launcher and beat feet downstairs, pausing to radio to the others that the magic is about to happen.

He has part two of his mission statement to complete and in order to make that happen, those guards need to be eating floor. He borrows their guns for the task, but does not see any point pulling triggers or wasting bullets when they make perfectly fine bludgeons. His conscience will let him ignore any crunchy noises, far easier than it would the unmistakably lethal sound of gunshot. Also, loud noises might scare the kids. He'll be doing his best to incapacitate everything with a gun in the Day Room, and as far along toward dragging a couple of rugrats out the door, by the time the commotion has started. However far he gets, well that depends entirely upon things he hasn't anticipated and can't control.

Saving kids from a bunch of armed guards, destroying a mortar. Suddenly Brian is realizing how vastly unqualified they are for this job. There's got to be a way that doesn't endanger the kids. He gives a little nod to Elisabeth. If it comes to having to shoot little children, he's pretty sure he would just allow himself to be infected and die. He looks at the two women for a long time, at the moment seeing them as rather heartless. Finally he breaks his silence. "I thought my name was going to be Night Hawk." He protests.

The two Brian's with the assault rifles approach the rest of the group in a squatting run, hunkering down once they reach the rest. Rifles head protectively at their chests. The two are looking at Elisabeth and Minea, ready to follow them with guns blazing. Silently. That is.

The first Brian is already up and running. He's got to meet Owen at the Day room. So running in a slight crouch, to stay behind mounds of snow and away from any wide open spots he makes his way towards Owen and company.

Minea's moving too once Owen's started the party. Her two pistols still secured, the provided weapons from Conrad up and out. She keeps her body low, moving to keep in range of Elisabeth. The men with the new vehicle are her target, not the ones near the kids, ACt now, think later, rely on instinct. Minea eases don onto her belly, elbows supporting her, and taking aim, planning her rapid fire shots when the bubble is up, and then taking them.

Elisabeth is moving, too, as soon as Owen gives the 'all clear' — keeping low to the ground, she crouches behind the truck and takes aim at where she saw a small group of them all together. The weapons fire is nearly completely silent, but the shattering of what remains of the glass in the windows is not. The confusion of breaking glass and no gunshot sounds, though, may buy us enough time to shoot half a dozen or more of the bastards. And the confusion of the thermite going off at the same time? That might kill the ones near the launcher where they sit. Lots and lots of (silent) gunfire, on small, three-burst rounds the way the SWAT guys at the range showed her this week.

And damned if at least two of the men in the group Elisabeth aimed for and the two men Minea aimed for don't go down right where they stand. Blood everywhere. And the (silent) gunshots continue!

One moment everyone in the Day Room is standing, a soldier standing by the window is lightning a cigarette, head ducked down and rufle slung over his shoulder. The two Portugese men are zipped past as Owen rushes into the Day Room faster than the naked eye. The soldier feels a yank, looking up from his lighter — his gun is missing — CRACK. Now all he sees is stars and blurry vision as he staggers forward and crashing down onto the ground.

One moment later everyone in the room is on the floor. SOldiers writhe and curl up on themselves, bleeding from bludgeons to the face and head, some conscious, some not. The children barely have tme to react before Owen is snatching them, grabbing them one by one by the arms and turning into a blur of speed that would make Magnes call out comparisons to the speedforce right there and then.

When the Brians starts moving, there's no one at the windows on the ground floor to spot him, and something has drawn the attention of the men upstairs away from the hole in the roof. He arrives at the front entrance, pressed up to the wall before ducking in as Owen blows right past him in a haze of speed, dragging one of the kids with him. In Brian's field of view, he can see the Day Room down the east side of the hall, children whimpering and sobbing, huddled together near a group of unconcious guards. There's a trail of bloody bodies from the direction owen came from — Go Owen.

Down the west side of the hall, one Brian can see the backs of the two Portugese men, one carrying the black plastic case marked with the bright red biohazard symbol. "Onde a foda é Drake? Não é supor estar aqui?" The one carrying the case asks to the other, who just shrugs as they make their way for the stairwell.

Elisabeth and Minea arrive at the front entrance in time to see Owen blurring past them out the front door with a kid in hand. From the hall, Brian can see the front windows of the hospital erupt in a hail of gunfire as the sound goes suddenly dead. There's no crash of glass, save for the faint thwip, thwip of automatic gunfire, as if he had plugged his ears. The near-silent sound catches soldiers off guard, as two of the men in urban camo heading towards the Day Room are clipped in the shoulder, another hit square in the head and send crashing into the wall.

All of this happens right in front of the two Portugese men, and the one carrying the case is perforated with bullets from the opening volley, sending him collapsing to the ground in a spasming heap as glass silent rains down around him. The other man lets out a loud shout that is swallowed by silence, dropping to the ground as he withdraws a pistol from his jacket, then hastily scrambles to grab the biohazard case, running while ducking towards the stairs.

"Okay-" Owen begins to address his squirming cargo, poised to set him down. He takes a look around, decides he's too close to the action, and zips closer to the shore, farther from the action, and tries again. "Okay-" he completes his bid to set the child down-he hasn't taken a moment to register whether it's a boy or girl, just grabbed something child-shaped and vaguely warm and is now setting the bundle down. "Stay here and stay super quiet and I promise you'll make it home safe, okay? Good. Sit. Stay. Bye!" It took forever as Owen reckons time while really moving, to try and find a good spot.

He starts back toward the building, slows into view for just a moment to gather up the case with the funny symbol right out of someone's hand. The processes in his head are still skittering back down to normal speed and he gets curious, and takes two deliberate, hurried breathes before closing his eyes and-

A crater of displaced snow remains behind as he hastens to the roof to try and unite the case with what he expects to be a melting, burning launcher, so as to take care of whatever's in the case along with the rocket.

In the hall, Owen blurs past the Portugese soldier, snagging the case right out of his hand. A confused spit of profanity from the soldier goes unheard thanks to Elisabeth's field of sound dampening. With the case in hand, Owen doesn't stick around to see the soldier's reaction as he rockets up the stairs and to the top floor.

Back upstairs, though, seeing the chaos wrought by his actions, Owen witnesses the flare of smoke and flames from the thermite he hadn't even been around to witness ignite. Three of the soldiers are down on the ground clutching their eyes, having been staring directly into the blast when the thermite blew, blinded by the flash. The heat near the launcher is intense, enough that it's catching the floor around it and much of the building itself alight with flames.

By now the flames from the thermite can be seen from outside, licking tongues of white-hot fire that ignite the old and brittle wood of the roof floor, catching the peeling wallpaper and buckling wooden floors with roaring flames and choking black smoke.

But there's someone else up here now, and when Owen comes zooming to a stop, he spots a soldier he hadn't noticed before. Dressed entirely in a black uniform and a tactical vest, one black watchman's cap pulled down over blonde hair. A pistol in one hand as he squints his eyes, turning away from the thermite fire with a choking cough. Spotting Owen though, his eyes go wide, and he raises his pistol.

The sound of a gunshot rings out, outside of Elisabeth's field.

Frowning deeply, Brian raises up his pistol, the silencer attatched. Taking a few steps forward, he pauses as the man who had the Biohazard case suddenly does not anymore. He frowns, lowering the gun for just a moment. The young man decides Owen can handle the confused Portugese guy. Instead the replicator darts down the other way in the hall, scanning the day room silently, pointing the weapon at any adultish figure who seems to be moving more than an unconcious person should be. Once the scan is done, Brian tucks his gun away and pulls down his balacalava so his face could be seen. "Kids." He says in a soothing voice, going to one knee. "I'm here to take you home, okay guys? Now I need you all to stay really quiet, follow me close and do whatever I say okay? And we'll get you home safe. Can everybody promise me?" He says, raising up his right hand as if taking an oath.

With Elisabeth, the two Brian's have their assault rifles raised up, taking off muted shots whenever a subject is present. They follow the two women silently, though they find wielding an assault rifle decidedly more difficult than a pistol. Though they do their best to look as badass, as possible.

More go down, Minea's taking a heartbeat to focus and fire, finger pulls the trigger. She's confidant enough to fire off another four shots, double tapping her trigger before she moves. The last of the newly arrived portugese downed by silent bullets, "Omega. Bio to the fire. Hawks, Echo and I are going to pick a new spot, keep an eye above clear to the children." The ISA agent is on the move. Keep with Liz, within the sound bubble.

The sound of a gunshot report from somewhere OTHER than our locale distracts Elisabeth enough that the silence bubble drops, leaving the machine pistols and the Brians's rifles covered only by their mechanical silencers. SHIT! Owen! It has to be him, who the hell else would they be shooting at? Standing in the hallway down below where the launcher was, Liz touches the throat mike to say into it, "Omega, if you can move…. get the fuck out of there. Incoming!"

And she hopes and prays that he can get out of there fast enough….. because the subsonic waves are going to be on an aimed vector, diagonally up through the floors. It shouldn't affect anyone except those in their direct path, but she's got a mental map of the place — it'll affect anyone in a straight line between her and the roof, straight through the launcher room. And in the meantime, she keeps on firing at soldiers who come into her line of sight.

"..four one-thousand…" Owen whispers tensely, trying to will himself out of normal time, back to the surreal world where everything moves so slow, and his own mental safeguards keep him firmly rooted to the here and now, feet moving like mud, even the racing of his mind not fast enough to carry him past inchoate panic. "…Five one-thousand…" His arms are moving according to impulses he'd been considering before he slowed down, trying to aim the case toward the blinding, burning mortar even as he registers the presence of the man with the gun that's pointed, rather distressingly, at him.

"Huh," he observes, forgetting what comes after five because he's certain it's not the screaming noise that rips through his consciousness as part of him panics with the realization that he's been hit in the ribs with a steamroller. He's been complaining about the kevlar since it was given to him, and now he's hoping it works. His back hits the floor first, and then the back of his head. He grimaces angrily, indignantly, toward the direction of the shooter. "That's me," he says distractedly, his stream of consciousness fraught with turbulence. "Omega. I got a cool code name this time." He raises a defiant, shaky middle finger, and then lets his head fall to the floor. "Ten."

That should've meant he could run away. What it means is, a heartbeat later he's at the mercy of gravity, the fastest moving object ever to lay down and not be able to control where he goes. The kevlar lets him slide down a flight of steps and land on his side. "…three one-thousand…" He grins triumphantly, and becomes the fastest man ever to limp to the ground floor of a derelict husk of a hospital.

"Fuck, Fuck!" He breaks radio silence, there's no point now. Clicking a walkie that's attached to the shoulder o fhis vest, Drake calls out as he watches Owen blur away from the entrance, "Kazimir!" He barks out into the mic with a burst of static. There's no response, where the fuck is he? Another click, "Ellinka!" Silence. "Hans!"

Suddenly the world spins, low throbbing vibrations penetrate thorugh the floor, mixing with the choking fmes of the burning thermite and Drake collapses down to one knee. "G-God damnit!" He clutches his stomach, doubling over as he looks back to spot the biohazard case containing the virus piled on top of the inferno of the thermite. "Fuck!"

«Drake!» A voice cracks out over his walkie, it's Hans. «Drake, status! We're under heavy fire, I could use backup!» Drake lurches forward, gagging as he drops his gun and doubles over, retching out a choking sound as the subsonics get a hold of his innards and make everything spin in an unfortunate way. He reaches up for the walkie, clicking a button with one hand, "Nhh… H-Hans… Ambush. Rrrgghh — " Drake muscles up to his feet. He's endured tear-gas and other stress training, but this sensation of vertigo and nausea is unbearable. "We — "

Any warning Drake might have given, is swallowed by the sound of the third floor taking all of the abuse it can. There's a creak and a crash as the fire weakens the floor, and the third floor completely gives way, causing the burning thermite, Drake, and the bodies of the blinded soldiers to crash down to the second floor.

Which then buckles, shatters, and gives way.

Drake and the burning wreckage of the third floor come crashing down into the offices north of the lobby, sending a cloud of smoke, ash and debris blowing out into the hall with the collision as the fire continues to burn out of control. The whole hospital is going up!

Amidst the chaos, it takes practiced aim and several shots to drop the soldiers in urban camoflauge, their tactical vests doing a great deal to stop bullets, espescially the low-calibur rounds from machine pistols. But so caught off guard as they are, the first few to get n Minea, Elisabeth and the Brian's way are gunned down, crumbpling to the floor after several bursts of gunfire. Clips are ejected, reload, and this time the gunfire is directed at them.

Two soldiers come diving out of one of the doorways in the hall opposite of the day room on the ground floor, spraying the hall with gunfire, bullets ripping through the plaster of the walls with tiny white-power bursts. The bullets tear through the old walls, shattering the ceramic tiles in the day room, bullet swhizzing over the heads of the kids and shattering what little glass remained in some windows.

One of the soldiers ducks behind a broken wall, breathing heavy and fast as he unclips something from his vest, and then rolls out into the hall only to find himself struck in the throat by a burst of gunfire from Minea's machine pistol. But what he was doing, the motion of his hand, it all connects.




A grenade bounces its way down the hall towards the lobby where Elisabeth and Minea hold down gunfire from the one soldier still shooting on the ground floor.


"Grenade!" Brian practically screams as it comes bouncing towards his group. The pair of Brians are instantly dashing the other way. One free hand flying out at Elisabeth's elbow to try and tug her along with him as he runs. "Get down!" He cries, the pair of them abandoning their weapons to the ground to more effectively leap out of the blast radius.

Over at the much calmer end of the Hospital, Brian is still calming down the children. Pausing for a moment, Brian jerks a look up at the sudden crash. His lips tensing for a moment, but instantly he turns it back into a calmer look, for the sake of the children. "You." He points out one of the older more matronly looking girls. "I want you to wait by the door okay? When I motion with my hand I want you to send me groups of five, okay? Count them out, and then let them go. We're all going to get in the truck and go home okay? Now everyone be nice. Help each other if you fall, and remember, be very quiet." He urges, with that the young man gets off his knees, his hands brushing against shoulders and heads soothingly as he makes his way to the door.

Bolting outside into the snow, his gun is taken out again, scanning the area rather quickly as he runs. The bus is given a closer peer, pistol first, but finally he throws open the back of the yellow truck, pointing his pistol into it first and that's when he finds…


Going to one knee, he motions for the first group of kids to come.

Shit shit shit — Grenade — and look Brian's saving Elisabeth. Minea's smart though and she's seen it the moment that clinking noise started. Burning collaspsin building, the dark haired woman is up and moving keeping low getting the hell out of the way of the grenade and it's range. Someone gets in her way, one of the enemy and the agent is firing off a shot quick as can be, hoping that the man doesn't get a bead on her.

Oh shit. With the soldiers hit the hallway — the ones in tac vests who know what the hell they're doing — Elisabeth is far more worried about their chances of survival. Even as she raises her weapon and turns to start shooting at the guy with the grenade, the third floor gives way and the fire starts spreading. Brian launching himself at her and yanking her along is probably a good thing …. mostly. At least she had the presence of mind in that split second to NOT pull the trigger and accidently shoot her own Brians!

As she scrambles back out of the way, she sees Minea pulling back too, which is good. Hauling ass back toward the front door, she throws herself around the corner into the foyer, hoping that's far enough away from the blast. The trick is, there are three more guys coming in the front door from around the far side of the building, weapons at the ready. And as soon as they see people hurtling toward them, they're gonna start shooting too.

When Owen runs fast, he does everything else fast too, which means the pain in his ribs seemingly has more time to ground him in the here and now, even when he's going so fast only the bullets are outrunning him, and then by a debatable margin. He returns to the task of helping Brian with the kids, only to see that he's got the situation well in hand, at least for the next five seconds. It takes him ten to find where he left the first one he rescued and bring the poor kid over to where the other ones are. From there he hunkers down to determine his next move, with only his mind moving faster than the throbbing in his chest, so that he can figure out how best to make himself useful.

Oh god, there's — The sound of gunshots snap Minea's consciousness to the blinding pain of bullets hitting her vest, knocking her back against the wall. One arm flies up, firing into the soldier's chest. There's pain, hot and wet, it's not just the vest that was struck. Her fingers move to the feeling of warm blood, steaming from the chill in the air. There's a coughing choke as the soldier that leapt in front of Minea staggers back, drooling a trail of blood through the air as he collides with the floor. She ducks low, leaving a trail of blood behind from her midsection as she moves to get around behind one of the brick support walls in the lobby, keeping her head down as the sound of metal on the tiled floor rolls to a halt.

Outside, the children are issued one by one, climbing out the window from the day room and landing in the deep snow, hurrying across the snow-dusted parking lot amidst the blizzard, rushing towards the moving truck where Brian crouches. But then the building erupts again, a sudden blast of debris exploding out the windows along with the detonation of the grenade his duplicates had shouted about. A portion of the front wall ruptures from the blast, raining bricks and debris down on the parking lot, shattering the window of the school bus. The children break down, crying and running towards Brian, helped up into the moving truck one by one, trying not to panic in the sheer chaos of what is transpiring. Owen's appearance couldn't be any more timely, helping the terrified children into the truck as fast as they can.

Elisabeth and Brian come face to face with two more of the Vanguard soldiers, one dropping to the snow and leveling a rifle, firing a short burst towards Brian, but — thanks to the snow blowing in from the hole in the front wall — the shot rips over his shoulder and blasts into the wall Minea is using for cover. Another blast of gunfire, and this time it hits home, sending one Brian to his knee as the the burst-fire hits him square in the leg. Elisabeth, however, raises her gun, opening fire on the pain with a few quick shots, sending them both crumpling back out the door on their backs, dead. Just as one Brian is downed, the other that is with Elisabeth moves over to help his double up from the ground, to get him towards the door.

A loud explosion of gunfire cuts that idea short. Shots ring out from the offices past the lobby, several blindly aimed shots striking the Brian helping his dupe in the back, punching into his vest and knocking him off of his feet and onto the floor. Rubble shifts, more gunshots, striking the ground around Brian, sending splinters of wood and yellowed linoleum bursting into the air. Struggling through the burning wreckage a horrifying sight comes staggering out of the offices — Drake Leeds. Covered in molten burns up one side of his face, skin sloughing off like wet moss from the bark of a tree, he staggers and stumbles, flames rising up off of the back of his uniform — shock blinding him to the pain. He raises his pistol shakily again, squeezing the trigge as Brick scrambles back on his hands and feet, bullets perforating the floor just in front of him.

"F-Fucking… monsters." He spits out the words, along with a drooling trail of blood. His body armor crisps and blackens, revealing the layered plates beneath kevlar weave, "F-fucking monsters… all'a you…" Drake winces, stumbling forward on sheer adrenaline and shock, his hand holding the pistol shaking up and down. He is a soldier until the bitter end, every ounce of him committed to the brutal task of executing the Evolved.

Groaning loudly as his chest hits the ground, the Brian with the bullet in his leg seizes his replicant by the shoulders and immediately pulls him back up strongly. the two practically clambering over each other to get around the nearby corner and out of the range of Drake and his weapon. The pair of them unarmed they look longingly over at the assault rifles discarded on the ground. His back pressed against the wall, seated, the second looks for eye contact to Elisabeth. "Cover!" He yells, before giving a full on sprint at one of the AK's. Diving, he gives off his tribute to action movies everywhere, hands grabbing out at the weapon as he slides against the tile…

Grimacing at the sudden explosion and debris, Brian gets louder now. "Come on kids, let's go. Come on." He yells out now, picking up each child and placing them quickly in the back of the truck. Owen's help is much appreciated. Lifting up more kids as hastily as he can go, he motions them to file into the back of the truck. Twenty down, only six left…

"Fuck," Comes over the com's. "Delta's been hit." Minea stays hunkered down, weapon across her, ready to be aimed and fired with one hand, the other grabbing cloth from one of her many pockets to stuff into the hole. Bullets whistling above her are not unheard, and Drake is seen. Who wouldn't be able to see the flaming man. "Wrong monsters asshole!" A bloody finger settles on the trigger to fire off at the Vanguardian. "Go to fucking hell!"

Minea's shot strikes Drake square in the chest, sending him staggering back and causing his gun to drop with a clatter to the ground, two more shots take him off of his feet with a spray of red from the back of his skull. The soldier crumples backwards, collapsing to the ground as flames surge up from the offices, pieces of burning wood falling from the ceiling now as Sea View Hospital goes up in flames.

Brian wanted cover — sure! Things are happening so damn fast, it's amazing to Liz that somehow she's escaped unscathed. Drake Leeds pops up practically right in front of her and she freezes, though it's only a moment in time. Letting Minea handle Drake, Liz turns to fire on the soldiers still shooting at Brian as he dives in very cinematic fashion to get his rifle. She takes out two more of them, and then realizes her clip is empty even as Brian with his rifle gains his feet. Oh shit!

She dodges back behind a piece of wall, glancing outside to see that outside Brian and Owen have the last of the kids getting into the truck, and she says into the throat mike, "I'm out of ammo! Evac, evac! Go, go, go!" She scrambles around to get to Minea, letting the Brians cover the two women, and helps her to her feet. "I'll walk, you shoot, 'kay?" she gasps.

"Owen." Brian says loudly, as the last few kids are tossed up into the back of the truck. "Get in the front, drive the truck over to where the rest are. We'll scoop em up and get the hell out of here." The young man commands, hopping in the truck with the kids, he gently nudges them to the depths of the truck, farthest away from the opening of it. Owen is soon piloting the vehicle over to the other end of the Hospital, while Brian peers out. Soon the vehicle is parked in front of the doors.

Letting out a long spray of gunfire at the remaining soldiers, the pair of Brian's start waving their arms. "We got a van! Everyone in! Let's get out of here!" With that the uninjured Brian is simply touched by the other. Vanishing, his clothes and equipment being left behind. The remaining Brian rushes to help Minea and Elisabeth to the truck.

Leading Minea out, the sounds of gunfire have grown quiet, and Elisabeth guides the limping Minea out from the front of the burning building, long plumes of smoke rolling up from the collapsed roof, mixing with the clouds and falling snow, even as flames begin to consume the roof and walls of Sea View.

The hardest decision, often comes at the least expected time, when one presumes the world has thrown all it can at you.

At the back of the truck, Brian looks at one of the kids as the vehicle moves, a young boy that Owen had helped in. There's a bullet hole in his jacket, dead center of his chest. Brian's eyes go wide, looking down to the hole, but as his finger brushes over the boy's chest, he doesn't feel blood, doesn't see blood.

His brows furrow together, lips parting, and with a tug of the kid's coat and shirt, a flattened bullet comes rolling out of his clothing, clattering to the bed of the truck.

Fate works in mysterious ways, and it is fate itself that provides us with these choices in life. To make the hard decision…

Suddenly, the sky is alight with an orange glow not simply from the bruning hospital. It's bright — brief and intense — an enormous flash of light from the direction of Queens, followed by a warm golden glow that hangs on the horizon. The sound of the explosion is more evident than the glow through the falling snow. The sound is intense, a rumbling echo of an explosion over five miles away, but big enough to be heard from this distance.

…to do what is right…

In the eyes of his other selves, Brian can tell what is going on, he can see how dire and serious everything has become. Jersey City was a disaster, and Consolidated Edison, and Eagle Electric just— He stops, looking back at the boy that deflected a bullet with his skin. Picking up the flattened round, curling his fingers around it silently as the last of the kids are uploaded onto the truck.

…or to do what you believe in.

January 28th: I've Been Preparing For Days
January 28th: Endgame - Resonance
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