Expect the Unexpected


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Scene Title Expect the Unexpected
Synopsis Doyle and Niles are out looking for April Silver, with murderous intent. April wasn't figuring on her contemplations being disturbed, but they are. Unfortunately for Doyle, his victim isn't quite who he thought.
Date June 11, 2009

A Street in Brooklyn

The rain stopped a while ago, leaving the streets dark with damp, the skies dismally overcast. It's not exactly a great day, weather-wise — though at least it isn't raining right now. Still, the streets are only sparsely populated at the moment, a few people here and there.

It's not that far to the neighborhood of Red Hook, an area now rather familiar to the time-travelers. April Bradley has picked this stretch of street to walk for almost exactly that reason — not because there might be time-travelers here, but in the faint hope that she might somehow glean a degree of understanding from the environment they once frequented.

Where her older counterpart is now, the textile factory having been outed by agents of more traditional law enforcement, the Company agent hasn't a clue. But she might guess at something if she manages to think like her other-self. She's let her hair return to its natural wavy state; dressed not in the casually professional garb she prefers, but in jeans, apple-green tee, and a denim jacket purchased secondhand. Sneakers, in browns and grays, rather than black dress shoes.

She's been walking all morning, and inspiration has yet to strike.

It's taken awhile for the pair of malcontents to find their target; days and weeks spent keeping out of sight for the most part, hunted as well as hunters, and they knew it. The last of the money provided by Reed before he broke with their little group is starting to run out for Eric Doyle when the word comes that one of Niles' duplicates has spotted her — the last loose end to be tied up before they can move on with their lives. Or try to.

A black SUV cruises along down the same block that April's standing along, the driver a handsome middle-aged woman calmly settled behind the wheel. Calmly, save for her eyes, pupils dilated in horror. Doyle's hand absently guides her own hands on the wheel from the back, humming a soft little lullabye under his breath as he watches through the polarized side windows for the woman whose course they'll intersect with soon.

The near-rain is bad for duplicates. Even a little bit of mist gives him static and a nagging headache. He can still use his duplicates, but some will 'disconnect' or reception gets fuzzy. It means he has to be closer to his duplicates than he usually would be to keep his head clear. He's also cautious because, well, Miss April knows his power and could have at one point accessed his files to see how to capture him.

His physical self is seated in the back of a pub across the street while one of his duplicates keeps an eye on her from high above in an apartment. A college student lies twitching on the floor nearby. Sorry kid, but he needed a good lookout point.

In the pub, Niles dials his phone. Doyle's rings. When the puppeteer picks up, he says, "She's headed north. Are you almost here?"

The black SUV is just one of many other cars that have been on the street this morning; April doesn't pay it any more attention than she did the rest, her hands tucked into the pockets of her coat, gaze wandering over the buildings without really paying much attention to them. Her thoughts are turned inward, musing over the recent lack of information on the time-travelers. Where have they disappeared to, and what are they planning?

"Mmmhm. I'm almost… there you are, April," Doyle's lips curve in a slow, satisfied smile at the sight of the woman walking along the street, the hand not holding the phone tilting slightly to one side. The woman driving turns the wheel in perfect timing with the gesture, foot easing from the gas as the vehicle rolls up alongside the Company woman.

Where have they gone? What are they planning? Well, they're right here… at least one of them is. Those eyes are dark as they watch her through the window, waiting for her to notice them pulling up— and when she shows any signs of it, he brings his hand up sharply, his power lashing out to twine about her limbs, seeking to pull them upwards like a puppet jerked up on its strings. Subtle threads reaching to close tight the hormonal and chemical doors and gates that allow her to use her powers.

"You hooked your little prize, then? All right. I'm watching. Holler if you need me." Niles' tone is disaffected, distant. This is Doyle's prize. He's just here to make sure the puppeteer doesn't end up shoved in the back of a van again and in need of rescuing.
High above, a crackly blue ghost watches from the dry shelter of an apartment building, down on the top of April's head and the SUV that pulls alongside her.

The SUV pulls up beside — and abruptly April's feet no longer respond to her own commands. She thus ceases walking and stands, statue-still, eyes wide with surprise. Her hands don't move, either. Neither does her power respond. This is a new thing. Her power has never not answered.

April Bradley is instantly afraid.

The door of the SUV slides open with a rasp on its track, and there's Eric Doyle (the Elder, as it were) regarding her with an almost beatific smile upon his lips. "Agent Silver," he nearly purrs, his dangling fingers rocking lightly as he turns her towards the vehicle and walks her towards it to climb in as he moves aside, "Won't you join me for a ride? I'd join you, but I wouldn't want some of your Company friends to interrupt our little talk."

Niles's duplicate perches in a window above street level like a rooster on barntop. He peers down at the street, at the scene unfolding. No need to interfere unless fireworks start flying. So far, Doyle seems to have it under control.

Agent Silver? She doesn't have a choice but to walk forward, climbing up into the SUV with Doyle. "I'd pass," April states as she does so, "but that doesn't seem to be an option." No fireworks are in sight, though the agent is of course carrying a gun. She can't exactly use it.

Down into a seat she's guided, and Doyle slides the door closed with a harsh bang. "Drive on," he casually says, gesturing towards the front with a brush of his hand that has the driver start to drive. Settling in beside her, he reaches up to pull a seatbelt on, flashing her an almost boyish grin — that seems nevertheless a bit tired, worn down, "Safety first, after all. Really, you're a hard woman to find, April. You'd think that you were avoiding us."

The woman sits unnaturally still in her seat, the usual small settling-in motions denied her, frame held rigid by Doyle's control. Hazel eyes watch the puppeteer, though her watching is rather moot; she knows he isn't going to let her go.

What is this about? What did her doppleganger do?

"And you're easy to find?" April asks. "I'd think, after the NYPD raid, we'd all just want to lay low for a bit. Shake the Company off our trails."

"You work for the Company, April," comes the response, along with an expressive roll of his eyes — a bit of a chuckle starting, dying on his lips as he offers her the sort of grin that could fall away for a scowl at any moment, one brow lifting, "Do you really think I'm that much of an idiot? The Agents knew I was here — not the younger me, this me. Which means someone spilled the beans." The other brow lifts, joining it, "You."

"Used to," April corrects. She knows her future-self isn't working for them now, so that's decidedly true. "They knew the minute you — we — got here, Doyle." She'd lift her hand, but she can't. Settles for words instead. "On your neck. Two parallel lines. You've seen them in a mirror before, I'm sure?"

"Hm." Doyle turns his head slightly in the direction of those marks, his head shaking ever so slightly, "It doesn't matter. I know where your loyalties lie, April. Not even Edward trusted you — except to betray us." He smirks to that, both brows lifting, "He meant for you to do it, I'm pretty sure. All this time you were doing exactly what he expected."

There isn't a lot she can say to that. April's thoughts flit rapidly, seeking any way she might coax information out of Doyle, but most of all to get away… only she's becoming more certain by the heartbeat that there is no possible 'away'. She could tell him she isn't Silver, but Doyle would probably kill her anyway. And then go find Silver.

At least this way one of them survives, right?

"I don't believe that. But it doesn't really matter, does it?"

"No…" Doyle shakes his head, sighing heavily as he looks down, then flicks his gaze up to her, the whites showing brightly around their darker hearts, "…no, I suppose it doesn't."

The puppeteer lifts his hand, drawing hers with it in the same motion. "Let's see," he murmurs to himself, reaching to try and activate her power, attempting to forge one of those force-blades of hers, "This can't be too hard…"

It was one of the more difficult facets for the woman to master, but by now the paths of her power are well-worn; a splinter of silver light forms itself just above April's upheld hand, all of its edges sharp enough to make the wind bleed — never mind errant bits of flesh and bone. She doesn't look at the nascent forcefield, but regards Doyle steadily, unspeaking. April Bradley has nothing left to say — at least, not to him.

If Doyle were a telepath, well, then there would be more to hear. But neither of them are, and none of her heartfelt prayers can change what's coming next.

"There we are." Doyle smiles that heartless smile of his, regarding that splinter of argent light, head tilting to one side, to the other as he admires it. "Pretty, isn't it? I wonder— if you weren't such a bitch, would you've learned to make something nicer? Pretty dolls for children and stars for the Christmas Tree."

Eric's chin lifts back, tilting to bare his throat, mimic'd in turn by hers as he brings his — and her — hand up, directing that gleaming spike towards the underside of her chin. "Goodbye, Agent Silver," he sighs, sounding tired as he smiles faintly to her, "I expect I'll see you soon enough. In the end, we're all just puppets of someone, and eventually, the strings get cut."

Then he brings his hand up, and his chin down, as if to scratch at an itch there. For the woman he's plucked off the street, the end result will be rather less pleasant.

She's a bitch? April Bradley has a rather different opinion, but no time in which to express it. Nor to consider his philosophical statement, for the invisible strings attached to her power and her body drive the monomolecular blade through her throat, the underside of her jaw, its point lancing into her brain. The instant of April's death is unmistakable, as the shard of energy dissolves into nothing, blood freely spilling out over the SUV's interior. It's a messy way to die — but quick, which ultimately negates all considerations of pleasant or not.

It's quick, indeed, and maybe that's one sign of how tired this Eric Doyle is. Of being behind bars, of running, of this whole game. He's old, and alone, and there's always more blood. A heavy sigh, and he gestures with one hand to guide the driver towards the roadside once more.

Once the SUV's halted, he steps out into the rain, looking up at it for a few moments as it falls around him in tiny droplets lit by the light of the city. He smiles sadly, and slams the door closed. Heavy steps lead him along the side of the vehicle, and the puppeteer leans in the window to look at the still, silent driver. "If you happen to survive," he offers to her, casually, "Tell them that the President's not the President."

Strings are pulled, twisted; the sports utility vehicle pulls away from the curb and starts straight down the road, steadily accelerating. The heavy-set puppet master's walking away from the scene as the sound of a vehicle smashing headlong into a brick wall shatters the peaceful silence of the resumed rain, his head lifting to regard the faint flickering of blue up on the rooftops. And he nods, before walking on into the day.

Previously in this storyline…

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