From Such Great Heights, Part II


cardinal_icon.gif doc_icon.gif kris_icon.gif risa_icon.gif shard_icon.gif white_icon.gif

Scene Title From Such Great Heights, Part II
Synopsis Cardinal and Shard's plan to confront Norman White comes to a head.
Date November 19, 2009

Liberty Island

"When liberty comes with hands dabbled in blood it is hard to shake hands with her."

— Oscar Wilde

This wasn't how it was supposed to go. The ground shakes again, a thundering roar that sounds like a jet plane circling low overhead that never quite manages to pull away from its circling path. The exterior island sounds like a riot has broken out, and that was exactly what Norman had planned. A bomb threat on Liberty island to clear out civilians and draw in law-enforcement, he's flooded the island with police, SWAT and government agencies to secure the area under the guise of a wholly mundane threat, and then unleashed pandemonium on them.

Liberty island hasn't stopped shaking for the last fifteen minutes, the towering green form of the Statue of Liberty has given her groaning discontent to the rumblings, law-enforcement on the grounds outside of the statue have drawn away from the structure, and the turbulent shaking serves to keep the waters around the island a choppy torrent of impossible seas, crashing these lapping waves up on the island's edge. Were it not for Richard Cardinal's plan, Norman may have shut off the island entirely from them.

Fluorescent lights flicker in the concrete hallway where a burrowed hole the likes of which Bug's Bunny might use to get to Albequerquie gapes. Fractures in the stone are the evidence of Shard's arrival, a back door entrance to the island from below, a way to get Cardinal's team out onto the island proper to secure the safety of the law-enforcement officers trapped in White's backhanded plan, and to serve as a launching point to stop him from… whatever it is he's planning on doing.

Through the metal wall of Lady Liberty, Shard can hear the sounds of screams of panic outside, the roar of waves crashing up on the island shores, and the constant vibration of an earthquake he is barely keeping in check, like two sibilings fighting over a fragile doll — if one of them pulls too hard, everything breaks apart.

The squeak of a rat running along the old metal railing alongside Shard is proof enough that the whiskered eyes and ears that came out here before Norman have done their job, even if the terrakinetic seems to have had different plans in store for Liberty Island rather than simply sinking it into the sea. Dogging at Shard's heels, a living blanket of shadow follows his thundering footfalls up the metal catwalk, even as Lady Liberty herself lets out another tired groan of protesting metal, as if she were an old woman prepared to lay down for a nap.

The chop of helicopter blades outside soon joins the sound of clanging bootfalls winding up the internal staircase as Shard makes his ascent. Norman has to be at the observation deck in the crown, it's the only place he could have line of sight to Manhattan or anywhere else on this damned island, and now possessing White's ability, he knows that's how it works — line of sight. He's looking for the high ground for something.

"Shard!" The voice screaming out from the inside of the colossus isn't one of Shard's allies, isn't any one of the people trying to get the police outside to safety. Rather it belongs to a familiar young man that appears in a flash of glittering pinkish-red sparkles, landing on the catwalk above him. "I can't let you go on anymore, man… Just stop. Norman's gotta do this, M'sorry dude…" Brown eyes narrow, and Kris swings one leg over the railing, leaning down to look at Shard below him. "Don't make me hurt you… I don't want to."

This is what it comes down to, brothers versus brothers, evolved versus evolved, Shard versus White.

But what of Edward Ray's prophecy? What of the sunken Staten Island?

How does any of this connect?

The power-mimic is given a bit of a head start as the shadow pauses, pushing out of the wall to form one Richard Cardinal, a hand lifting briefly to touch his headset to listen to the chatter on it.
"I don't care," he shouts after a moment into the headset that he's wearing as he reaches over to the rai, peering up the catwalks towards the heights above as if concerned that the metal frame's low groan was a precursor to something falling, "Have Redhouse try and stabilize this fucking shaking any way she can - let the feds fight White's people, though, it'll give us room to maneuver. Just do damage control, leave the sonuvabitch to us."

Flesh to shadow, once more, twisting up the stairs and supporting bars in a wash of darkness towards the observation deck, pausing as the teleporter confronts Shard.

It's like every step is taking him closer to his death. It's probably the most single most important moment of his life. The most dangerous, hazard filled, intense moment. Months of build up leading to this single moment. The climax, the shootout, the boat chasing the car scene, where everything comes down to a gratuitous explosion. Shard has never been in such a dangerous situation.

And he can't stop writing.

It's like years of writers block stripping itself from his mind rapidly. Everything he's ever wanted to articulate, issues he's wanted to call out, things he's wanted to support. A song he has long wanted to write. As soon as this started, Shard's tiny notepad that he keeps at all times flew out of his pocket, his pen accompanying it. Something about having such a strong feeling about a forthcoming death, knowing you're plunging headlong into the abyss. In the most inappropriate times, Shard has paused to scribble rapidly down on his notepad. A hinderance to the mission, obviously.

But in more than one way, Shard is painting his Mona Lisa.

The pen pauses mid-scribble as Shard bounds upwards. Kris is stared at for a long moment, the large black man giving him an odd look before clearing his throat. He looks down, and then looks behind him. "Cardinal." He yells out. "Remind me to tell you something in a minute." His attention is then swinging back to Kris.

"Brother, your boy thought I was dead once already. But I don't have time for this. Leave now, and change your life. You won't ever hear of White again. I promise you, little brother. Just go." He says firmly.

"Dead?" There's a look from Kris, one of confusion, apparently Norman didn't bother to tell him he thought he killed Shard. "You— He never— " Dark eyes dart down to Cardinal, then back up towards Shard. "You don't know what he's trying to do here, he said you wouldn't understand!" The young man swings his other leg over the railing, jumping down but only a few feet before crackle-popping back into reality on the lower landing in front of Shard, effectively having only fallen a couple feet instead of twenty. "I know you saved me, man, back there at Coney Island… but…"

Kris' brows furrow, his lips pursing together into a difficult expression of half-formed words. "But Norman's the one who saved all'a us. He brought us out from that damned prison, he saved all our asses. We've been livin' on borrowed time ever since that place exploded, Shard. Me, you, everyone." One of the rats on the railing turns a beady black stare to Kris.

"He told me to stop anyone from coming up there. He's gonna make a statement to the world, Shard. We gotta do this, or one of these days we're all gonna' wake up and be locked up in little ghettos with badges saying that we're not human. They gotta' fear us, or they'll never respect us." Kris doesn't want to do this, the hesitation in his posture is enough, but the roar of an earthquake that Sparrow is barely able to contain outside does little to stave off the urgency of the situation. "Just turn around… just walk away, bro." There's a pleading edge to Kris' voice. "Just— let him do this."

"Norman lied to you!"

The words are a hollow, echoing hiss from the shadow that spreads across the catwalk, Richard Cardinal's tone twisted viciously with anger, "The man is a paranoid schitzophrenic who spent his life before Moab in a god-damned asylum! He's cut a swathe across the island recruiting people based on lies and manipulating them through the visions his clairvoyant stirred up - Doc told me that himself, god damn it, even he knows deep down how fucked up White is!"

A colder note, "You think this'll make fear? Do you remember nine-eleven, kid? Pearl Harbor? This isn't going to make the humans fear us, it's going to stir them to all out genocide! It's just the excuse that the fascists need to kill all of us - there'll be time for us to rise up, but it's not now."

Pen goes to his notepad rapidly.

As Cardinal and Kris exchange angry words, Shard writes hastily on the tiny notepad. Why couldn't he get these kind of ideas when he was actually working with a record deal, with a label, with his studio. It seems funny, a lifetime writing things, selling lyrics that didn't matter. When true inspiration comes, it no longer matters.

Glancing up to Cardinal, his steely gaze slowly shifts over to Kris as he shoves the notepad into his coat pocket. "It doesn't matter, Kris. Kris. You've still got people you care about out there. Go to them, don't waste your life, Kris. You've got so many years left in you, if you just listen. You've been brainwashed, brother. Just leave. This is the last time we're going to tell you." And with that, Shard is walking forward, whether Kris is in his path or not. He would prefer to just brush by the boy but…

Frozen the whole time Shard and Cardinal speak, Kris stands firm in the middle of the walkway. His dark eyes are transfixed on Shard mostly, unable to really do anything but watch the mystery of the way the man operates, a man who could have done exactly as White has, pull together an army and bring down a pillar of society, but chose a different path for himself. The young man stiffens at Shard's demand, that he won't try reasoning with him anymore. Kris' hands twitch at his side, the way an old-west duelist might before readying to draw his guns.

The entire statue shudders, a low rumble rolling from bottom to top in the structure, sending a bolt of metal bouncing down the stairwell as the catwalk comes loose from the interior in several places. The quake may not be targeting the statue, but it's wracking the structure none the less.

Shard comes up toward Kris, footfalls clunking on the catwalk, and the younger man tenses up and straightens his back. "Shard…" His breath hitches in the back of his throat, and they're eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder, and then back to back. He doesn't even so much as move as Vincent walks past him, towards the stairs. Kris' eyes fall shut, hands clench into fists and his shoulders slack.

"Shard." It's said softer now, not as defiant, not as righteous. "He— " Kris turns, looking over his shoulder at the rapper, "he's up there. Him, Doc and Risa." There's a worried tone in the young man's voice. "I dunno' what he's trying to do, Shard, but he said nobody'd ever be able to forget this…" Jaw clenched tightly, Kris' brows furrow and he looks away. "You… sure about this?"

The statue creaks and groans again. If there ever was a point of no return, standing at the base of the stairs headed for the top of the Statue of Liberty was indeed it.

"I know what he's doing."

It's not spoken very pleasantly at all, and in the wake of it Cardinal sweeps up the catwalks, threads of shadow twisting up bars and cables and walls towards the most direct route towards the observation deck.

Standing at Kris' back, Shard pauses. Pulling out his notepad he makes a final note before half turning.

"Kris. Get out of here brother." The notepad is offered out. "Take this. Sell it. There's also instructions there for my final will and testament. Take some Kris. Start a new life." With that, it's headed off. "Make it worth it, brother." And with that Shard is moving past Kris.

Closing the final distance that lies in between him and Doc and Risa and most importantly, White, Shard smirks lightly. "I'm sure." With that the big man is moving forward, behind the Shadowman.

The notepad feels heavy in Kris' hand, sort've like the way a gun feels heavier when it's pointed at someone. Holding it tightly, he can't quite understand the gravity that pulls on it, or the gravity of the rapper's final words, and his final wishes contained within. No words come, what ones could he even spare to this? Just a look in the direction of Cardinal's haunting affirmation of understanding, then a look back to the notepad in his hands.

The last time either Richard Cardinal or Vincent King see Kris, he's dipping his head into a nod, and disappearing into an eruption of pinkish-red light that flows outwards in a whirling maelstrom of energy, rocketing him to somewhere else. Maybe the weight wasn't so much Shard's last words, maybe the weight was turning his back on Norman, and having to learn to stand on his own.

Leaving rhe glittering wake of Kris' departure behind them, Shard and Cardinal make their way up the last flight of stairs to the observation deck, hearing the sounds of a struggle happening inside of that crown before they even arrive. "Stop!" It's Risa's voice, that sharp edge of a Russian accent clinging to the metal walls before the tell-tale sound of a slap rings out with a whimper. As Shard and Cardinal make their way into the crown deck of the Statue of Liberty, it isn't quite the scenario that either of them expected to see.

No one is inside the observation room, but are on the narrow balcony outside. Visible thorugh the large slat windows, Cardinal and Shard can see Doc holding Norman at gunpoint, and Risa laying just out of sight, holding a red mark on her cheek from where Doc backhanded her. "Shut up Risa, he's lost his mind!" The old man's brows furrow, clicking the hammer back as he aims the gun intently up at Norman. "If he ever had it to begin with…"

Norman's arms are out, that long fur-collared leather jacket caught in the wind, blowing behind him as he spreads his arms and looks to Doc pointedly. "So… you're my Judas?" Norman's brows lower as his expression turns from surprise into a scowl. "A nonbeliever? You know what I'm trying to do here, you know what you lost… what serpent whispered in your— "

There's Shard, through the window.

Norman's breath is stolen by the sight.

As Judas is named, Pontius Pilate arrives to fulfill his betrayal… and the serpent spoken of slithers in dark silence across the observation deck, creeping up on the group in a subtle flow of living shadow.
Just as with all men, there are sides of Richard Cardinal that few know of, and fewer will ever understand; the peace of sowing seeds in soil, the private joy of nurturing them to leaf and blossom. The sky and the green were the two things that he missed most in the cold jails of prison, and in his private moments he embraces them both. A revolutionary, a burglar, a murderer - a gardener.

It's that same private joy, cast darkly, that finds him as he sees the sprouting of seeds long sown. He remains silent, for now, biding his time.

Shard takes a few rapid steps forward, eyes widening slightly. He would probably be pretty mad if he knew White got to be Jesus in this analogy. But there's a whole lot of reasons to be mad right now. The rapper stands there, hands hanging at his sides. He had been envisioning this moment for a long time, except there was no old man and no gun involved. Shard glances to Risa then to Doc and White. His mouth starts to open before stopping. He knows how much good his voice has done with White.

"Richard." He murmurs, slightly quiet. "I'm sorry about what I said." He glances over to where Cardinal could be. "About shooting and you not caring.. That stuff. You're a good man." He pauses, his eyes going to set on Risa. "Would you mind taking the woman out of here?" Shard asks, quietly. Taking a step forward.

Shard gets his wish, soon, there is no old man and no gun involved in this.

The moment Doc turns around to see what caught Norman off-guard, the enormous terrakinetic grabs the old man by the wrist, bending his arm around all the way past snap where a scream erupts from him and the handgun clatters to the catwalk. "After everything I did for you!?" Norman bellows, wrenching Doc's arma round before grabbing him by the collar of his jacket, "You bastard!" Doc struggles against Norman's grip, reaching up to try and paw at his face, push him away, anything.

"Norman stop!" Risa lunges up from the ground when White begins manhandling Doc, throwing herself at the Terrakinetic, only to find a firm backhand to be the thoughtless reward she is given for her troubles. It all happened so fast, neither Doc nor Norman could do anything when they saw Risa topple head over heels over the rain-slicked railing from the force of the blow to her jaw. She disappears out of sight as fast as a penny dropped from a rooftop, little more than the rustle of her tress and the flash of her bare legs to be her parting.

She does not scream on the way down.

Doc and Norman are silent for a heartbeat, before Doc is reaching up, clawing at Norman's face, "You son of a bitch! You son of a bitch!!" His fingers pull and tear at White's long hair, trying to force them both over the edge of the railing. "I'll kill you! I'll kill you!" Norman has little difficulty keeping an old man with a broken arm under control. A firm headbutt does exactly the trick, toppling Dock to his knees and leaving a red mark on Norman's forehead.

As the old man drops down to his knees, stunned, a shadow spills up his back; a quiet voice whispering into his ear, "Stay down, Doc. Let us take care of this. The sonuvabitch isn't getting out of here alive, I promise you that."

As Risa is hit and starts to fall, Shard takes a step forward but pauses. His features deflating as the woman falls, and flies. His throat tightens as he looks after the woman before his eyes raise up to Norman manhandling the older man. "Is this what it comes down to White? You becoming some sort of God entails killing your girlfriend and abusing a senior citizen?"

Shard marches forward, lowering his head slightly. "This is between you and me, White. Let him go. We'll settle this here, and now."

Norman is in shock, eyes blinking rapidly, looking down to Doc and then up to Shard. He can't look over the railing, he can't look to see what happened to Risa. There's a tension running thorugh Norman that exhoes in the ground, in the way the land shudders and throbs with the beat of his pulse. Visible now from their vantage point on the balcony, Shard and Cardinal can see the frothing waters crashing on the shores of Liberty Island, the police trapped below watching in horror as the waves crest higher and higher, and the island shakes violently beneath their feet.

"This is my destiny, Shard." Norman holds out one hand, a tremor in his voice, eyes watering, "What I do here, saves thousands of lives." The Statue of Liberty lets out one more creak, shuddering as another pang from the internal catwalk is heard. "I make a stand here, for the good of the world, for the good of all our kind. I always knew it'd be me an' you, Shard… I always knew I'd have t'be the one t'stop you."

The island lets out a violent rumble, the statue shakes again and helicopters circling the statue from the air watch on helplessly as cracks begin to form in the manicured grounds of the land at the base of the Statue's feet. "They'll take everything away from us, Shard. The world'll never remember us, they'll take away everything and what'll we be left with?" Blue eyes go wide, then narrow, and Norman takes a step over Doc towards Shard. "He told me this is how it had to be." Sparrow and Shard, working together, are barely containing the seismic activity White is causing on the Island, barely keeping this whole place from being swallowed into the sea.

"So, Shard. How's this end?"

Wait… he? The urge to speak, to ask, is strong, but Cardinal resists giving away his presence for the moment, spilling mottled shadow over the wall of the balcony once the insane terrakinetic's stepped up and past him. Dark hands emerge from the shadow, bracing to the wall as he pulls free of it, trusting to the general noise to keep the sound of his feet hitting the deck quiet.

As the villain monologues, he reaches back over his shoulder, taking the M16 into his hands, fingers sliding over the safety to click it off.

"Look around White." Shard starts, splaying out with one arm. "There's no one around. There's no one on your side. Your team is getting beaten. Your most trusted left or betrayed you." He won't mention that he killed one. He does his best not to glance over to Cardinal past White. Keep his eyes on the big guy. He glances up to the man's eyes.

"Stop me?" Shard asks, reaching up to dab away at the sweat on his brow. "You're the one about to kill everyone for no reason, White. What does it matter if they take away everything that makes us human, Norman? When we act like beasts, we deserve to be treated like beasts. And you look like a big ragin' heffer right now, my friend." Shard takes a step forward, flexing his hands.

"How do you want it to end, White?"

Indignation paints itself across Norman's face as he listens to Shard's words. "You're so blind with your own self-righteousness that you didn't stop to think what your fight against me would do, did you?" The taller man takes a slow step forward towards Shard, hands clenched into fists, a vein throbbing on the side of his head as he tries to keep that psychic battle with Sparrow and Shard's abilities in his favor, and the island feels like it might be torn apart because of it. "A man far wiser than me showed me the future, Shard. Showed me thousands of people dyin' when you come to stop me on Staten Island. S'why I tried to make you work for me, 'cause I knew you'd be so jealous of what I'm tryin' to— "

A crack like thunder fills the air, but it comes from below not above as the western portion of Liberty Island gives way in a great landslide, collapsing down into the sea and exposing open tunnels and frothing white waves. The entire statue shakes from the shifting, and some of the bolts on the balcony begin to separate, causing the walkway to skew crooked and send Shard, White and Cardinal off-balance.

As the madman continues to speak, Cardinal's eyes widen behind the everpresent shades, the assault rifle in his arms pausing in its swing towards his back. There's only one person, one man that knew what was going to happen, and could have told him about it. Only one person who would have arranged all this. That simple fact clicks into his head, and suddenly the truth of his mission here is clear.

He's not here to stop Norman White. He's here to stop both of them.

A sudden bark of laughter's lost to the sound of earth and stone sundering beneath them, and the lurch of the statue sends him skidding towards the edge — grabbing hold of the rail at the last moment, bracing himself against it with a solid grunt, "Fuck!"

Shard stares for a long moment, unsure of what to make of White's most recent crazed revelation. His brows lift up for a moment as White makes his statement and then…


His head shakes slowly. "No. I'm not taking it. This guy. This guy that doesn't exist, telling us that everything has to happen. If you weren't so…" The shaking of the statue has Shard falling to his knees quickly, throwing his hands at the surface he jerks himself back up rapidly. "Telling you what to do, telling us all what to do. Fuck you." Says the man who has cussed a total of two times in the last few years. Jerking himself up to his feet in more of sheer willpower than anything else the rapper is stumbling forward, big fist first. Swinging rapidly at Norman's chin he is screaming at the same time.

"This isn't how it goes, you fucking idiot. No one is jealous of you, you bathrobe wearing psychopath. We can stop right now. We can both let go." He pauses, "But you ain't gonna do that, are you Norman?" White will feel Shard's force of the quake starting too lessen slightly.

The blow to the jaw sends White staggering back, and like some conflict between two old Greek gods, the land shudders with the force of Shard's blow. The thunderclap of crunching stone from the punch follows thorugh and builds into a rumbling crescendo as Norman wheels back around and grabs Shard by the scruff of his shirt, pushing him forward towards the green metal wall of Lady Libery's crown. The metal pangs in resounding echo from his collision. "You don't know what it's like!" Norman screams, his voice cracking, "You had something! You were someone! I had nothing! I had nothing!" A knee is delivered to Shard's stomach, sending him doubling over as White winds back and slams a bunch into the rapper's jaw.

"Now all I have is this ability, this power and people want to take it from me, want to lock me up and hide me!" His hand winds back again, ready to deliver another blow to the rapper. "I won't let anyone take what I've earned! I won't let anyone take this gift away from anybody! No one is going to stop me! Not you, not them," he waves his hand out towards the shuddering island, "not God!"

Richard Cardinal's a good Catholic boy. Well, he was raised that way, at least, and some of the things that the nuns battered into his head stayed there. Chief amongst those is that challenging God is never a good idea, and will promptly be followed by a strike from either a ruler or a thunderbolt.
Or, lacking those, a burst of 5.56mm bullets.
As he holds onto the rail with one hand, he brings the rifle up in a sweep towards the two men and - after a private, murmured apology to Shard under his breath - pulls down the trigger, the sharp crack-crack-crack of bullets carrying through the open air above Lady Liberty's crown.

Letting out a pained groan, as the knee drives itself into his gut. Doubling over the knee. Shard is then sent up and over with White's powerful uppercut. Head slamming back into the ground, Shard reels on the ground. Reaching up to his lip to feel for blood. There is a droplet and much more, forming at his lip. Wiping it away he looks up with narrowed eyes at White and his rant.

"Great White. That's really great." The man groans from the ground. "Where did your little cross go?" He starts to sit up, pushing himself to his knees. Then the sound of bullets flinging themselves into the air, Shard freezes.

Blood sprays against the greenish metal of the front of Liberty's crown, running down in thin lines from where they had exploded out of Norman's front. The enormous terrakinetic lurches forward from the shots, and the ground trembles with each gunshot, following another fissure in the earth near the north side of the island causing another portion of land to slide down into the sea. He turns, impossibly able to stay on his feet, even as blood runs from his mouth. Eyes wide, Norman stares at Cardinal, even as one side of his mouth creeps up into a twitching smile.

Liberty Island quakes violently, more so than it has during this whole struggle, and Shard can feel Norman's grip on the island still as firm as it was, and Sparrow's slipping from the chaos below. He's going ot tear the island in half, and it's starting here. The base of the Statue of Liberty cracks, a stress fracture that causes the statue to rumble and shake, vibrating the catwalk entirely off from the face of the crown.

One side of the metal walkway detatches, it was never meant to be permanent, attached for resurfacing and repainting of Libery's facade years ago. As the catwalk breaks and gives way, Cardinal goes tumbling as the world falls out from beneath him, his assault rifle clattering off of a railing and falling the hundreds of feet to concrete below. As he falls, Doc does as well, but the old man is able to wrap himself around one of the railing supports, his free hand grabbing for the sleeve of Richard's jacket, fingers slipping, grip waning, and Richard's sleeve slips out of the old man's fingers, sending Cardinal on a thankfully long fall. Thankful in that it gives him time to react, unlike his gun that finally hits the ground and shatters.

Sliding down the collapsing catwalk, Shard is given ample time to grab a hold of the rail, and when he sees White falling down after him, actually reaches out to grab the psychotoic man by the wrist. Immediately the disparity between Shard's strength and White's weight begins to show in the grip slipping, blood on Norman's hand making the grip slick. Norman stares up, wide-eyed, legs dangling beneath him as the island continues to shudder and rumble below.


The word grimly satisfied as the terrakinetic turns to look back at him… and then the world shakes in a violent upheaval, and Cardinal finds himself tumbling away with the side of the deck that breaks away from the rest. The rifle's released without any attempt to hold onto it, and he lashes out to find something to grab onto - gloved fingers straining up towards Doc's hand for a moment as he swings downwards by the edge of his sleeve, but grasping only air as he's dropped.

As he descends, he fades slowly from view, until there's a dart of shadow plunging towards the earth below.

Holding onto White's wrist tightly, the man glares down at him for a moment. Pulling up slightly, he tilts his head down. "Say…" A breath is taken as Shard struggles to hang onto the railing while keeping the man from falling. "Say you're wrong." Vincent growls quietly, pulling at the man's massive weight slightly. Veins start popping in his arm, as a loud exhalation of sheer effort is let out. "Say it." He hisses.

Blue eyes stare up widely at Shard, and Norman's expression looks haunted in its emptiness. His fingers slack some from the wrapper's wrist, staring up vacantly at him before a breathy exhalation slips from his lips and his fingers slide a little more down, that weight so heavy to hold. This isn't how Shard imagined it ending, not when he took White's power. But sometimes, the world deals you an awful hand, and you're forced to play with it and make the best of it.

He could hold on, he could keep Shard there, until the both of them fall to their deaths. Blearily, Norman focuses on Doc, at the hateful stare the old man is offering him, and then looks back to Shard. His mind wanders to Risa, and his fingers relax.

"You'll see."

Norman White's last words spill forth from his lips with the conviction of a fanatic as he descends rapidly towards the ground. The shaking begins to stop, even before he reaches the ground. Droplets of blood trail after the enormous man, glittering in the dim light of sunset as time seems to slow down, and his fall lasts forever.

Maybe he was dead before he hit the ground, or maybe he had just finally given up, but there is no surviving the fall to concrete that Norman White endures, not from the way he strikes the ground. When the rumbling stops, all that is left is the whirr and chop of helicopter blades, the shriek of sirens, and the terrified police force gathered on the ground below.

Shard dangles there from the railing, and with one, shaky old hand, Doc reaches out for the ability-mimic, weathered fingers stretching to reach. There's little hope in the strength of one battered old man, but the effort is made, reaching out weakly for Shard to give him something else to hold on to.

In the burning glow of sunlight, Shard sees something glinting on the walkway. Norman's cross, dangling from one of the railings where it tore free from him.

Pullin up, Shard is dismayed to find he doesn't have much strength to pull himself up. Glancing over he spots Doc reaching out for him. Stretching out his hand he goes to grab at Doc's wrist, pulling lightly on him, though when he realizes how feeble the strength of the old man is, his attempt relinqishes slightly. "I used to be able to fly, you know." Shard points out quietly, groaning and straining to try and pull himself up on his own strength.

Paushing, the cross catches his eye. Staring at it, he dangles there for a long moment. "He was wrong." He murmurs.

As the sun dips down behind the horizon, helicopters circle Liberty Island, soon joined by several others. Two touch down on the green lawn outside of the Statue of Liberty, another brings ot bear a spotlight on the pair dangling from the catwalk. As the helicopters circle, Cardinal can hear them from the shadows, hear the sound of the rotor blades chopping through the air. Sparrow's safe, somehwere under the Statue, she didn't need to be in the thick of it to handle the quake stability. But Stef, she was down in the tunnels holding off Knox and the others from their approach, the same tunnels that washed out into the ocean during White's cascading descent into dementia during his confrontation with Shard.

Police and SWAT begin to emerge from the helicopters parked on the grounds of the island, as if some sort of fulfillment of what Norman was talking about. The spotlight chopper continues to circle the statue, keeping an eye on Doc and Shard. But something is missing at ground level, something Cardinal notices does not lay near Norman White in death — Risa's body is nowhere to be seen.

A booted foot steps to the edge of a piece of rubble, and Cardinal bends over it slightly to look down at the remnants of Norman White; regarding him for a long moment in his state of death before pushing himself up, his hair stirred by the winds over Liberty Island. Up, and up his gaze goes, to where the helicopter circles the statue. They're out of time.

"Black King is down," he reports quietly into his headset, turning away to stride down from the base of the Statue, "Repeat, Black King is down. Withdraw and regroup; take any of his people that need assistance or are injured so long as it doesn't endanger yourselves." After a moment, he adds more fiercely into the mic as he walks, "And if you're listening, Rebel, I hope you enjoyed the show."

Hanging on tightly, Shard gives one last glance over at Doc. His strength wearing down. Reaching out, his palm goes to set on the bottom of Doc's foot. And with the last bit of energy he has, the man pushes up. With that his arm falls and sags at his arm, hanging by one arm from the catwalk. His head tilts back somewhat, he lets out a long sigh. "The kid called it falling. Falling up." His eyes close for a moment.

Hanging on tightly, Shard gives one last glance over at Doc. His strength wearing down. Reaching out, his palm goes to set on the bottom of Doc's foot. And with the last bit of energy he has, the man pushes up. With that his arm falls and sags at his arm, hanging by one arm from the catwalk. His head tilts back somewhat, he lets out a long sigh. "The kid called it falling. Falling up." His eyes close for a moment.

"Doc!" He calls out, weakly. "I have an ex-wife and kids in southern California." His eyes stray over to the dangling cross. "You take them that cross if you can manage it." One last pull up, before his body sags and hangs. "Tell them I hope I made up for everything." For the people he killed. The four names written in ink on his arm. The last one the most recent addition. Inked the night before.

Norman White

"Seeya, Doc." And with that, he lets go.

When the world loses its mind, we all collectively share that madness, revel in its simplicity.

Doc watches on in horror eyes wide as he hears Shard's final words. "No, no don't— " His words hitch in his throat, and Doc is forced to watch Shard make the same fall, just like Norman, of his own volition. The police and SWAT members on the ground watch Shard's descent with paralyzed horror, realizing that they are watching a man fall to his death with nothing to stop him.

Wars, famine, revolutions and uprisings all begin from the same spark of chaos and insanity that drives a population to revolt.

Cardinal can hear the heavy thump of Shard's body striking the pavement behind him, the gasps from the police officers and the roar of the helicopter blades. A spotlight shines down on Shard and White, their blood intermingling on the concrete, pooling down across the cracked stone where the sound of police radios, sirens and helicopters have replaced the shuddering of earthquakes and groaning steel.

Some times all it takes is a fist raised to the air…

A line of blood runs down along the pavement, trickling in a thin line into one of the cracks in the ground, where an approaching SWAT officer leaves a boot print in the blood.

…other times all it takes, it the spilled blood of a martyr.

The authorities swarm in on Shard and White's bodies, guns raised and chatter over the radios drowning out the sound of the surf still lapping against the shores of Liberty Island. The sun has set, the light has gone, and the city falls into that dark of night. Tucked away against the spires of lady liberty's crown, a dark-haired young man clutching a journal in one hand, holds his free arm around a young woman with long, wind-swept hair. Tears wet her cheeks, dark eyes focused down on the ground.

But in the end, we are all eventually consumed by the feelings of revolution and change, and become like so many others before us…

When the spotlight froma passing helicopter sweeps that place, only a few sparkling motes of pinkish-red light glitter where once people were, dissipating into the wind as quickly as they came.

…all the madmen.


Chingk. Toast pops up from two slots, blackened on both sides. A black wool gloved hand moves to pick up the slices, laying them down on a plate with a tired sigh slipping out. The toast is regarded, carefully, and then discarded down into a waste basket. Turning away from the kitchen, a man in a lab coat begins to walk down the corridor, under the flickering irridescence of fluorescent lights.

Blood sticks tacky to the bottom of his shoes as he walks past another lab technician riddled with bullets and dead on the ground. Two more are slouched up against white walls, blood runnign down from where the slumped to their deaths. He steps over them casually, one footfall in front of another, then pushes open a door quietly.

The sound of heavy equipment, fork lifts and machinery echoes in the loud hangar as he walks, looking down at toast crumbs on the wool of his gloves. Thorugh the busy hangar bay, he passes by a crane carrying something oblong, covered by a tarp. Ducking in to an office, he quietly shuts the door behind himself and moves to a desk, picking up a sharpie marker.

He turns, angling to look over at a calendar on the wall. He lifts the page up, turning from November to December, both months seemingly in 1998. Then moves down to the 12th, circling the day with black, then scribbling at the bottom "Eclipse" in clear handwriting.


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