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Scene Title Idolatry
Synopsis i·dol·a·try īˈdälətrē — n. the worship of idols
Date December 26, 2019

Somewhere in Iraq

Flashing blue lights like the plasmic spark of a downed power line illuminates the world-weary and wrinkled face of Claudius Kellar. His wide eyes stare transfixed on the scene before him, of a woman bound to a reclined chair, tubes hooked up to mechanical restrains holding her arms and legs in place. Tubes that pulse with vibrant blue liquid pushed into her body by machines attached to the ceiling. A young man sits restrained in an identical chair facing the opposite direction, the same clear hoses pulsing with blue fluid connected to his body and hoses hang like entrails between the two. Arcs of light snap and spark around them both, brightly lighting up the medical observation room divided by a partition of glass, beyond which Claudius stands. The other lab technicians do not seem as transfixed, watching monitors with vital signs and timers counting down.

The woman bound to the chair screams so loud her voice cracks. Her back arches, fingers curl in agony and her eyes shine with vibrant golden irises. She struggles against her restraints, body flickering and flashing as though she were becoming something less than tangible. The lab technicians look concerned, pointing to numbers on one of the monitors as the lights overhead begin to flicker. Claudius seems both unsurprised and disinterested in their concern, watching with an unblinking stare and a wide, toothy smile as the transformation she is undergoing. "Qad la tunju," one of them says to Kellar, who raises a hand to shush them without so much as looking back. She screams again as the next stage of fluid transfusion begins and the man beside her joins in a hollow and resonant howl of pain and agony.

Kellar slowly lowers his hand. "Do you know what percentage of the Evolved population people with teleportation are?" He asks them, but only one of the four technicians in the room speaks English. He looks to the others, then shakes his head. But Kellar isn't speaking to any of them, he's speaking to hear the sound of his own voice.

"Less than one percent."

One Day Later

Liberty Island Detention Center
Liberty Island, New York
December 26th
4:12 am

A bank of security monitors briefly flicker in time with the fluorescent lights overhead.

"Swear to god that's never not creepy," a uniformed security officer comments, cracking a smile as he leans forward in his chair and picks up a half-finished mug of coffee, watching a loop of footage from a security camera. Another officer beside him, quietly flipping through a pre-war copy of PAUSE Magazine briefly looks up at his shift partner, over to the monitors, then back down to his magazine. "What? You aren't the least bit worried?" He looks up from his magazine again, expression flat.

"Benny," the magazine-reading guard says with a roll of his eyes, "can we pretend it's still Christmas and I don't have to listen t'you?" His brows kick up and Benny, frowning, just turns away and takes a loud slurp of his coffee. "It's nothing," the other guard says, looking back to his magazine, "does that all the goddamn time."

The lights flicker again, this time coming with a low rumble that vibrates Benny's coffee across the small console in front of the monitors. The other security guard drops his magazine and bolts up in his chair. "Holy shit," he breathes, gripping the arms of the chair and looking to Benny, who is wide-eyed and confused.

"Does it do that all the time?" Benny asks with a crack in his voice, but before the other guard can respond, the lights go out with an electric snap, followed by a flicker and a pop as blood-red security lighting comes on followed by a buzzing klaxon and a flashing white light from the fire alarm system. "Fuck, fuck! Fuck— is that a fucking—" he looks to the monitors, all dark. "Fuck, call command, Code 2," Benny quickly says as he bolts upright from his chair, going to the wall to retrieve an assault rifle from a jack and a magazine of ammunition. He quickly locks and loads the weapon and then moves to the door to the security office, looking through a narrow window in the door to the hall beyond.

"Hey, I think I see someone in t— " is the last thing Benny ever says before the door explodes off of its hinges, sending him back against the opposite concrete-block wall. The impact is so powerful that is crushes Benny's chest, breaks his spine, and cracks open his skull like a melon dropped from a truck. He and the door crash to the ground with a loud enough report that the other guard's ears are still ringing by the time he turns to the doorway to see a pair of gold eyes burning in the red light. His scream is a palpable one as the woman in the doorway raises a hand and snaps his neck with a single gesture. As he drops to the ground, dead, Lanhua Chen slowly strides into the room and checks for other security, while shouts of alarm echo down the corridor at her back. Gunfire pops off in the distance, followed by an energetic and electrical crackling snap and a chorus of screams. Lanhua slowly turns toward the door to the security room, pressing a finger to a small device hooked around her right ear.

"Checkpoint clear, going into holding."


Liberty Island shakes a prisoner awake in his cell. Sucking in a sharp and frightened breath, the prisoner sits up and looks around, seeing his cell flooded in deep red light. His breathing hastens hearing the sound of gunfire through his cell door, bolting up to his feet and moving to the door to look out the narrow window into the hall just in time for blood to cover the window. The prisoner jerks back and stares wide eyed at the door in the beat before it buckles out in the middle toward the hall, then tears free of its hinges and flies against the opposite wall with a crash of concrete and steel. "Fuck, fuck— " he hisses as he backs up against his tiny cell's wall, watching a gold-eyed woman with dark hair stride in through the doorway.

"Mister Cardinal," Lanhua says with a blood-covered hand motioned in his direction.


"You'll be coming with us."



The first flicker of light had woken Jason Pierce from sleep. But it's the sound of gunfire that had him slipping back into older mindsets. Dour and drawn with creased lines of worry and age and his brow and the sides of his mouth, Pierce slides fluidly out of his bed and across his small cell, moving to the wall to the side of the door and keeping his silhouette flat. He curls both hands into fists, expression unmoving and placid, waiting for just the right moment to strike. He does not expect rescue to be coming, not after his betrayal of Humanis First, not after what he witnessed at Fort Irwin before its destruction. As the sounds of gunfire and screams draw closer, it is the flood of blue light and an electrical tingle in the air that has his back straightening and his shoulders squaring. He can see a flash of blue, a beam sweep through the hall through the narrow window of his cell, hear the screams of security forces. He recalls the attack on Liberty Island by a Wolfhound member and wonders if history is repeating itself.

It is not.

Jason's world is flooded with blue illumination as a beam of energized plasma slices straight through the door to his cell where the edge of the door meets the frame. Molten metal drips to the floor and the door is slowly pushed into the room. Swallowing down whatever plan he had for escape, Pierce watches as a tall and dark-skinned man with vibrant blue eyes enters the room, clutching a wolf's head cane in one hand. Pierce knows the cane, which jumbles up his understanding of the moment in his head. Worse, he knows the face of the man standing in the doorway from his time at the Department of Homeland Security. Baruti Naudi. He doesn't dare say it aloud.

"Mr. Pierce," Baruti says with a gesture of the wolf's head cane in his direction, "we would have words with you." It's only then that Pierce exhales a shaky breath, swallowing down the fear in his throat as he watches Baruti with an unblinking stare and an emotionless expression. Pierce nods slowly, listening to the sound of distant gunfire popping against the blare of an alarm klaxon. Baruti steps aside, motioning to the hallway beyond with his free hand.

Pierce steels himself, not knowing what is to come next.



The door to Howard Lemay's cell explodes off of its hinges and collides with the opposite wall. He had been hiding under his cell bunk from the moment gunfire first erupted into the prison and now feeling the unseen hand of a telekinetic force around his ankle, he exhales a breathless scream as he's dragged from beneath the bed and spun around in mid-air before being pushed against the wall by that same unseen force. The air is knocked out of Lemay's lungs as he strikes the concrete block wall, watching the gold-eyed silhouette of Lanhua Chen emerge through the doorway. She is a familiar face to him, as are the Gemini-gold eyes staring back at him.

"I didn't tell them everything!" Lemay is quick to bark out as Lanhua closes in , keeping her hand held up at him with fingers splayed. "I didn't! I destroyed the mainframes, G-Gitelman didn't get a fucking thing!" Lanhua narrows her eyes, head tilting to the side as she regards Lemay. "Jesus Christ I'm loyal, I'm loyal! I could've run when they— when they attacked the dam! I could've run! I've only ever been loyal to Mister Monroe, I swear!"

Lanhua's lips downturn to a frown as she locks eyes with the former Institute liaison. "That is the problem," Lanhua says smoothly before crushing Lemay's head like a plastic cup. He drops in a quivering mass to the ground leaving a bloody streak on the wall behind him. Lanhua looks down to Lemay, the architect of so much pain and strife, and turns to the door without so much as another word.



Gunfire, shuddering explosions, and alarm klaxons have not frightened Alphonse Baumann. He has sat quietly on the edge of his cot, hands folded in his lap and shoulders square since the attack started. But now that gunfire has approached his cell, now that screams have grown louder and the electric blue flare of something supernatural approaches, he turns his attention to the door in quiet anticipation. As a beam of superheated plasma cuts the lock off of the door and it is pulled open into the hall, Alphonse slowly rises to his slipper-clad feet with all the presumption and dignity of a man who knows what to expect. Of a man who has been patiently waiting for this moment to come.

As Baruti Naidu slips into the room, accompanied by the click of his metal-tipped cane interspersed between each step, Alphonse dips his head in a deferential nod to the blue-eyed man. "Ama-gi," Baruti says in Sumerian, to which Alphonse nods and briefly glances around his cell. "It is time."

Alphonse clasps his hands behind his back and steps beside Baruti, motioning for him to exit the cell first as though he were a guest in his home. One corner of Baruti's mouth rises in a crooked smile, and he steps back out into the hall to continue the work at hand.

"Ombi-in isaiba amar sutiya," Alphonse says quietly as Baruti steps out of the room.


Leg jittering as he sits on his cot, listening to the sounds of gunfire and screams, one prisoner of the Liberty Island detention center is doing anything other than being passive. As he stands up from his cell, he begins pacing around the small ten-by-ten enclosure. After a few moments he starts bouncing on the balls of his feet, swinging his arms up and out to his side, bobbing his head up and down, then breaks into a stationary jog with high-knees and slapping footfalls on the concrete below. As his heartrate accelerates, the prisoner looks at the small wall-mounted clock above his cell door covered by a steel cage. The clock reads 4:18 and he presumes am given that he was roused from sleep.

"Last pill was at 7:00 pm, nine hours." The prisoner says to himself, continuing to run in place and swing his arms quickly. He tries to shut out the sounds of screams filling the air, the sounds of panic and confusion and death that draws nearer to his position. Another kinetic rumble shakes the facility, and he stops running in place and pinches his right wrist with the forefingers and thumb of his other hand, watching the clock as he counts his pulse. "Come on, come on, come on," he hisses, teeth clenched as he spots a shadow pass by the door. There's a groaning sound of steel bending as his door buckles inward, twists in the frame, and then flies out into the hall and clatters to the floor. The gold-eyed woman on the other side of the doorway isn't familiar to him as she steps in.

"Faruq Mansoor," Lanhua says with a motion of her chin to the prisoner.


"Morning," Faruq says with a rise of his brows, "I ah, imagine this isn't breakfast?" He flashes a nervous smile to her, and Lanhua shakes her head in the negative. "Not to be that guy, but is this a rescue or a punishment? I have a feeling it could easily be both." His pulse isn't fast enough, the drug isn't metabolizing fast enough. Everything is so slow.

"Rescue, Mr. Mansoor," Lanhua says as she motions for him to leave his cell. "Please, come with me."

Faruq grimaces and nods to Lanhua, "I've learned never to argue with a woman who folds steel doors like napkins," he notes glibly, following her cue and stepping out into the smoke-shrouded hall. Faruq can see bodies in the smoke that clings to the ground, sees the reflection of brass shell casings in the red emergency lighting. He turns to look back at Lanhua as she emerges from the cell at his back, something about those gold eyes making his skin crawl. "Not to look a gift horse in the mouth but who do I— " Lanhua cuts him off with a telekinetic shove to his shoulder.





James Woods has had a hell of a decade. The blast of a beam of ionized plasma slicing through his door and the emergence of a tall, dark, laser-eyed man wielding a wolf's head cane into his cell ranks right up near the tippy-top of his worst experiences in the last ten years. As Baruti Naidu steps into the cell, he locks eyes with Woods who stands with his back up against the cell wall. "You ah, you've got quite the aesthetic there, ah, sir?" Smiling awkwardly, Woods looks Baruti up and down. "I don't suppose you're here lookin' for somebody else an' just happened t'let me free, yeah?"

Baruti inclines his head to Woods. "Actually, you're correct."


"Mr. Woods," Baruti says with a rise of his brows, "you are one of us now. I would be remiss to leave you imprisoned here while I was already liberating others. What you do from here is entirely up to you." The way Baruti says that makes Woods' throat tighten some. He swallows awkwardly, slowly easing away from the wall. "But allow me to give you this bit of advice. There is no way off this island, presently, save through me."

"That's not much of a freedom then," Woods can't help but comment, to which Baruti spreads his hands. "Is ah, that an offer t'take your bloody taxi?" He motions out the door with one hand. Baruti smiles demurely and motions out the cell door, to which the corners of Woods' mouth twitch up in response. He looks around the cell, considering his odds if he stayed here, if he waited for SESA to come back and…

…tell them what he saw?

This is a test, Woods suddenly realizes.

"Right, then," Woods is quick to say with a nervous smile, "I suppose we're off on the Yellow Brick Road, then?" Baruti's expression shows subtle approval and the electric-blue glow of his eyes dims subtly.

James Woods lives to see another day.



At the first pop of gunfire, Wenzhou Zhao rose from his bunk with a smug smile. Hands folded behind his back, he stands patiently in his orange prison jumpsuit, watching his cell door with furrowed brows and patient eyes. He knew, when he had been taken, that it would not be long before rescue was sent. He expected Val, but the blunt instrument making her way down the hall is a fitting substitute. He is unsurprised when the security guard on his cell is thrown against the door hard enough to break his spine, further neutral when the door is wrenched out of its frame and thrown aside like a toy, revealing none other than Lanhua Chen, hands dripping with blood and gold eyes burning brightly in the red security light.

"Ms. Chen," Zhao says smoothly as he approaches her, "your arrival is as timely as it is welcomed." Lanhua exhales a soft snort through her nose, looking Zhao up and down. "Unfortunately, I can't liberate us from this space until the drugs they have put in my system run its course. But I imagine there is already a plan for that." Zhao's dark eyes narrow, chin tilted up as he considers Lanhua and the bodies behind her in the corridor. Lanhua is tense, says nothing as she stands there in front of Zhao.

The silence brings Zhao's brows together. "What is the—"

Lanhua snaps his neck with a wave of her hand before he can finish his sentence and Zhao collapses to the ground lifelessly. Klaxons blare noisily in the bleak red lighting, and Lanhua Chen clenches her jaws as she stares down at Zhao's lifeless body. She swallows, audibly, then exhales a deep breath through her nose and flexes her hands open and closed.

She's made her choice, the future is set in stone.

Not Long Later

In the courtyard on the surface of Liberty Island, in the snow-shrouded silhouette of what remains of the eponymous statue a small group gathers. Baruti Naidu stands ahead of them, wolf's head cane held fast in one hand, blue eyes focused on the assembled group of people. "We will be departing," Baruti explains as Lanhua catches up, finally emerging from the underground facility, shaking blood off of her hands and onto the snow. "You will be our guests, but you all owe us a service for this liberation." The way Baruti says that sends a chill down Woods' spine. He glances through the small group, trying to place names and faces. The only person he recognizes is Faruq, but only from photographs. He knows Lemay's name, but had never met him in person. The others are ciphers.

As Lanhua arrives, her hands stained pink with blood, she offers a now brown-eyed stare to the small group. "Which is Baruti's really nice way of saying, you're coming with us and we own you now." Lanhua spreads her hands, fingers splayed, and walks toward the group as her gold eyes begin to glow brightly. Lanhua's brilliant gold eyes surge, her hands raised into the air as the outline of each prisoner begins to become indistinct and blurry, much as her own body does.

And then, just like that, they're all gone.

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