Make A Splash


ethan_icon.gif jenny_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif wu-long_icon.gif

Scene Title Make a Splash
Synopsis Jennifer Childs, younger sister of Gillian, finally comes to check on her sister, who has been missing from work and her apartment for days, at the request of her sister's landlord. Things do not go well for her.
Date November 5, 2008

Cliffside Apartments

Cliffside Apartments is a bit of a misnomer, as it isn't located anywhere near cliffs at all. The apartment building is a garish beacon of color amidst the otherwise gray and brown hues of the industrial complex that is Long Island City. The entire south face of the apartments have long since been a target for graffiti artists, and finally the longtime owner 'Manny' Chavez simply gave up and let them do as they wished with the building after too many attempts to clean up the work. One side of the building — painted a bright pumpkin orange on the first floor, and more of a peach shade on the second and third, has been tagged and practically covered with a wide manner of graffiti, to the point where it looks markedly intentional. The other three sides of the building look more vandalized, with no finished paint beneath to make the "artwork" stand out.

The interior of Cliffside Apartments makes it clear the building was once part of an industrial park. All of the three floors of the apartment building are loft apartments with concrete-block walls that were long ago soundproofed when the building didn't serve as residences. Given the economic decline of Queens, much of the Cliffside Apartments falls into an affordable range for the region, but is still considered steep outside of the New York area. Despite the relative affordability of the housing, few people have flocked to the area to live due to the exceptionally high crime rate.

A cool and wet night, the rain outside pounds softly against windows. In the hallway of the second floor of Cliffside, a doorknob turns and unlocked, a tall young woman stepping out of a room. Gillian Childs' old room. A scraping sound follows as a large trash bag is dragged into the hallway. This woman, taller than her sister, doesn't look very strong by comparison. She's lighter built, bony and frail. Long hair hangs down her back in curls, lighter than her sister's and a reddish brown color. Whether that's the natural color of their hair might be in question. Using the key borrowed from the landlord, Jenny relocks the door, and begins to move in the direction of the stairwell, dragging the trashbag with her.

Outside of the apartments a black Forerunner pulls up, headlights flicking off as the SUV drives along the sidewalk till finally it is parallel parked. The car's engine shuts off as the man in the driver's seat continues to speak. "Straighten your ties. Look professional." The Brit says as he fixes on a pair of black gloves. Flexing his hands the man looks over his shoulder and leans forward to address the other two men at the same time. "You don't 'ave to be gentle. If she acts up, teach 'er a lesson." At that, though Ethan fixes Sylar with a pointed glance. "But you do not under any circumstance kill 'er. That comes later. Make sure she drops 'er ID." Ethan says to the two.

"Now, you work for the Company. And so, you go by their policies. Sylar, you are the one without abilities in this scenario." Ethan says, perhaps punishment for the man's actions the other night. "So 'ere you are." Reaching over to the glove box he pops it open, three weapons are produced and handed to the serial killer. A collapsible baton, a glock, and a stun gun. Though if Sylar were to try and use the gun, he would find that the weapon is loaded only with blanks. "Make it quick, grab the girl, bring 'er back to the car and one of you drive 'er back to the safe 'ouse. I will get a cab 'ome. And I'll make sure you aren't compromised. So 'ave a good night boys, and remember.." Pausing the man flashes a large smile into the rear view mirror. "Have fun."

Dark eyes flicker past the rearview, narrow with a smile that doesn't reach Wu-Long's mouth. He moves to straighten his tie, but his hands are slow about it, leisurely with the knowledge that he was already perfectly in order, his suit symmetry-perfect but for the overlap of buttoned lapel over the other, his hair combed back with just enough clay to smell like business-level expense and keep it out of his eyes.

"I'll go through the window. From behind," he says simply, glancing up at the building. The panes are slightly ajar. Airing out the deserted living space: the Childs girl was concientious like that. "Can you take point?" His eyes settle on Sylar briefly, making enough eye-contact to meet the civil social quota, before he opens the door with a clunk and pulls himself out. And without ceremony, dissipates into a skein of living shadow, blacker even than the night above.

Sylar certainly looks the part, in a suit that fits him nicely and a straight black tie that he absently smooths down as the car pulls up. He doesn't necessarily feel the part, especially when he's handed those orders. A flicker of irritation crosses his face, even as he reaches his hands out to accept the weapons. There's some hesitation, a glance towards his "partner", before the gun is holstered, the other weapons tucked away as well. There's no real time to protest, as Wu-Long semi-vanishes once out the car, and his gaze lingers over the unnatural darkness the man has turned into. Almost envious. With one last wordless look in Ethan's direction, sort of as if accepting some challenge Ethan may have unintentionally given, the killer gets out of the car, uncaring of rain coming down.

His pace is brisk, entering the apartment, and he takes the stairwell. No powers or not, there are some too subtle, too hard to turn off, for it to matter - his superhuman hearing dances out to locate Jenny's position, stepping out onto the third floor. Which weapon to go for? The glock, stun gun, the baton? Two of them are quick, effective. With a metallic sound, he snaps the baton out instead.

Without the benifit of supernatural hearing, the most that Jenny happens to be aware of outside the scope of normal perception is the moisture in the general area, which hasn't changed much with the menace that approaches from either side. She pulls on the trashbag, trying to get it up off the floor so she no longer has to drag it, before looking toward the stairwell again, in time to see a man taller than her olding a baton. The hallway may be dim, but there's enough light to catch sight of that— and the suit. There's a fluctuation in her heartbeat, a sudden sheen to her skin starts to appear as well. She's obviously startled, but there's also confusion panted on her face.

Sylar's making no real move to be secretive, undisguised as to his intention, baton held firmly in hand and the weapon still pointed casually towards the floor. Perhaps his experience with Company agents has been a little harsher than most. Perhaps he doesn't see the point in playing pretend. He's conned and sweet talked enough in the past month to last him a lifetime, after all.

At the sound of her heart skipping, Sylar smiles, his walk quickening. His hair is slicked back from the rain, his clothing damp now, but he still looks professional, perhaps even more severe than before. "Jennifer Childs?" is all he says, and he doesn't wait for confirmation. It wasn't hard to find a visual of a Registered model. Ethan said there was no need to be gentle. Sylar isn't above taking a mile when given an inch, and as soon as he's in range, whether she starts to back up or not, he brings the baton up to crack it just beneath her shoulder, hands reaching for her as soon as the blow is executed.

The car slams behind him as he steps out into the rain. Ethan was dressed decidedly less professional than the other two he came with. A brown workers coat and a pair of jeans, and a beanie. He is more dressed like someone who lives in this area would be. Though there aren't very much out tonight, the hour and the weather does not permit for a lot of sidewalk traffic. But there are some, who can't afford to be inside. Those are who Ethan intends to talk to. Trudging through the rain, Ethan makes his way to the alleys, to the burning barrels, to whatever little shelter he can find that will hide the homeless. He has business with them.

"What do you…" Jenny starts, voice surprised, backing away a little. The sheen to her skin increases, wetting her scalp and hair with moisture, even starting to rise up on her clothes. Not from the rain, or sweat, but from the stress at the possibility of being attacked. Which becomes a reality instead of a threat fairly fast when she does start to back away. Her voice cut off, she lets out a scream instead, the crack of the baton impacting her just under her shoulder. Falling back, she flails with her hand, and suddenly all the rain water that the man happens to have on his body starts to push against him, sliding along his skin and body. There's not much physical strength to it, but the pressure is there, dragging along the skin like solidifying wet fingers.

A cold vapor blackness walks across the floor without disturbing the course or stasis any matter larger than a mote or three of moving dust, roils into the hallway and hangs on the walls, licking its way soundlessly through the distance that separates itself from the struggle. Sylar sees it, meandering along in tendrils and eddies like the stuff that came before the ancient serpent as well as the primordial soup, silent, gauging, an instant before—

He emancipates himself to physical matter in a sudden arc of movement, materializing so close behind the girl that she feels the curl of another man's breath across the back of her head. The next instant, a heavy-soled shoe comes down on the back of her knee, with enough force to rend ligaments and pop joints. "Sit down," his voice instructs. He means: kneel.

Well that's interesting. Sylar's hand finds purchase, clasping around her flailing arm, even as the water on his body shifts, and presses, giving him hesitation when he brings the baton back up. The neck blow that was intended doesn't come, Sylar shaking his head in an almost dog-like gesture, although the water doesn't come loose from his hair. The baton still remains poised when he sees, out the corner of his eye, those tendrils of shadow, and he smiles, waits that half a second it takes for Wu-Long to introduce himself. As she goes down, he twists the grip on her arm, helping along her collapse before pressing the baton up under her chin, against her throat, keeping her almost pinned with her back against his leg, her arm held in one large hand, and baton forcing her to look up at Wu-Long. "Think we got the right girl?" he asks. A joke, of kinds.

There's a terrified squeak, another one, that's softer than the yell, and as Jenny goes down with the blow to her knee, buckling toward the floor, the water stops sliding along the other man's body. There's actually a splash, as too much was gathered into one place for this purposes, and when it lost cohesion it falls towards the floor of the hallway. A whimpering sound follows, as the baton braces under her chin, pinning her against the leg of the tall man, and she looks wide eyed in the only direction she can. The terrified gaze doesn't have the same fire as her sister, much less fight in her. The only sign of power to fight back comes in the quivering of water pooled on the floor.

Some bills are handed out for promised favors. The man indicates exactly where they will be coming out. The instructions are simple enough. Make sure you see the girl getting kidnapped. And make sure people hear about it. And make sure you never remember who told you this. The homeless people are paid well enough. People are set up to scream 'Oh my God that person is being kidnapped' But none of them will get a license number, and none of them will be able to give a physical description of the kidnappers, or an accurate one, at least. With his part of the job done, Ethan makes his way out of the place, with the rain falling on him, he pulls up his hood and retreats into the darkness. Wu-Long and Sylar can be trusted to do the rest.

The puddle in question, however ignoble, is spared a brief look from the soldier who knows better than to discount any one thing. He'd seen the drops sinking at Sylar's skin, squeezing dimples into the other man's complexion where Sylar, despite being of delightful disposition and a certain physical charm, possessed none.

"We don't want to have to hurt you," he states, "but we'll do what we have to. You're coming with us." Company protocol, like any other paramilitary group that fails to realize that it collectively qualifies as a categorical asshole and should probably not try so hard to pretend otherwise. But pretend they do: cast the illusion of free choice and altruistic interest in minimal collateral.

To be fair, it's not a difficult illusion to cultivate. Lipservice works. His eyes avert to Sylar, thin again with the same mirth he'd shown in the rearview mirror of the car. "She looks like her sister," he remarks. He doesn't have to angle his head toward Jenny for the girl to catch the pointed remark, the delicate word choice: "Blood doesn't lie."

The hard press of the baton is finally moved, and without ceremony, Jenny is hauled to her feet by that one arm. Sylar shoves her against the wall, keeping that grip there as he collapses the baton and pockets it. The stun gun is withdrawn, and Sylar smiles. Okay, so he's not using his powers save for the casual listening of her racing heartbeat, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still has a bag of tricks to play with. He looks the weapon over, then looks back at her. "It's raining outside," he tells her, flatly. As if the pounding of raindrops against the walls and the hallway window isn't of enough indication. "If we have to knock you unconscious to make sure that doesn't count as a strike against us, we will. Your choice, Jenny." Perhaps it's not a good idea to remind the victim of what weapons she has, but a part of him wants to see what she does. And if she doesn't, that's fine too.

Far more terrified in general than even her sister had been, Jenny doesn't try to claw, or kick, or fight back. The racing of her heartbeat carries a lot in common with a terrified deer, whose already been hurt. Closing her eyes, she lets out a terrified sound and nods. "I won't— I don't— please just— what did my sister do? I'm— I haven't done anything, I'm just…" she doesn't even think about the trashbag that she dragged out into the hall, that she'd intended to take to the trashcans outside to clean up the apartment and make things a little easier on the landlord in general. It's raining. "Please don't hurt me." It sounds as if she's too scared to fight, though this could change when she gets more access to her element. Sylar may be in luck… for now she looks and sounds too terrified to even comptemplate fighting back.

Wu-Long twins a deft motion of both wrists and, abruptly, knives pop out of his sleeves, their sheathes strapped to his forearms somewhere in the recesses of crisp cotton and creases so straight you could measure industrial steel off them. Wiery fingers wrap around their hilts, gripping them against the hollows of his hands with experienced ease.

He answers neither Jennifer nor Sylar. Instead, he turns and starts down the hallway, his strides long but unhurried. He'll take the lead, knowing that his partner is better off cattleprodding their hapless victim ahead and between them.

Or there might be the remote titillation of giving his back to an unknown quantity. He and Sylar might have that much in common, though Wu-Long's a little too militarily disciplined to put the taunt into words aloud. His gaze shifts left and right, subtly, catching the occasional movement, distorted convex, through the peepholes on either side. Ethan had ordered a small splash. Hydrokinesis puns aside, this serves well.

Her pleas go mostly ignored, Sylar's grip loosening from her arm, but keeping the stun gun trained on her. Wu-Long is walking away, but Sylar takes his time, a hand moving to check her pockets, invading her personal space to do so but either uncaring or unnoticing of the fact. Her wallet is found, withdrawn, flipped open - the infamous registration card is visible behind clear plastic, and in the dim lights of the hall, he holds this up for her inspection. "You've done plenty," he tells her, voice ice cold, before letting the wallet drop to the hallway ground. He grips her arm again, and pushes her ahead of him. "Just walk," is his instruction, giving her another push to follow Wu-Long. As they go, the stun gun is re-holstered - the Glock is withdrawn. He's not sure what it's loaded with, true bullets or blanks, but this is the weapon he uses to urge her along, the barrel of the gun nudged against her back.

The knives cause her to squeak again, but Jenny doesn't struggle as her wallet is taken, and her card brought out. Of course she'd seen the things about terrorists who target the Evolved, Registered and otherwise. Who wouldn't have? Her eyes widen, but as they lead her down the stairs, with her registration card left on the floor of the hallway. Physically, she still does not struggle. She makes no verbal protests. But the change in her heartbeat might be an indication of something different beginning to rise up. Gun nudging her down the stairs, towards the street outside, she steps out into the rain, a bit behind the man with the knives, and then…

It starts. The sheet of moisture falling from the sky shifts dramatically, the rain drops pushed in one direction, gathering together into a stream of water that blasts behind her, aiming to knock the man off his feet, while a jet of small drops that had been falling from the sky shoot outward at the other man, so much pressure behind it that it may cause for small cuts on the skin, much like those knifes he holds could do. The water on the ground moves away from her, leaving the pavement dry. The rain doesn't land on her. And if all goes as planned, she's going to use this advantage to run for another building. Of course there's a problem. She got kicked in the leg earlier— so the running is more fast limping, even if she makes it more than a foot.

If Wu-Long had known that was even a quandary, he'dve illuminated Sylar. Those would be real bullets. Possibly hollow-points. Instead, he's walking up ahead, listening over his shoulder as casually as Sylar's employing his preternaturally enhanced senses. The rain hits him in a welcoming flush of cold against his skin, needling his scalp through his hair and drubbing his shoulders through the dense cloth of his suit. He started toward the car. Heard it, the swirl breathing through the sky above; half-turned, eyes narrow, lips curving scimitar on his face—

—he hears his skin break before he feels it, recognizing enough force gathered and refined to break epidermis. It could be worse: he's made of rawhide and braced. Yet, his shirt has red and pain whines in his inner-ear, the split second before he segues out of tangibility again.

Masses amorphous, a man-sized cloud washing through the rain, so swift he might be riding on the rain: he isn't. Pursuit is brief. He halts violently before her, materializes in the blink of an eye, hair plastered on his cheeks and face flashing out of the dark in pale relief almost as eye-catching as the glitter of blade-steel, his arm already raised, rigid, to catch her in a clothesline across the windpipe.

Out into the rain, Sylar cants his head to the side as her heart rate quickens. He knows the sound of someone preparing to make a break for it. In the half-light of a New York nighttime, Sylar keeps his eyes trained on her, waiting and curious as they move for the car.

The attack doesn't make a sound apart from the shift of sleek wetness, an alien sort of tone, but it's too late for him to react. The rocket of water catches him square in the chest, Sylar finding himself knocked off his feet, back hitting the sleek pavement. Gasping in a breath and shaking his head when rain patters onto his face, he's slow to rise to his feet, Wu-Long making his move as the girl makes a run for it. The urge to lash out with something more preternatural than a blank bullet is so strong that he has to clench his jaw and indeed, the water underfoot starts to become frosty. He could be so much more useful than this.

But there's a reason they're acting the roles of the Company, and if he starts breaking the rules, they might find themselves minus a hostage. The small patch of ice is already thawing out by the time he moves towards the struggle, pointing his gun in preparation to fire should she again rise to the occasion.

Though there's no chance she'll slip in the water thanks to her ability— Jenny has made sure it doesn't get anywhere near her feet, she doesn't see the man "appear" in front of her until it's too late. The arm outstretched catches her neck and knocks her back onto the pavement. There's a crack as she knocks her head— eyes still open, breath and heart still steady, but she probably got herself a mild concussion there. The rain now pours down on her, the water stops moving away clearing the pavement, and she groans, her hands going to her head and her body twisting as she rolls to her side. She doesn't get back up, heartbeat racing away, but beginning to slow down again. The rain returns to it's normal, non-cutting routines.

That's a little unfortunate, the soldier decides, peering down at her thrashing corpus in the rainwater. Wu-Long had vaguely been hoping she'd force him to hamstring her, just to see if he still had the accuracy and intuition to hit the Achilles tendon without making a mess of the veins, and kill her mobility without finishing the rest of her off. Alas, he's left to study her, prone, gasping, and subject to the considerable threat of the nozzle of a handgun.

"No more theatrics," he orders, harshly. He reaches one hand over to his other arm, hikes up the sleeve to tuck one knife back in. He motions his 'partner' at her with his head, once, sharply. "Care to do the honors?" His tone is clipped. Time pressure: part of creating a splash means dealing with the ripple effect, and the boys in blue are doubtlessly on their way.

Sylar is less rushed than Wu-Long, not particularly a smart reaction but there it is, coming to stand just over the girl as he looks down at her. It'd be so easy, and he can feel it again, that urge to open her skull and look inside, understand what makes her be able to do that…

There's an electrical sound as the stun gun's probes are injected into Jennifer's body, through clothing and into skin, and he watches a little blankly as the woman's body involuntarily reacts the surge of electricity, inevitably going limp. Play the part of the agent and go home and count the days. Like Christmas. He discards the stun gun once it does its job, yanking the wires free of Jennifer's body before he crouching down to collect her off the wet pavement.

Problem with being wet? Electrical things hurt so much more than before. Jenny'd already been down for the count, likely going to need to be carried, but the surge of electrical stunning energy makes her thrash and scream for a few more seconds. The boys in blue are likely on their way, but she's unconscious by the time the stunning surge ends. Very much so.

Not a particularly smart reaction, but there it is. "Hurry," Wu-Long says once, his voice short and tone even. The flare of light and pulse of electricity don't elicit so much as a glance; he turns toward the car and crosses the distance to it in expedient, perfectly human strides, grasps the door handle to wrest it open. Always the gentleman, he holds it open long enough for Sylar to offload her sopping, boneless body across the back seats.

This time as before, he had prepared duct tape, strips waiting latched onto the back of the front seats.

And despite that the poor girl is already three quarters the way into a coma, he takes them down to seal them around her tiny ankles and diminutive wrists. She is, indeed, lighter and frailer than her sister, he notices; even her bones must mass to less. He'd know: he had met Gillian's knuckles at terrific force several times. Stooped across the back, he only makes to secure her limbs and check her breathing with a hand taut around her mouth, before releasing her head with a faint shove.

He slams the door, kindly refraining from crushing any dangling toes in the process. Rounds the nose of the vehicle and gets into the driver's, shaking water out of his long, clay-smoothed hair in a single jerking motion. "Sorry," he calls out to Sylar, suddenly jovial. "I don't normally assume, but." His face is changed. Blink and you'dve missed it: mirthless steel given way to a grin, broad, at odds with his pinkened shirt. "I didn't print out MapQuest directions."

Sylar moves around the car once the girl is loaded into the back, casting Wu-Long a look when the man is quick to slide into the drivers seat. He pauses, as if it isn't pouring down outside, his suit now fairly drenched with water and hair plastered to his forehead, down the back of his neck, but finally, he opens the passenger side and climbs in. "That's fine," he says, now shaking his head again, spraying water within the car interior and bringing a hand up to smooth his hair once more. "I never got around to renewing my license." Funny, that.

Dark eyes now move almost involuntarily to regard the rear view mirror, craning his neck just enough to see at least a slice of the near-comatose girl in the back seat. And he listens. "Her heart rate is slow but she'll live," he reports. he manages not to sound disappointed, and sinks down to slump casually in the seat of the car, hands folding together on his knee as he watches the scenery out the window. Every now again taking in that glance in the mirror.

Wu-Long can't say he'd remembered to renew his own, either, but he decides not to mention having forgotten, lest Sylar get worried that the reason he keeps seeing the Asian riding shotgun is that he's about to wind up crashed in a tree and covered in Jenny's blood. He's considerate like that, and gently aware of the feelings of others. The crows' feet on either sides of his eyes go deep with cheer. "Hao ba," he answers simply.

He fastens his seatbelt — safety first— and gets out of parking. Below, the tires purr gently against rain-layered asphalt. The head lights carve out the way ahead out of darkness: rivulets streaming past, a handful of shadowed pedestrians blundering from underneath the bulky protection of umbrellas tormented by the rising wind. They head West. "Heard about what happened to Eileen. Is she all right?" Not that Ethan wouldn't have done his best to ascertain she was, but with the rift between those two so recently closed, Wu-Long isn't sure they're at full transparency with one another.

After a moment, Sylar takes out the Glock, looking it over. Never used it. He leans forward enough to open the glove box, turn on the safety and slip the weapon inside. The baton goes next, although he'd rather enjoyed using it - it's not his property and he'd probably sooner dispose of the things than have Gillian chance upon them back in Siann Hall. His tie, also, is loosened, once he settles back against the high-backed seat, keeping an ear out and monitoring Jennifer's stability.

He glances towards Wu-Long when that question is asked, before returning his gaze to watch out the window. "I wouldn't know," he says. "But she wasn't hurt, if that's what you mean." A hand raises, and he absently tracks a thicker rivulet of water that courses down the window to the right of him with a fingertip. "She thanked me, too. For saving her." That's definite bemusement in his tone.

Wu-Long can understand that well enough. Bemusement. Gratitude makes sense logically, of course, but it tends to raise his eyebrow when viewed from the other side. "She would," he confirms simply, assembling that image in her head. Leaving Eileen with Sylar is a little like pitting a particularly small lamb-chop against a wolf. Too much bone? Inopportune moment? The lamb chop doesn't think of why the teeth don't come out, only that they don't.

"Feel free to tune the radio." The light turns green above him. He presses his shoe down on the gas and accelerates into the night.

November 5th: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
November 5th: If At First You Don't Succeed
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License