Make Me Believe You


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Scene Title Make Me Believe You
Synopsis A date at a hockey game goes wrong… just as expected.
Date January 7, 1999

Staten Island: Hockey Rink

Every second face of every guy in this sea of stadium patrons kind of resembles the European enemy that had cornered Jaiden only a day or so ago. It's one of the unfortunate things, when you know what to watch for — your eye takes subconscious and desperate measures to find it for you. But so far, there's been nothing, and the crowd is filing back to their seats after halftime, gripping fresh buckets of popcorn, cups of beer. There's a half-time performance going on down on the ice, the air prickly cool as the arena dictates it must be. If it wasn't for knowledge of the future, this date might be kind of nice.

Fun, even.

Elisabeth is honestly having an absolute ball. Though she's not particularly into hockey for its own sake, a sporting event is always a good time. Dressed warmly — it's not as cold inside as it is outside, but it's still an ice rink! — she's keeping her coat on the seat beneath her to warm her butt when she's sitting, but she's jumping up and down and whooping and hollering with the best of them every time the situation calls for it. She gets quite into the spirit of the game. She's not wearing the team colors, but who cares?? A warm hunter-green sweater, a pair of comfy jeans and boots, and several beers? Oh yeah, this is her kind of night.

"AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! Max, did you see that elbow thrown? Blind ref!!" Liz shouts as she waves a disgruntled hand toward the ice and looks at her companion.

The elbow causes Jaiden to rock to the side in response a bit melodramatically, his head flopping playfully as he straightens, laughing. "No, no. He was looking at that sheila on the bottom row of the arena." Pointing with his camera, Jaiden zooms in with his camera to reveal the woman in a miniscule top - who's obviously quite cold being so near the ice - and the Referee's obvious distraction for that woman and her charms.

Jaiden is dressed warmly as well, as the season demands. Heavy leather boots, long pants, and long sleeved shirt made of cotton with an undershirt beneath to help hold in some of the warmth due to having multiple layers. The jacket given to him on arrival is folded neatly on his seat as a makeshift cushion with his wallet and important bits hidden in his camera bag.

Including the handgun. Just in case. He's not planning to use it, but he likes knowing it's there.

Blade-footed warriors propel themselves like fiends across the ice, collisions fast and furious and deep trenches carved into the white, slick field with each pump of muscled leg. Though the game play settles its rules and its order down onto the centre of the crowd's focus, and though there is no hush that settles on the hockey goers— point in case, Elisabeth Harrison— there is a point of focus that turns heads and attention. And so it's really only the ones who aren't interested in being here, really, and those looking for something else to occur, that see the initial beginnings of something going around.

Around the same time sparks are flying down from the complicated rig up of lighting and cooling systems high above heads, the air is beginning to taste a little smokey.

What brings a real groan from the audience, however, is when the ref seems to be stopping the game. A rumble of discontent rolls of the audience, people on their feet to see what's going wrong, because a brawl isn't a reason to stop. But then there's a noise, and it gives plenty of reason: the siren wail of fire alarms managing to slice through the noise of the activity, piercing and incessant. Disappointment is manifest in yet another groan from the audience, do we have to? The voice on the microphones seems to think so.

"Please head for your nearest exit. Do not run. Follow directions from the personnel— "

There's a cry from the crowd when, as heavy as a falling comet, a huge light from the rigging above the rink comes crashing down, barely missing the referee and cracking ice, billowing thick, grey smoke. Elisabeth is promptly jostled as the large patron just next to her elbows his way past the pair, the crowd beginning to filter for the exits, some ignoring instruction, most not.

And there it is. It begins. The file he read on the 'incident' at the arena in his research concluded that the fire started when the lighting rig inexplicably failed and crashed into the ice. Several short circuits in bad wiring spread, sending the whole place up in a blaze. This will be interesting, but most people should survive. Specifically this person next to him.

She hoots and hollers, but the smell of smoke brings bright blue eyes suddenly shifting around to look for a problem. Elisabeth's a rookie, but she's well trained too. And then the announcement's being made and the light is crashing to the floor. The blonde dodges the big man's elbow as he jostles past and says, "Shit. This is gonna be ugly."

"Sister, you ain't kidding." Jaiden stands, buckling his camera bag securely around his waist, scanning the rafters for a moment, staying stock still, just taking in everything that he can. He wished that Elisabeth's power was manifest, because shutting up all of these people would be a godsend right about now. He reaches out to take her hand, holding it tightly.

"Forgive the chivalry, but whatever happens, you stay Right Here next to me."

A hydrokinetic has a good handle on currents and fluid movement, and there is a certain drain and flow to the way people are seeping out of the exits. By now, Jaiden— and Elisabeth, too— would be able to note if someone were moving against it, fighting the tide. It's obvious that the AC cooling systems are shot, with a haze of smoke beginning to form in the upper rafters of the arena, the air becoming warmer and unrefridgerated.

"Please head for your nearest exit. This is not a drill."

Then Jaiden will catch the strange movement, through the crowds that haven't really yet begun to thin. A man climbing over a railing, not even noticed by the distracted security guard, to land his feet in the same section of seating. He cuts through the shifting crowd like a shark working against the current, his face made of familiar lines and configurations that Jaiden had a but a day to keep in his memory bank, and Nicolai doesn't seem to regret this at all when he splits a grin across the space from them.

He's holding a large, round tub of popcorn which turns into so much puffy, butter-flavoured debris when his hand dips inside it and extracts the much more sinister shape of a black semi-automatic pistol.

Elisabeth has hold of his hand, well aware that if they get separated they won't find one another in this crowd. "If we get pulled apart, I'll meet you in the parking lot near the west entrance where we came in," she tells him over the roar of the crowd. She's watching the people ahead of them, more concerned with being able to keep up with the flow of traffic as she grabs her coat with her free hand and tries to move with the seething mass of people.

Jaiden locks eyes with the guy with the gun for just a moment, as if to say 'yes, I see you, you jackass' before moving to block the line of sight of the man with his own body, looking over his shoulder at the other man. "Come on, Lizzie. Bad things are afoot. Just move…please."

He starts to hustle Elisabeth through the seething crowd toward the exit, keeping a watchful glance over his shoulder at the man and his gun. Would he really be so stupid as to fire in a crowded area like this?

Jaiden's power goes into effect, subtle-like, condensation forming on the ground behind him as they move, ready to be tapped…

Bystanders and what they're worth to Nicolai might be a recurring theme, here, as he readily flips aside the rest of the popcorn, container and all, to fall on the grimy floor of the stadium and litter-spill over seats, getting crushed to nothing beneath the stampede of feet that the push and flow of the evacuating crowd happens to make. His peacoat flaps free with the momentum of his own guiding through the crush of people, showing clear white shirt, and beneath that, for those who have eyes trained to pick up such details, a vest meant to catch the firing of bullets.

Because maybe he assumes Jaiden will descend to his level, and when it comes to your enemies, that's not a bad assumption to make. Right now, though, he only pursues, making an effort to step over both people and rows of seating to keep Jaiden and Elisabeth in his line of sight, uncaring about the signal his gun makes in his hand.

She still hasn't caught sight of their pursuer, her own eyes on the ebb and flow of people around them as she and Jaiden move ever forward toward the exits. It's not particularly easy, what with thousands of people crammed into the arena. "Max, if fire breaks out in the concourse around the seating where the concessions are, we're going to have a riot on our hands," she calls to him over the din.

This reminds Jaiden of a movie he saw way back when, on a red-eye in the middle of the ocean, when all you could do was stare out at the darkness or watch a movie if sleep eluded you. Jean Claude Van-Damme in one of his sillier roles, as a firefighter….fighting, basically, terrorists in a hockey arena. The thing Jaiden learned from this, aside from having too much coffee on a trans-oceanic flight being a bad thing, is that when people flee in a panic, they can get out rather quickly when it's a modern sporting arena.

Sadly, this one isn't very modern.

Jaiden nods to Elisabeth's words, holding her hand tight, bringing up the rear, as it were, letting people past, watching their pursuer.

The walkway behind Jaiden, the parts already vacant of people, is slick with condensation….

Nicolai's footfalls land heavily in his lope after them, and there's a graceless squeal of rubber soles skidding on slick pathway. It's a second of a stumble, but instantly, that gathered water is banished, rolling away from Nicolai's path and forming a more tangible rope of water that rivers along the walkway between them. Bruises more of his dignity than the hand that had to reach out a grip a seat, and rather than risk losing them in the crush heading out—

The blam of the handgun gets all sorts of response, piercing through the fabricy edge of Jaiden's shoulder seam, searing cloth and nicking flesh. Those immediately around Nicolai shriek and duck, those further away crane their necks like meerkats to see what just happened, the security guard at their nearest exit has his radio in his hand. In the same instance, that rope of collected water suddenly whips up from the ground and snakes past them, smacking the uniformed man square in the face.

Up above, there's a groan of stressed metal, more showers of sparks spilling onto the ice.

Normally the screaming metal would have Liz's whole attention. Instead it's the gunshot from behind them that sends the blonde reeling. Her instinct is to duck and to try to get a look to see what direction that was coming from, wheeling around to try and see through the mass of people. Yeah… sorta like a meerkat. "Fuck! Someone's shooting!" Seriously??? What the fuck?? In a crowded stadium that's burning???

Well, there goes his record. Never being shot. Shot at, sure, but never shot once. At least this one is a flesh wound and not something serious, like a neck or back wound. The shot causes him to stumble, an invisible, yet very strong fist pushing him off balance, nearly bowling the person in front of him over while the spinning bit of metal merrily exits his jacket and disappears into the rafters above, pinging off some support before embedding itself in a cinderblock wall. "Yep." Jaiden replies through clenched teeth, still holding tightly to Elisabeth's hand, getting to his feet and reaching out toward the shooter with splayed fingers.

Still in between the shooter and Elisabeth.

"He's shooting at you." Jaiden says sharply as he ducks down, his power going to work, the condensation from the air forming into a sheet of water along the steps between them and Nikolai, the surface tension almost as solid as a brick wall - very hard to move and very, very slippery, ready to spring the instant he steps on it. With his uninjured hand, Jaiden rummages in his camera bag for his pistol, offering it butt-first to Elisabeth. "Safety's on. Twelve shots, one in the chamber, and I've got one reload." All business now, Jaiden is. "Make 'em count."

Elisabeth barely has a handful of seconds to comprehend what Jaiden is telling her, before both are forced to duck as two, three, four bullets are sent flying from Nicolai's gun in quick succession, all muzzle flare and echoes and bullets puncturing brickwork and pinging off metal railings. Their immediate area is clear of people as men, women, children all clamber over chairs and railings to get away. It may be a crowded stadium that's burning that Nicolai is shooting in, what it's only a crowded stadium that's burning in 1999.

And therefore doesn't count. Recklessly, Nicolai heads for the stairs, ignoring or not noticing the manipulation of water between them as he keeps his gun leveled forward, his other hand extended to manipulate that prior whip of water he'd sent careening towards the guard. It slashes around again to bruise, coming down like a glittering bullwhip in a trajectory that aims for Jaiden's skull.

Elisabeth's stumble and crouch has her just behind Jaiden's body as she looks around and then suddenly there's a gun in her hand. A loaded gun, and there's more bullets headed their way. And they're meant for her? And what the fuck is that thing??? Elisabeth hands are on auto-pilot as she takes the weapon thrust at her, pops the safety and aims at the man shooting at her and 'Max.' On the up side…. the people aroudn them have all scattered, so the innocents are safe. It's just her and Max up here being targets. She pulls that trigger three times, hoping to even wing him and distract him. Questions will come later.

If he can give her answers, that is. Knowing the world and Hiro, he'll be whisked away before he even has a chance to say goodbye, taken home to heal with a bloody shoulder and without a thanks coming from the woman he saved - at least not until he sees her ten years in the future.

Answers later, for now, defense, then offense. Rolling to the side, and staying low, the whip becomes a part of Jaiden's sheet of water, almost sticking like it were glued as it's absorbed into the whole. Suitably reinforced, Jaiden's sheet of water rises up like a living thing, a four or five columns of water shooting up like pistons toward the shooter's chest and head, one pseudopod of water encircling Nikolai's hand and YANKING hard in an attempt to jerk the gun out of his hand or at least get him concentrating on something else while Elisabeth's gun does the job.

Columns of water glance off Nicolai's head, sending the Russian stumbling, a leg collapsing beneath the blow, and a hand outstretches, two more of those snaking whips of water dissolve into nothing, a fine mist that sparkles in the air and hangs with supernatural intent, but it doesn't stop the determined clasp of water that enwraps his hand. His knuckles go white under strain as he keeps a hold of his weapon, squeezing out a bullet that does little to shatter the pod of water, going arwy from the yank and pull of Jaiden's current.

It gives Elisabeth opportunity. Cops are trained to aim for the torso, and one, two bullets stick into Nicolai's chest, the third catching the flesh of his arm and winging him leftwards. Air expelled from his lungs, the Russian is slammed back under the force of the firing, knocked down to groan, although there's no blood, bullets compacted into mushroom-like, deformed versions of what they were in his kevlar vest.

He rolls onto his stomach, woozily gaining his barings as he grips the leg of seating, pulling himself for cover with his legs scissoring behind him. Fresh blood pools from his arm, trickles down from a laceration at his temple where Jaiden's watery blow had landed. But there is direction and intent in blood, as opposed to simple gravity.

Elisabeth has zero idea what she's seeing. "Dear God," she whispers, stunned. And then she's grabbing Jaiden's hand and hauling him down the aisle again. "Run, Max!" The gun still in her free hand, she's hoping to God she doesn't have to use it again — and in point of fact, she hopes she has time to ditch it. "What the fuck is going on?"

Elisabeth's rounds hit, giving Jaiden ample opportunity to yank the pistol away and fling it into the arena somewhere - specifically away from Nikolai. "Told you I'd see you again real soon, mate!" Jaiden shouts to the man as he's hauled off down the asile toward one of the exits, watching him, watching for any kind of attack or motion that is threatening. He looks to Elisabeth for a moment, his glance snapping from her eyes to the fallen Nikolai. "We get out of here in one piece and I'll tell you everything I can."

Jaiden's watery power tries to encircle Nikolai, tries to hold him down, preventing him from getting up, from moving, while little tendrils seek out lights mounted in the stairs of the stadium. IF all goes well, Nicky-boy'll get zapped into unconciousness.

Or cooked. Definitely acceptable losses.

Most men, when given opportunity to duck behind cover, would be reloading their gun. Nicolai's gun lies on the floor of the stadium instead as he ducks a hand beneath his jacket and takes out a silver flask, something with depth and filled to near leakage, just as that rush of water comes trickling beneath the seats to pool around him, under him, wrap its tendrils around his legs. Blood wells from the wound in his arm, rushes with unnatural earnestness to dilute through the climbing water, making crimson veins of influence as he tries to combat the crushing hold. Fingers of glittering water creep towards his face, dissolve with a shake of his head, teeth baring.

It's a struggle, but his hands push free the clinging water, and he sacrifices keeping his face clear for psychicly repelling that moisture from his hands for a critical second. Even as liquid makes a thin mask over his face, his thumb pushes back the cap of flask, and touches lighter to its silver lip.

Instantly, a whip-fine pillar of fire shoots up from where Jaiden and Elisabeth know Nicolai to be hiding, chemical-stinking and curling flicks of opaquely orange flame. The flaming river of gasoline leaves flask like a snake writhing out from its hiding spot, rocketing after the fleeing couple, snagging flames over seats, making steam hiss in the damp air. It's wild, untamed, as the man who sent it succumbs to thrashing, but determined in its searing heat.

It's then that the lighting rig gives. With a monstrous screech, the entire set up above the ring finally comes down, sparking in waterfalls of heat and light, spotlights coming down like falling, rotton fruit, sparking wires like a nest of snakes. The arena seems to shake with the impact, cracking ice and throwing the setting into dimness as the house illumination is thrown out, reduced to the low lights near the exists, the illumination near the stairs.

Hiro had told Jaiden to keep a low profile. Right now, at least, no one will give two shits about the way water is curiously running up the stairs from where it rivers from the struggling man, snaking its fingers towards the lights that glow round eyes.

Elisabeth screams, unable to contain that reaction to the fact that this man just hurled something clearly flammable in their direction. She hauls on Jaiden's arm, trying to scramble over seats into rows lower down toward the exit. It means that she can't shoot at the assassin, but … she's a little too busy trying not to fry at the moment to worry about that. Besides, he's in cover.

In the future a movie will be released where a man can control air in big gouts, splashes, and torrents. It will be put out by an overrated director and completely will ruin any fan credit that the show originally had. That's kind of what Jaiden can do now. The flammable stuff arching toward them, he tries to put barriers in between them - sweeping barriers of water going up, arcing over them, making the passage without hitting something that will put the flame out rather difficult for the man. Jaiden runs with Elisabeth, heading toward an exit quickly, the water following behind, merrily ignoring any and all laws of physics or gravity that there may be.

When the fire's out? That's when he'll attack.

And Hiro did tell Jaiden to keep a low profile, and he did! All week, even! No purchasing of undervalued stock, speculating on the real estate market, or anything! Only now is he starting to go a little mad.

He hasn't even done the _flashy_ bits yet!

The soaring molotov cocktail, minus the bottle and rag, zigzags through the air like a demon, steam billowing around its heated path when water collides with the flying gasoline. It snags fire on seats in singes that catch flame or remain blackened marks, reeking of gas and smoke both. By the time its reaching Jaiden and Elisabeth, however, it breaks up into a desperate splash of single burning droplets, greasy oil spattering over jackets and dormantly dripping, discarded out of the range of Nicolai's influence.

But the fire is gone, environment too damp to support the ignition of fire on gasoline vapour, smothered out in having travelled too far to reach them.

Which doesn't say much for the smoke thickening the air, the half-emptied arena, the wail of sirens — police and fire both. The lighting rig is a mess of twisted steel and wire on the ice rink, flickering flames and spitting sparks. In similar motions, droplets of water are flung off Nicolai in turn once he's succumb to thrashing, gaining some iota of control back in Jaiden's distraction. They seem him as a silhouette through water vapour and smoke, staggering out into aisle, soaked to the bone.

Looking over her shoulder to see the silhouette up and moving again, Elisabeth stops. Ignoring the spattering of burning whatever the hell that is, she pops two more shots at their pursuer before once more resumring the escape attempt with Jaiden. They're getting closer to the exit, and a large percentage of the crowd is already out of here. The gunshots have definitely been noticed because people are screaming and running about that too. Shit, what a clusterfuck.

Elisabeth's still alive, so all in all, it's been a good adventure so far. Gunfie isn't very nice when it's coming towards you, but when it's going towards the enemy, that's even better.

The slowly and steadily disintegrating hockey stadium is starting to be a concern, with falling bits hitting the ice, sending chunks splintering toward the stands, electricity arcing, steam going everywhere to boot.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's not pleasant in the arena today.

The silhouetted target is too good to pass up. Several pseudopods of water, containing loads of debris, launch at the silhouette, trying to hit it with the force of….well…high speed water with pounds of sharp stuff included inside.

The shadowed, smokey shape of Nicolai Novikov hasn't much in the way of defense as the water comes soaring back within moments of ridding himself of it. Gun scattering out of his already loose grip, the Russian assassin is knocked back for the final time, tumbling down the stairs end over end with the grace of a discarded ragdoll, coming to land with a bone-jarring thud at the bottom of it, unmoving as water roils angrily around him as if alive.

The distant crackle and snap of electricity suddenly occurs much closer, as Nicolai is sent from easy unconsciousness into something more permanent. Lightning sparks leap up from failing staircase lights, dancing in arcs over his prone form and making muscles twitch and jerk. But for only a few seconds.

Inevitably, the crowd will push Elisabeth and Jaiden the rest of the way out, moving like cattle to escape the wrecked inner of the arena. No one chases them. No one follows them.

There will be someone waiting for them, through the shifting crowd. Ahead of them and walking as if he were among the crowd evacuating the rink, Hiro glances over his shoulder towards the Australian, his gaze impassive and expectant. It tics towards Elisabeth, but he isn't approaching, simply moving with the herd out into the parking lot some twenty or so feet ahead and disappearing, for now, into the crowd. Jaiden was wrong about something: he does get to say goodbye.

Elisabeth has the presence of mind to shove the probably illegal weapon into the waistband of her pants so as not to get her own ass arrested as the escape into the open parking lot of the stadium, but she hauls Jaiden — Max — sideways around a corner and demands firmly, "What the fuck are you into? And you have exactly two and a half seconds to make me believe you before I'm cuffing your fucking ass and running you in myself." There's the Liz he knows, all stern blue eyes and absolutely not taking your shit expression.

Well, it's not _technically_ illegal since it hasn't actually been manufactured yet. Any serial number search will find that no gun with that serial number exists. It will…just not when the search is done. The perfect throwaway gun.

"I have not lied to you." Whispers don't really work in the chaos of a crowd, but he leans close, hiding the gun from view, his power of water going away, water flowing properly again. "I've never lied to you at all, Lizzie. Not once, not ever. That man was sent to kill you, and I was sent to keep you safe from him." He looks toward the crowd, toward the center of the ring for a moment or two, making sure he's down.. "I was sent because you needed me."

Elisabeth hisses at him. "What the fuck have I done that some bastard would be gunning for me?" she demands. "And that cryptic bullshit is not going to get you anywhere with me. Sent by whom?" It takes her a moment and she shakes her head. "Where did all the damn water come from??" she asks, sort of on a confused tangent. She knows what she saw, but her brain is not putting pieces together in any way that makes sense.

"Nothing, yet." Jaiden says softly, looking down and away. "But you will, and I'm not exactly sure what. All I know is that I was sent to keep you from getting turned into a not-living Lizzie and I did that…" He looks around the arena. "THis….this destruction? This was him. I didn't know he was going to cause it, but I had a theory that he might." He glances to Hiro and then decides, well….fuck it.

"I haven't lied to you, not once, so you have to believe me when I tell you this." Time to sound insane. "I'm from the future….about ten years ahead of now. Like Kyle Reese in Terminator, basically." Mabye the analogy helps. "I don't know why you were marked, but you were, and I came back to keep you from going anywhere." He gives a small grin. "I like you too much to let you go."

And for fuck's sake, he expects her to believe that shit? Elisbeth whips out a set of handcuffs and tells him, "Turn around, Max. You're under arrest for carrying an unlicensed firearm in a public venue and whatever other things I can think of to charge you with." She's so not buying it.

He figured something like this would happen.

"I didn't think you would believe me, so I thought I'd bring something that might get you to remember." Jaiden's hand goes into his pocket and out comes a small polaroid which is offered to the girl before he offers his hands to be cuffed.

The picture is of Jaiden and Elisabeth….but can that be Elisabeth? The hair color's the same, the eyes are the same…a little more tired, but the same. Taken in what seems to be a basic office building that's just being painted after renovation, it shows both with easy smiles, each with the arm around the other. "Here….it's a bit of a memory. A glimpse of things to come."

When he puts his hand in his pocket, Elisabeth's reaction is to back up and pull that pistol out of her waistband — his pistol. It's leveled at him in a heartbeat. But when he slows his movements and pulls out the picture and shows it to her, her brows pull together. The gun hesitantly lowers and she reaches out to take the picture. What the hell?

"I don't wear my hair like that. Who is this?" Elisabeth looks up at him and asks, "This is not even possible. What're you trying to pull?" Because he did just save her life. And he had a gun all along, so if he wanted to kill her, he could have. The gun… oh yeah. She glances around and lowers the weapon, tucking it back under her jacket.

Being a hero is a thankless job. But at the very least, Jaiden can trust that he won't be left arrested in 1999. And maybe have some optimism that she's carrying around handcuffs on the second date, cop or no cop.

It's when those shards of credulity finally cut through the stormy disbelief that Hiro appears, timely as ever in his bad edit kind of way, standing within conversational distance and appearing as casually as teleportion being a normal thing. There is a quick study of Elisabeth, looking for scars that shouldn't be there, before, finding her condition to be satisfactory, he looks towards Jaiden and puts out a hand on his elbow. "Your friend will thank you when she knows enough to do so," he says. "It's time to go. I have work still to do here."

And with that, they snip themselves out of time, leaving Elisabeth alone to wonder exactly how much truth she just got confronted with.

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