Messiah Complex


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Messiah Complex
Synopsis Messiah comes together in mourning the deaths of their own one day after a mission goes decidedly wrong.
Date August 27, 2010

Staten Island

No one here is the type to say a prayer, that much is the only certainty.

Dark water rolls in on a rough, sandy beach littered with saltgrass and rocks. Set out here facing the Atlantic ocean with the Rookery at their backs glowing yellow and neon in the dark, red scarves adorn every single body gathered out here on the shore. Frothing surf washes up on the sand, and Messiah has come here tonight not for fighting, but for the prospect of mourning the dead.

Set out on the beach sand, there are seven patio torches lit with crackling orange flame rising from smoking tops. Each one driven down into the sand at the water line where the receding surf is drawing back into the ocean and a seemingly full moon rests gibbous on the horizon, bright and pale.

Seated on one of the wet, barnacle encrusted rocks, Peter Petrelli stares out at the crashing surf. His black wool jacket staves off the chill of night and the sea breeze, red scarf worn loose around his throat, matching the reddened qualities of his eyes, showing considerable emotion in light of the tragedy that passed.

Out on the sand, standing amidst the torches, Rupert Carmichael looks solemn in a black suit fit for a funeral, shoulders hunched forward and head bowed, black hair swept to one side of his face, red scarf draped over the back of his neck and down either side of his chest. "It's not easily that we're here to honor those of us who'd fallen in battle…" Rupert offers in a voice meant for more than just himself, his hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks. "Seven, now, as of last night have fallen in service to the revolution from among our ranks." Even if honorary, given the sacrifice.

"To the young men and women who gave their lives fighting the Institute here on Staten Island and the brave soul who… who lost his life last night at Biodynamics, we remember you and your sacrifices." Breathing in deeply, Rupert turns his back to the torches, looking out at a sea of people gathered amongst the firelight.

Most everyone has brought alcohol of some kind. Jesse Murphy and Knox stand together with a 30-rack of Coors Light stuck in the sand at their feet, cans tipped up in a motion of cheers before they drink. Kristian Bender and West Rosen are sitting on the sand near the torches, a six pack of Guinness sitting next to them, down to just two bottles in the pack and one in each of their hands.

Larson Riggs sits beside Claire Bennet, a bottle of tequila between them and plastic cups to drink it out of. Riggs, while drunk, is bereft of his insect companions, merely listening to Rupert's voice as he takes in the cool breeze through the thin fabric of his white linen shirt.

Risa Lynette has made herself comfortable, sitting on the scrub grass beyond the sand with Melissa Pierce, and while there's a bottle of Jack Daniels empty between Melissa's legs, it doesn't look like Risa has touched it at all. She is, however, carrying a plastic package of tissues in one hand, her dark hair hiding her eyes.

Allen Rickham is down the beach, by himself, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks and the wind blowing at the trail of his long, brown jacket, scarf hiding the disfigurement that lasers had cut into his metal face, listening to Rupert's voice carry on over the surf. "Tonight is… about remembering the sacrifices they made, and remembering what they died for, it's not a night for sorrow." Rupert's eyes sweep across the beach, "It's a night for remembering what we are, and why we fight. It's a night of remembering our own personal motivations, and of remembering the dead as they would want to be."

It's a hard night to Messiah.

Peter isn't the only one with red eyes. Melissa's are red as well, puffy, though right now they're dry. For how long isn't certain, though. She's in black, but then, she always is. However, her hair isn't perfect as normal, nor has she bothered with the pesky task of putting on makeup, which just serves to emphasize her paleness.

The mention fo the death of the previous evening has her pushing abruptly to her feet, bringing the bottle of alcohol with her. She doesn't do anything immediately upon standing, but instead looks a little lost. Then she slowly lifts the bottle in her hand upward, as though preparing to make a toast. "Not just to remember," she murmurs, so softly that perhaps only Risa can hear her. "but to avenge," she finishes before the bottle is brought to her lips and she looks away from the others, to stare out over the water.

Yet even with a goal supposedly in her mind, she still looks lost.

Standing not to far from Claire is Thalia Ashford. Dressed in a pair of dark jeans and combat boots along with a dark blue tank top. She wears no jacket, one hand tucked into her back pocket. Eyes focused ahead as Rupert speaks, she briefly looks over at Peter and then let's the wind play with her hair briefly. As the brief breeze dies down around her she looks up towards the sky. Stilling the air so that it doesn't get to cold for everyone gathered.

The aerokinetic doesn't deal with death. It doesn't fit in her reality. Not at all. She still hasn't dealt with Isabelle's. So there aren't any tears, but a light glare. People die, it happens. And it's more likely to happen to people that are in Messiah. Sucks, but a reality that they all chose.

The mechanic sighs softly and looks towards the torches. Thoughts on what could have been.. what if death just didn't exist? Everything would be so much better.

Sitting there, a hand pressed the the sand propping her up as she leans on it, a knee raised so her other arm can rest on it. The cup held loosely in her fingers. Claire doesn't look at Rupert, only listens… and only half listens at that. Her eyes on the cup in her hands. Why was she here?

She doesn't want to be here.

Claire sits up straighter, brushing the sand off her hands, so that she can dip fingers beneath her red scarf and black clothing, to hook a chain with her fingers and pull a pair of dog tags out. They clink softly, warped as they are, the sound of the metal clinks oddly.

The regenerator stays silent, nothing for her to say. She's numb… numb to to it all.

Huruma has seen what death does many a time- and what non-death does, many another time. It would not be better, quite; it would actually be very melancholy. It is often best to die in fervor than to never die in suffering. Though she was not close to any of those that died, for the sake of camaraderie- she is present, silent, both ominous and constant. She stands, like a tower, amidst the rocks on the beach, of which some have long been taken up as perches by the rest.

Huruma happens to be standing closest to Peter, as a point of note. She can be distrustful of him as a leader all that she so pleases, but in the end she can keenly feel his own variety of empathy; nothing like hers, but he draws in the same way. Emotions are emotions are emotions, even when so raw, and even if she does not actually feed upon them.

Ash sits alone a short distance from the rest of the group, honoring the dead in his own fashion so to speak. He's not drinking, instead the man is staring out over the water, his eyes clouded, his shoulders hunched and his body fairly boneless. He's got his feet drawn up, his thighs against his stomach and his chin resting on his knees. His arms wrapped lightly around his legs, a bottle of water dangling from his left hand, his right hand holding a small piece of scorched stone, turning it slowly between his fingers.

Ling is dressed for a funeral, but not for a beach, wearing a long, black dress fitting of the occasion - one fitting of someone like Morticia Addams, not that Ling would know this herself. Despite this, she's seated on the sandy beach beside Melissa, a frown on her face and her head lowered in an uncharacteristically reverent manner. She's silent, a hand patting on Melissa's shoulder up until the very moment she springs up to make her proclamation. Quiet still Ling remains, watching and listening.

Slouching his head forward, Peter rests his brow against his forearms, knees drawn up where he sits, listening to the sound of the surf and Rupert's voice. "Our war is one of many casualties, each one a tragedy. Moving on from that will be our greatest challenge as a group, as a rebellion…"

As Rupert is speaking, there's a stranger working his way up the saltgrass and towards the shore from inland. A pinstriped black suit looks sharp on his skinny frame, tanned skin and an angular face distinctly Chinese in appearance, though the black pinstriped fedora perched atop his head hides his features some. Unlike the other members of Messiah, he doesn't wear a scarf, though there is a strip of tattered red cloth tied like a handkerchief around one wrist, much like Ash's armband.

Thick-framed glasses are perched on the Asian man's nose, visible as he draws closer. Even Rupert doesn't recognize him, from the startled look he gives when the Chinese man approaches from the shore, carrying five unlit incense in one hand and a lighter in the other. The wristband, however, and the presence of one of Rebel's phones clipped to his belt seems to indicate some familiarity with the group though. An accusing look is immediately offered to Peter, though he does not see it.

Without so much as a greeting, the Asian man strides over to the torches, standing beside Rupert, then kneels down in the sand, planting each incense one by one down into the ground close to each other, then opens his lighter and flicks the flame on, igniting the incense and then blowing them out, letting the smell of sandalwood fill the air when the smoke is caught on the wind.

Kneeling on the sand, the stranger lays down his lighter, then cups his hands together in front of himself and… prays.

Like some others, Melissa watches the stranger, frowning, then looks to the incense. "There's two missing," she murmurs softly, shaking her head. "There should be seven, not five." Her eyes close and she shakes her head again, before she draws in a slow breath and moves away from her little spot on the beach. There's a step towards the praying stranger. Stop. A few steps towards Peter. Stop. Then she simply looks out at the water with a kind of longing.

When the stranger arrives, Thalia stiffens and then she's starting to move forward, though he seems of no threat. The young woman's scarf which is tied around at wrist and dangles near the sandy floor.

She looks to Peter and then Rupert, do they want the stranger taken care of? Her control over her ability stays though and she just tilts her head at the man. Not really listening to everyone else, all her attention on that man.

Something has Claire glancing up from the heat warped tags and that allows her to look up in time to see the stranger show up and make his own offering. Dye darkened brows furrow, with curiosity as she watches him. Something about what he does, makes the young woman have to look away, swallowing hard against a lump in her throat. Her eyes drift back down to the dog tags in an attempt to temper what she's suddenly feeling.

There is someone she doesn't know- neither does most everyone else. Huruma's eyes wander after the shape of the man in his suit while he moves from point A to point B. Even after he lights the sticks and kneels, she watches him, intent. So intent, that she does not seem to register- or makes no herald of- drifting, wraith-like and barefooted, across the rocks and down onto the sand to observe him.

A critical eye is cast on the Chinese man when he appears - Ling hasn't fooled herself into thinking she knows ever member of Messiah in New York City, but this new face is unknown, and for some reason, slightly unsettling to the Chinese woman. With Melissa gone, Ling's hands move to her knees, legs stretched out in the sand. A hand reaches back and runs through her hair, sighing. This was not a comfortable situation, not feelsing she was comfortable feeling, her anxiety reflected into the smoke that wafts up in her form. But she sits, still, eyes moving between others on the beach - a particular eye cast to Peter, and then over to Risa, simply because she's the next closest person.

There's something specific about the stranger's omission, five incense instead of seven. There are only five bodies accounted for, and in that perhaps his sentiment is one of hope, more so than mourning. Five to put in the ground, two whose fates cannot be decided so clearly. While the stranger may be making a personal statement towards the events, he does so subtly. When his hands inclasp, he rises up to stand straight and looks at Rupert thoughtfully, quietly, then finally over towards the lapping surf…

Two bodies unaccounted for, but only Lacombe could have any hope of survival.

Biodynamics Incorporated


Dim light from streetlamps spread in a widening column from a side-entrance door slowly pushed open. In the dark of a concrete-block hallway, the girthy shadow of Oleander Thespuda cast against the opposite wall ambles in through the opening, flashlight in hand cutting a swath in the darkness.

Two hours before midnight and Biodynamics may as well be abandoned. The other night security guard, Mark Lopez has been successfully diverted from the grounds by a liberal application of a stool softener to his coffee and an apologetic Thespuda sending him home for the night, covering for him. More importantly, however, "The coast is clear."

The words are offered over Oleander's shoulder, pushing the door open with his back and looking up to the disabled security cameras. "You got fifteen minutes before the security system reboots fully. All'a this is handled off-site, so short'a cutting the power? There ain't much we can do about this. Best work quick. I'll keep an eye on the door."

Slapping a hand on Thespuda's shoulder, Peter Petrelli is the first inside the building, black clothing contrasting against the red scarf worn around his neck as he strides in to the facility, a handgun holstered at his side and a headset tucked into one ear connected to his phone. "Alright, we're clear. Come on in. Riggs keep an eye on the outside with your dragonflies, everyone else let's move in and get these explosives planted."

It was supposed to be so simple.

Shortly after Peter comes Melissa, participating as promised, with her own pistol secured at her back, and her hair tied at the nape of her neck so it doesn't get in the way. Though there shouldn't be anything for it to be a problem with. Shouldn't be is the important part there, though. "Those dragonflies are so creepy," she mutters, but despite that, she moves to do her part in this little mission. If she's lucky, she'll be able to be home in time for a wind-down movie before bed.

What everyone doesn't know is that there's someone following all of them. That person is hidden from sight, using some sort of Evolved powers of invisibility. Of course, Kendall's powers aren't invisibility, it's an illusion of him not being here. The trick is, if people don't expect him to be there, they won't see him. His talisman for being invisible is the store-bought One Ring on his finger, and he follows some distance behind Melissa. He's worried about her, after all. She said it'd be safe tonight, but she also said she left sealed envelopes in her nightstand in case she didn't come back…

Ash slips in behind Peter and Melissa, and others, his own scarf is tied around his wrist and up his forearm as usual. He's not all dressed up this time in his combat suit, then again, that thing is shredded still and in need of fixing. He's in simple loose black clothing, though his belt and netting is still in evidence with weapons, though not as many, throwing knives, two pistols, combat knife, and more important, explosives. He slips along, silent as a whisper, in behind the rest of Messiah.

For a moment, it seems like Ash is the last member of Messiah to make their move - until a black cloud of smoke, thin and wispy, begins to slither in across the floor and around the legs of the other members of Messiah. Ling has come simply to support the others, to place some more sensitive explosives if needed. Smoke silently moves along, filtering up into a vent so that she can keep an eye on the others, and out of sight from any prying eyes.

Unaware of the illusionist amidst their ranks, Peter leads the team through the side entrance and into the lobby of the Biodynamics building, looking up at the high ceiling, one hand resting on his holstered pistol, the other holding his headset against his ear with two fingers. "Alright, according to Perry's specifications, we need to play four of the packages of C4 down on the basement level supports in the parking garage and four on the sixteenth floor."

Swinging a backpack off of one shoulder, Peter lobs it under-handed to Ash, "I'll go up with Melissa, Ash you go down with Ling. We'll meet back here in the lobby and make our way out." Nodding to Melissa, Peter breaks away from the team, jogging towards the stairwell access through alternating columns of dim moonlight spilling through the glass facade of the building, broken up by the shadows of the wall cast across the floor like reaching fingers.

They are all unaware of the additional member on their team…

Staten Island Coast

Present Day**

Exhaling a sigh, Peter slowly slouches forward from his perch on the rocks, coming to stand up straight, looking over at the unfamiliar man kneeling in the sand by the incense, then over to where Melissa sits beside Risa. The postcognitive brunette offers a hand to Melissa's shoulder with a squeeze, then slowly extricates herself from the blonde's eyes, her eyes settled square on Peter, then down to her feet as she turns away from Melissa and starts to head over to where Claire sits.

Peter, reluctantly, starts to make his way over to Melissa across the sand with the rolling sound of the surf at his back. Watching Peter move, Rupert offers up to the group, "Would anyone like to say something?"

Ash rises to his feet at the sight of the unknown man. Ash doesn't move aggressively. If anything he looks even more sad. His steps carry him easily across the sand to stand near him, eyes watching as the man moves about. Ash doesn't ask who he is, he has no idea the man's identity, but he's here to mourn, and he has intimate knowledge of what is going on, so he goes uninterrupted and unmolested, at least from Ash. Ash moves, and slides down to sit nearby, once again staring out over the ocean, this time his legs are stretched out before him instead of pulled in against him.

The squeeze to her shoulder seems to go unnoticed, Melissa's thoughts miles away, her expression one of sadness. When Rupert speaks though, she looks up, staring at him for a moment. "I would." But not before she lifts that bottle again and gulps down another fiery mouthful of alcohol.

She slowly looks around, gaze landing on almost everyone for at least a moment. Peter and Ling are the only two she doesn't look at, maybe can't look at. But it's not until she looks back out over the water that she speaks again. "We've lost people, yes. They knew the risks, yes. And yes…it hurts," she says quietly. "But I, for one, will not forget them. Everything I do from here on out for Messiah, is just as much for them as it is for the cause. They may be…gone…" Dead is too hard a word to say, "but they're far from forgotten."

Those words said, her head lowers, eyes close, and she remains like that, eyes filling with tears that she refuses to let fall.

Catching approaching feet out of the corner of her eye, Claire tucks the dog tags back where they were, hiding them from the world. A hand presses the cool metal against her skin, a gesture to say, I'll never forget. Blinking a few time and getting back what composure she can, the ex-cheerleader looks up at Risa's approach, arching a questionable brow.

She then picks up the bottle between her and Riggs and offers it to the woman, as she softly says, so not to interrupt any of the talk, "It's kinda cruel in a way." Claire's eyes drop to the bottle in her hand. "I can't drink away the pain. You can have my share of this. I've — lost my desire to drink tonight." The words tinged with the emotions she's trying to push away and stuff deep within, like she has been.

Risa offers a weak smile as she takes the bottle, then just folds down to sit beside Claire. "It's probably for the best," the young Russian offers with a touch to the bottle, fingers winding around the neck and instead of drinking from it, takes it away and sets it down on the sand away from herself. "Sometimes… talking helps, that's what Norman always used to say. That, uh, you could tell the Lord any of your problems… because He's always listening." There's a somewhat awkward quality to Risa's smile. "I— don't really believe what Norman believed, but maybe just talking, even if it's to yourself?" One of Risa's hands comes out to lay on Claire's shoulder. "Maybe that's what you need."

Looking up to Ash, the stranger offers a solemn nod to the soldier's approach, then closes his eyes and rests his head against his flattened hands again. "They will find peace…" he says in a crisp and fluent American accent, "if not in this life than the next. Their Nirvana will come, this much is true for all of us."

Not far away, Kristian lifts up one hand to look down at the sand pressed against his palm, rolling the grit around between his fingers. Wincing, the young man reaches down to his side where bandages are wound around his midsection, a dark stain still showing at his abdomen, a war-wound from the other night. Hissing sharply, Kris looks over to the sound of crunching rocks and sand, spotting Peter's approach.

Passing by Ash and the philosophical stranger, Peter makes his way over to Melissa, swallowing awkwardly as he exhales a sigh and comes to sit down beside her, hesitantly lifting one hand, as though he were going to put an arm around her, but then just lowers his hand down into his lap and sits beside her, silently.

There's a lot of things he could say right now. None of them would really make a difference.

Biodynamics Incorporated


"Alright, upstairs charges are set," Peter offers into his headset, "we're going to get outside and get back into the van, we'll blow the building when we're a good distance away." Striding between the cubicles from the concrete support column he'd rigged, Peter tosses his empty pack to Melissa, then offers her an affirmative nod. Everything is going like clockwork.

«Peter,» Riggs' voice crackles over the headsets, «Peter we've got trouble. there's a fucking SWAT team headed this way and a sea of goddamned cops!» Eyes snapping wide open, Peter looks to Melissa and rushes towards the windows, looking down towards the street, spotting the flashing blue lights approaching. «Oh shit— Peter— shit that's FRONTLINE. Peter you gotta get everyone out of there!»

Staring down in shock at the sight of the flashing lights, Peter whips around and creases his brows, shouting across both the distance of the cubicles to Melissa and over his headset to the team down in the basement. "You heard Riggs! FRONTLINE is en-route! Backup plan! Kris, get into the building, rendezvous in the lobby and get us the fuck out of here!"

«On it, sir!» Kris' voice affirms over the radio.

"C'mon," Peter urges to Melissa, unholstering his pistol and clicking off the safety, "let's hurry."

Kendall is carefully watching everyone in case they should accidentally bump into him. He can illusion all he likes, but the fact would be that they would still run into something that's not there. So when people start moving faster, he hurries to the exit to get out first. Yipes. Seems like it's dangerous after all…

That wide-eyed look has Melissa automatically reaching back towards her pistol with her freehand, then she mirrors it with one of her own. "Shit," she mutters, pulling the gun out. "Don't gotta tell me twice!" she calls back to him as she starts running, in no way eager to be caught by any authorities.

Ling has no headset of her own - there are still things she can't take with her in her smoke form, and many pieces of electronics are among them. She is, however, able to hear Ash's radio, just well enough to know to curse, rather loudly, in Mandarin. She's solid, working her best to get the last explosive set. She had been rush trained for the job, and now it seemed they couldn't afford that extra moment of let's be sure this shit is going to work. Rising to her feet, she leans over to Ash and takes his, a grimace across her face. "We are almost finished. If you wish, I can send Ash back, and handle the rest of this myself."

"Christ," Peter breathes into his headset and looks back to Melissa, "Do it, Ling. We need Ash up here in case this turns ugly. Thespuda, you still with us?" There's a noise crackling over Peter's headset, heavy, labored breathing.

«Son I am so //not with you I am down the fuckin' block!»

Despite the situation, Peter cracks a smile at that. "Good, alright. Get outta' here," he agrees, turning towards the stairwell door, Peter breaks into a sprint, gun pointed down to the floor and gripped in both hands as he runs. Outside, the sound of sirens grows as flashing police lights glitter down in the brightly lit streets of Battery Park City below.

Not only was FRONTLINE mobilized, they did so on radio silence without Rebel catching on to it soon enough. They were prepared for this.

Someone had to have tipped them off.

Staten Island Coast

Present Day

"You alright?" West asks, noticing that Kris is holding his bandaged side. The spiky-haired teleporter just waves West off with a flippant motion of his hand, then groans as he pushes himself up to his feet, boots scuffing in the damp sand. Looking around at everyone gathered on the shore, Kris furrows his brows and walks down towards the lapping surf crashing over rocks and the beach sand, his boots leaving tracks that slowly fill with water behind him.

The shoulder under Risa's hand stiffens and the muscles of Claire's jaws tighten. For Huruma, the tiny terrorist is a buffet of roiling emotions. "Talking to myself? That doesn't help." There is a bitterness to her tone. "And talking to others… that just gets you those looks of pity." Looks that make her want to becoming a blubbering mess of tears. In her mind, it isn't time for that yet.

It's why she hasn't gone to see her dad, staying away from him. Something she feels exceedingly guilty about. She's strong. Claire can't be strong around her parents.

The thought itself is enough for Claire Bennet to push to her feet, letting Risa's hand slide off her shoulder. "I should have been there." She murmurs softly, before turning her back to the torches and the group. The young woman starts to wander away, intent on being alone.

The sound of someone sitting next to her has Melissa glancing over, but not really looking up, keeping her face largely shielded by her hair. When she realizes who it is, her gaze lifts to his face for a moment, while she blinks rapidly, still fighting those tears. Then, slowly, as though unsure how welcome her bit of comfort seeking will be accepted, she leans slightly towards Peter, until she can rest her head lightly on his shoulder.

Kris's groan, a sound Melissa is all too well acquainted with, has her glancing in his direction without lifting her head, assuming it's allowed to remain there. She gives a halfhearted attempt to help him from where she's at, but with her emotions all out of whack, it's not a full suppression of pain. But it's something.

Peter's presence has Ling looking up and over, the Chinese woman eyeing him for a moment. When Melissa leans over, she returns her gaze back to Rupert, chin propped down against interlaced fingers. She sighs, loudly, and unable to just sit any longer, she rises to her feet and begins to pace away.

Offering a look over to Melissa, Peter lets her lean there against him, then slowly lifts one arm to hook around her shoulders. There's a weariness in his expression, now more than before, and as he pulls that arm around Melissa, Peter draws the blonde closer and lets her hide her face against the side of his neck, one hand on the back of her head. There's nothing in Peter's expression though, nothing but that drained stoicism that Claire has, that bled dry look that is the Petrelli way of hiding pain until its private enough to show it.

The redness around his eyes and puffiness says he's already had some time alone, already let some of it out. The guilt, though, that will stay for a long time after.

"I took the liberty of doing something for this ceremony that seemed fitting," Rupert finally speaks up, lifting one hand to reach inside of his suit jacket, then withdraws a bundle of red cloths, all different sizes and lengths, five in total. One by one, Rupert begins tying off the scarves to the torches planted in the beach, tearing off a piece from the tattered ends of each of them to wrap around the torch that represents Lacombe. Then, when he reaches the seventh torch, Rupert lets his head hang and looks over to Melissa.

"Melissa, could you come down?" The question is asked with the somber sobriety of this setting, Rupert's brows lifted in a worried furrow. There is no fitting market for this monument.

Biodynamics Incorporated


"Ling! Ling get Kris out of there!" Smoke and flames fill the lobby of the Biodynamics building, glass has shattered all across the front of the structure and bullets whip in from the outside. Dozens of police lights flash in the parking lot out front and a matte black armored personnel carrier marked with the words FRONTLINE is parked behind the rows of police cars, its back hatch door lowered and armored figures sweeping towards the building from behind police lines.

Floodlights shine in through the windows, tear-gas canisters hiss and spin on the floor, blowing in wafted clouds. On the floor in the middle of the lobby, Kris lays clutching his side, gasping fo rbreath and sparking with pinkish fiery crackles in a pool of blood on the tile floor.

Stepping out from behind one of the marble columns in the lobby, Peter steps out with his pistol, firing towards not the police or the approaching FRONTLINE squad but the floodlights. As bullets pop off, rounds of automatic fire tear through Peter's body, blood spraying out from behind his back just as fast as wounds begin to seal up in the wake of the armor-piercing rounds.

"Ash! We need to cover our exit! Kris! Kris don't black out on us we need you!" Peter's voice is wet, blood running from one corner of his mouth as gunfire rips through his regenerating body. Fanning out, the identically armored members of FRONTLINE close in on the building while the noise of a helicopter outside sends shuddering chops of the rotors through the air.

Oh shit! Bullets are flying everywhere! Any one of them could hit him, his illusions don't work on inanimate objects! Kendall ducks for cover, looking around frantically for Melissa. And she said it wasn't dangerous!!! People are getting SHOT!

Even knowing that Peter will heal doesn't stop Melissa from calling out his name and leaning around the column. She's still hiding since she won't regenerate. It doesn't stop her from firing her pistol though, though she does fire towards the bodies firing towards them rather than any inanimate objects. How dare they shoot her teammates?

Hearing the call towards Kris, she glances towards the downed teleporter, and while she can't do much for him, she can try to relieve the pain in hopes it'll keep him from actually passing out. "C'mon…let it work," she whispers to herself.

Ash nods his head to Peter's statement. With a quick motion the man has both of his pistols out and in hand. He ducks out from behind a column, taking a knee and he systematically blasts out headlights on the cars in front of him, and shoots out legs of the cops, not knees, just legs, putting them on the ground. The cops aren't doing anything but their jobs. The moment his clips click empty the guns are slid back into the webbing, and two smoke grenades are pulled from his belt. He rolls to the side, avoiding a fusillade of fire, and comes up behind a column. A quick duck to the side sends both smoke grenades spiraling through the air to land amongst the cops, sending smoke billowing up. A third throw sends a frag grenade out and tinking along the pavement to roll up under the Frontline vehicle. Ash has no clue if it will do anything to it or not, but all he's hoping to do is mess up it's ability to move for the moment to make their escape easier.

Smoke and flames - nothing marks a more perfect situation for Ling to slip in to join the others, a plume of black smoke bursting forth from a vent , expanding and darkening as it blankets the room - something that seems to surprise even Ling as she funnels out from the mass, the literal smoke screen she has formed, somehow. Coalescing and forming into her familiar form, looking down at Kris with narrowed eyes. "I am no medic. This is going to hurt. Try to stay with us." She dips down, as gingerly as possible lifting him up - bit of task given that she's not as physically strong as others, combined with still flying bullets.

Gunfire blasts through the smoke, parting the dark clouds as blind shots are taken. Out in front of the Biodynamics building, police officers scream out in pain from gunshots striking them while the tumbling roll of grenades making their way to the armored FRONTLINE vehicle nearly reach their mark, until one of the black armored FRONTLINE officers twists on his heels, pointing a finger to the grenades and thrusts his hand out. The telekinetic nudge that Tristian Bentley can apply to unfamiliar and distant objects is small, but the goal is to not only put the blast beneath their armored carrier, but behind it to shield the police from the explosion's backblast.

When the grenades detonate, the tank barely rocks against the concussive explosion, smoke and asphalt debris filling the air. Ahead of the team, one of the members of FRONTLINE is making a direct path through the smoke, heedless of incoming gunfire from Peter as he backs up into the lobby. Bullets slam into the black body armor and the reactive fluids inside of the suit stiffen at the kinetic force, at first driving the man marked on his chest as 01-01 backwards, then eventually the bullets don't even seen to slow him down.

Famous for his nigh-invulnerability, USMC Second-Lieutenant Michael Spalding strides inside of the building, firing a burst from his assault rifle at Peter, sending the healer and regenerator backwards and off of his feet, skidding across the floor in a streak of blood.

Behind him, bullets whip over Michael's shoulder from a burst through the smoke, then bend in mid-air and whip around to where Ash is ducked behind the column. One bullet blindly fired nails him in the chest of his body armor, slamming him up against the column, the other goes wide and shatters the marble tile.

«Sanderson, what're you picking up on thermals?» Crackles a voice from Spalding's helmet and a small, thin member of Frontline behind Michael rolls over one shoulder as she comes in through the broken front of the building, leveling her M-16 up and through the thick cloud of smoke. «I'm getting interference, this smoke's hot. Like— body heat hot, it's weird.»

Gasping for breath as he tries to pull himself up, Peter makes a choking noise and rolls onto his side, spitting a bullet out of his mouth and bloodily onto the tile. Kris is being pulled up to his feet by Ling, wincing at the feeling of hot blood seeping between his fingers and the bullets whizzing overhead. "Everyone get close!" Kris hisses, waving Ash over through the haze of the smoke, "I— I'm only going to be able to do this once!"

Moving this many people again. At least it's less than the rooftop, but he's also shy a negator.

"Melissa!" Is howled by Peter as he starts firing into the smoke, and out of Melissa's periphery she can see one sleekly black-clad figure of FRONTLINE stepping through the smoke, 01-05, his assault rifle up, sweeping the room and training a shot on Melissa as he flanks around the side of the group, Peter's wild shots shattering glass behind him, but he's line up the shot, he has to take it.

A gun is being pointed at Melissa, and she isn't looking that way. Kendall is about to yell, but with all the gunfire being fired and causing chaos she likely won't hear, so he leaps towards her, yelling her name anyway. Of course, yelling naturally breaks his illusion of invisibility since people can tell he's there, and then he's where Melissa is. Hands come out and shove at her, sending her flying, just as the gun is fired.

Kendall gets jerked backwards as he's shot in the chest, crimson quickly soaking through his shirt, and he lands in a heap on the ground. And unlike Peter, his wounds don't heal, and a thick puddle forms underneath him. It was a nearly perfect shot, as well, leaving no time to heal him even if someone was close by with the power.

Hearing her name Melissa's head jerks up, then around. And just when Kendall is leaping in front of her, she's starting to bring her pistol up. She would never have made it in time, and she goes sprawling anyway when he slams into her. After it registers that Kendall's not only there, but that he's been shot, she screams, "NO!" in a voice full of anguish and rage both.

She doesn't seem to hear Kris's call to the Messiah members, instead scrambling to Kendall, tugging him into her lap, uncaring that she's getting blood all over her — Kendall's blood. Instead she looks up at the FRONTLINE member who did the shooting, hatred emanating from every fiber of her being as she attacks him in return. Not with her pistol, that's forgotten. No, she wants him to feel what Kendall's feeling, only intensified a great deal, and she has the means to do it.

Unfortunately it means that she isn't moving towards Kris, her only thought in that moment revenge for Kendall.

Ash takes the bullet in the chest, and a growl rips from his throat. The man reaches down to his belt, throwing knives pulled free. He spins and flings the knives in rapid succession at the various armored figured he can see, aiming for joints and necks, not for armored sections. He turns the spin around the pillar into a sprint, his right hand reaching down for the combat knife at his belt, which is yanked free from it's sheath.

Michael's head turns as Ash rushes towards him, the man pivoting on his foot to take the charge, a hand going out in a straight punch to Ash's floating ribs. The punch lands, hard, causing Ash to lurch to the side, but advantage is taken of the position, and the tip of the knife is driven full force through the elbow joint of Michael's armor, blood immediately welling up around the knife, which is withdrawn as Ash brings a hard knee up into Michael's side, not for pain, but to move the big man a bit and give Ash a shot at his throat.

The glint of light of red coated steel flashes as the blade of the knife cuts into the neck piece of Michael and slides against the side of his neck. Ash in exchange gets the butt of a rifle upside his head, the impact loud and hard, staggering the soldier. Ash's eyes narrow, and he steps back in towards Spalding, bringing his knife up in a wicked arc, the blow fast, and hard, and it… skids off of Michael's throat. Spalding, knowing the knife would do nothing, brings the butt hard up into Ash's gut, doubling him over.

Ash takes advantage of the new position to throw his weight forwards, putting all the power his body possesses behind it, and sends himself and the Frontline soldier sprawling onto the ground, fists flying from both, grappling attempted, limbs sliding in and out of each other, locking, loosening, being over powered, the rapid thuds of flesh on flesh and flesh on armor lost in the cacophony of the battle raging around them. Ash? Really not paying attention to the fact that Kris is trying to get him out of there.

There's a lot going on, and there's still a fair amount of smoke wafting off of Ling's anxious form, much more than normal. But the scream of Melissa's name grab's Ling's attention like someone praise from the company CEO - that voice is unmistakeable, one she's come to know very well. The Chinese woman looks up just in time to see Kendall hit the floor, to hear Melissa's cry in response, her eyes wide and her body stiff. For the first time in all of her missions, her excursions with Messiah, this was the first time she found herself paralyzed, unsure what to think, what to do.

Suddenly, she just blurts it out, and with her mind racing and tension high, it doesn't even come out in English. "«What the hell is he doing here!»" she shouts out in her native tongue, cautiously rising up from where she's put Kris, eyes narrowed. "Melissa! «Need to go!»" That's something the other woman should be able to pick up from the bit of Mandarin she's been taught. Eyes move down to Kendall's body, and when she realizes exactly how bad that is, her eyes widen again. "Kendall…" Even she's quiet and surprised, even if the moment is entirely inappropriate for it. She'd be scolding herself for being so unprofessional later.

Even Peter is horrified by the sight, the unexpected presence of Kendall Cunningham tearing onto the scene only to be cut down by gunfire. This is exactly what Peter was horrified of, what his worst fears are, what he'd never wanted to happen. "No! No!" Out of bullets, all Peter can do is click his emptied gun frantically in the direction of the man who'd accidentally taken Kendall down. When 01-05 buckles under the pressure of Melissa's pain induction, he staggers back towards one of the marble-plated pillars, swinging an arm around only to chop through the pillar with his arm like it were made of balsa wood. Shards of stone fly away from his flailing swing and pieces of the ceiling come collapsing down.

In the midst of all of this, Sanderson and Bentley are recoiling from the knife-thrown assault back into the smoke for cover. Sanderson's helmet has a throwing knife precariously sticking out of the jaw area where it narrowly missed her throat. Michael Spalding, however, is wrapped in combat with Ashley Williams.

One man a paragon of physical form, the other man a dreadnaught of durability.

On his back with Ash swinging at him, Michael takes the first few hits with staggered blow, the faceplate of his helmet shattering from one of the strikes. While his armor seems to be battered senseless by the powerful man, Michael himself is adapting to the blunt force trauma, eventually finding himself unable to be harmed by the blows, bringing his head up to smash his already cracked helmet against Ash's face, shattering his visor and sending Williams reeling back off of his body. Michael uses that opportunity to roll onto his side, his hydraulics hissing and whirring from a cut line, but still more than enough fluid for a few more good goes.

«Spalding!» The shout comes from another female Frontline officer, 01-02, rushing up behind Michael and grabbing him by the arm, her sidearm leveled over his shoulder as she fires a few divering shots past Ash, «Look at your vitals! He tagged you! Pull back!»

"Ash!" Peter screams, coming up behind the soldier, wrapping an arm around one of Ash's biceps, "We have to go! We have to go! Kris! Get us out of here! Get Kendall!" The barked order has Kris staggering away from Ling, leaking blood from between his fingers, he reaches down and takes a hold of one of Kendall's arms, then holds out his other hand for Ling, taking her hand. Peter hauls Ash back, only thanks to the momentary dazing that a third blow to the head has afforded him. "Melissa" Peter can't carry everone, reaching away from Ling, Peter grabs Melissa by the shoulder, dragging her back towards the group and letting Ling complete the circuit with a touch to Peter's back.

"Oh god, oh god please get everyone!" Kris shouts as he tries to focus on all of the bodies around himself through the blinding pain he's succumbing to with Melissa's focus away from him. Sucking in a sharp breath, there's a sparkle of fiery red lights around Kristian, a buildup of heat and then an explosion of crackling and snapping energy…

He's never moved this many people at once, while injured.

Sometimes things get lost in translation.

Staten Island Coast

Present Day

Staring out at the shore, Kris's eyes are distant, his jaw set and throat working tightly up and down. He had failed Messiah, failed to bring everyone back home. He swore he had Kendall, swore he could feel him, but ultimately, they arrived home one man short.

Silent, Kris listens to Rupert as he calls for Melissa to approach the torches. He blames himself.

There's some comfort gained by the arm around her, so Melissa is reluctant to move. Comfort is a precious thing right now, not to be wasted. She does, after a moment, glance over to see what Rupert's up to, and seeing that seventh scarf she almost loses what composure she has. It's proof, of a sort, that he's gone, really gone, and it has the tears that she's held back the entire night slipping down her cheeks, getting the shoulder of Peter's shirt damp before she finally lifts her head, then slowly pushes herself to her feet.

Comfort is a precious thing, but doing something to remember the fallen is more important.

She doesn't bother to wipe the tears from her cheeks, but instead lifts her head and walks to Rupert, pausing in front of him to stare at the scarf. "He was only seventeen," she murmurs softly.

Ash lets his tongue run over his split lip a bit, feeling the light sting from the motion before his tongue goes back into his mouth. Eyes glance up and around at the others on the beach, a soft sigh escaping him, but no actual words. he lets his gaze settle on the sand in front of him, his e yes closing, his shoulders giving a slight roll before he pushes to his feet and turns his eyes on Melissa. He watches her, his gaze lingering for a handful or so of seconds, then pulls away, sadness in his own eyes. His fingers run along the red scarf, still wrapped around his forearm from wrist to elbow. "This is why we fight." he whispers softly, striding out to the water's edge to stand with his feet in the wet sand, waves breaking around his ankles. "You did everything you could do sparkles. Don't beat yourself up. War has casualties. It's not pretty, and it's not forgiving, even for the young." He turns his head to look over at Kris. "You saved a lot of people, focus on that. Focusing on the bad will destroy you."

Claire lingers for a short time at the edge of the group, seemingly unapproachable as she stands gazing off away from the group, hands pushed deep into her pockets. Hesitantly, Claire's head turns some to watch Melissa approach Rupert. The words spoken don't reach her ears, but actions often say much more.

Seeing the red scarf in Rupert's hands as it's held to Melissa, Claire's head shakes just a little. "Don't take it…" She whispers under her breath. "…don't make him one of us." While she does what needs doing, he was only a kid.

The regenerator can't get herself to stay and watch the results, not with that thought. A teenage cut down, cause of what they were doing. She turns away and hurries from the group, before the tears can reach her eyes. Claire probably won't even be in the barracks when they get back.

Ling continues to walk, pace, skirt around the outer edge of the group, eyes on Melissa and Rupert the entire time. She watches as Claire takes her leave, a frown on her face. She would be inclined to agree, if she had heard Claire. Kendall hadn't been one of them, as much as he thought he wanted to be. A smokey trail lingers behind her as she walks, a hand running through her hair. "You make it sound so simple, Ash," she remarks as she reaches him, eyes still on Melissa. "Don't be a fool. Let her have her moment."

"He died one of us," are the words that Claire Bennet feared hearing, that last length of red cloth draped over Rupert's hand blowing free in the cold sea breeze, "we don't have badges to hand back, medals to pin on us, but we are in a war." Rupert's words echo in spirit Ash's words to Kristian. "Would you take this scarf, the one he deserves, and tie it off to that torch?"

Rupert steps aside from Melissa at that remark, holding out the scarf for her, his thin fingers wound in the tattered fabric. Peter watches, brows furrowed and expression distant, jaw set and head bowing and posture stiffening. Beyond the torches, Kris offers an askance look to Ash, then past him to Ling's darkly clad frame standing ankle deep in the cold surf with him. He doesn't speak up, in the grand scheme of things he feels younger than he really is, feels like he only has half the strength to have an opinion as Ling and Ash do.

"Take the scarf," Rupert urges to Melissa, "make him one of us, because Kendall's heroism earned that much…"

The scarf is stared at for a minute while Melissa continues to silently cry. She doesn't seem to hear Ash or Ling, doesn't seem to notice anything but that scarf. Then she looks up at Rupert, then over at Ash, before she shakes her head. "No, he wasn't one of us. He was so much better than us. The torch…It's right. It's fitting. But he was too innocent, too pure to be honored with the mark of Messiah. Our goals are good, noble, but we do horrible things. He couldn't hurt anyone if he had to," she says softly, sounding both proud of him and sad at the same time.

The scarf is looked at once more, before she turns, to move back to the spot on the sand so recently vacated, and she sinks back down to the ground, again seeking a nice shoulder to rest her head on.

Ash turns his head, his eyes narrowing at Ling as she makes her statement. "I didn't say anything to Melissa. Now is not a time for chiding people, it's a time for remembering the sacrifices that have been made, by those gone, and those still here." He shakes his head and turns his eyes back out onto the ocean lingering out there for a stretch before he turns his attention to the torch, though he does settle a hand on Kris' shoulder in an attempt at being comforting. His thoughts go back to the incident, though his own thoughts mostly contain his fight with Spalding, a man so like the comic villain Juggernaught that it's somewhat amusing, at least… it would be were it not for the fact that he and Ash were trying to kill each other. Gaze pulls to Melissa at her words, and Ash gives an approving nod of his head to what she says, apparently agreeing with the woman, and if he should happen to catch her gaze again he'll repeat the nod to her, letting her know that he agrees with her, even if it won't matter coming from Ash.

Ling first looks a bit surprised - and then her brow furrows, mouth opening as if she's about to chide Ash for chiding her. It's an odd feeling, compassion. But this is one of those rare times it's found its way to her, so instead she simply nods, waving a hand dismissively. "I'm sorry. I misheard you, then," she states simply, walking her way back out of the water - she pays no mind to the sand collecting on her dress, arms around her waist as she comes to a stop slightly more inland. Now was not a time for arguing with Ash or anyone else, and even she knew it.

She thinks for a moment, tilting her head. Maybe it's more pity, than compassion, at least in some cases. Maybe a little of both. But either way it's enough to shut her up, for now.

The ideal of the Messiah is a figure than transcends the religious concepts that first birthed it.

Looking down to the scarf held out in his hand, Rupert furrows his brows and turns to look at the ocean, breathing in deeply as he watches the surf, then to the torch protruding from the sand, the only one flickering in dim moonlight without a scarf wrapped around it. Looking confused, Rupert stares at the blood red cloth for a moment, then lets it fall from his hand, threads passing between his fingers until it is caught on the wind, snakes through the air and lands on the lapping surf.

From the ancient Hebrew root Masia, or "The Annointed", the term has become a cultural zeitgeist, an ideal of a redeemer figure not beholden to just a faith or a philosophy.

The scarf is caught in the waves, rising up on swelling tides, drawn across the water and past the legs of Kris, Ash and Ling, a red tongue snaking across dark water reflecting a pale moon. Following the scarf with his vacant stare, Peter wraps his arms around his knees and slides his tongue across his lips, brown eyes unable to see past the slithering crimson streak on the water, reminded of how Kendall's blood flowed from his body across the black tile floor.

In a world as rife with corruption and evil as this one, is it not every dream to find this figure? Find this great redeemer who will lead the world into an age of prosperity and light?

Peter's dark eyes move from the scarf, settling on the wiry frame of Rupert Carmichael, back afforded to him, wind blowing his thinning hair as he watches the scarf make its departure across the waves. Something nags at the back of Peter's mind about the incident at Biodynamics, that someone had to have sold them out. Looking across at West, Peter's brows tense, then his focus shifts to Riggs and Risa, towards Claire's distant form, then out to Rickham. Someone in the organization allowed that to happen…

There is no true Messiah, no one figure of salvation who will lead the world into a better age. There are just men, fallable, imperfect men.

Then Peter's attention settles back on Rupert, watching him turn around and offer a painted smile to Melissa for her pain. Brown eyes narrow and Peter's fingers curl against his palm as guilt swallows him up from inside.

There are just men, good and evil and those who feel that they are the redeemer. Just men with lofty ideals…

He should have been better. He can be better. He can fix this all, together.

Men with a Messiah Complex

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