New Frontier


colette3_icon.gif devon2_icon.gif elisabeth3_icon.gif felix_icon.gif hart_icon.gif marisa_icon.gif

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Scene Title New Frontier
Synopsis Captain Wilson briefs SCOUT on an important assignment; then, it's off to the races.
Date June 24, 2019

The Watchtower

8:15 AM

The image of a wiry, dead-eyed young man flashes on the projector screen in a darkened briefing room seated nearly at full-capacity. Captain Oliver Wilson steps into a sliver of light, clicker in hand. "This is Stephen Wendt, a homegrown Pure Earth radical arrested last month before he could pull off a terrorist attack at the World's Fair." He scans the gathered officers and detectives, looking in the dim lighting for a particular face before he continues. "When security apprehended him, they uncovered one of the prettiest-looking homemade bombs you'd ever seen hiding right in his bookbag." Turning to the projection, the image swaps to show the evidence photos of both the bag as well as the smartly-assembled IED that accompanied it. "For the last month, everybody from the FBI to DHS to SESA has been rotating in interviewing him, trying to get 'im to fess up to how he made it. On the back end, those agencies have been working together to analyze the bomb and confirm what they suspected — that he didn't make it, and acquired it from …"

He stops short of saying who, at least initially, because the slide lags in changing. It finally pops up an image of the Safe Zone sectioned by neighborhoods, three headshots appearing with lines tying them to different pindrops on the map. "… one of these guys, as best as they can tell." And one's a woman. "As soon as they came up with their short list of suspects, SESA-NY immediately reached out to tap us for our assistance in stopping the supplier in their tracks. SCOUT will be joined by some of our friends from Wolfhound in knocking on doors, finding answers."

Captain Wilson doesn't blink as he looks out over the assembled force, his conversational tones slipping to something harder. "It's imperative we get these bombs off our streets, and bring the fullest extent of the law down on the extremists making and distributing them. The Department of Homeland Security is concerned about any of our suspects bolting if they get wind of any of the others being moved in on, so we do this swift, and we do it synchronized. We'll be hitting all three this morning." Lifting his chin, he leaves the projector running, headshots a foot and a half tall apiece ringing around him. "It's all hands on deck for this one."

With a click, the intended distribution of officers appears below the photographs, teams assigned in an instant. "Any questions?"

Ferrymen's Bay

11:04 AM

"«All right, we've got the clear to go.»" Sarah Hart's voice is composed as it comes through the earpiece of the team gathered outside a tenement covered in overgrowth. "«Team 3 Leader, advise when ready.»"

The apartment building looks as though most of the units aren't in use, a single car lotted in the parking spaces pushing up against it. Even that is a questionable indicator of the building's occupants, the front two wheels deflated and sunk in indicating the car's been sitting there probably for a long time. Hart is back in the transport van the team had arrived in, a block over, supporting from afar while the SCOUT officers and their Wolfhound attache approach the suspect's residence.

There's a certain sense of familiarity to the entire affair for Colette Demsky. Even before the Civil War there was an effort to militarize the police, and while SCOUT has stepped back from that precipice, certain tactical jargon and formations remain behind due to form and function outweighing the discomfort they provide to civilians. But unlike her days in Wolfhound, Colette is not dressed like a PMC soldier. SCOUT detectives are plain-clothes officers. The AEGIS vest strapped over Colette’s chest isn't the same one she wore in Wolfhound, but its weight feels familiar. The navy blue nylon jacket draped over it is police-issue, with NYPD SCOUT in yellow block print on the back. Her badge is clipped to her belt, handgun in a holster under one arm, and a different kind of weapon at the ready.

The click-whine of a Raytech Banshee priming is a familiar sound on the streets of the Safe Zone these days. As the battery pack charges the pistol-gripped sonic emitter it makes a high-pitched and shrill call, almost like an old camera’s flash bulb charging up. As Colette treads across the street to the front of the tenement building, she watches the windows up above, coming to stop beside the front door to the lobby, pulling it open for the rest of the team to enter.

“I'll get eyes-on,” Colette says into her comm, holding the door with one hand as her brows furrow and the gray pupils of her blind eyes narrow to pinpoints. Rather than the street, Colette bends the light reaching her eyes, focusing her attention first around the corner of the doorway into the lobby, then toward the stairs to scout ahead as much as she can.

It's been years since Elisabeth was part of a street squad… officially. And yet it's as familiar as breathing, given that she's really barely a year off the wasteland's battlefields. A moment of amusement hits as she remembers Richard's constant harping on her helmet. The Aegis vest is lighter-weight than the old Kevlar, which is nice. But she feels silly carrying a Banshee when it's her own power. The up side to having her handy is the silence field extended around the group — the Banshee's charge-up can't be heard accidentally by anyone in the building.

"Roger, Hart. Give us a moment. Demsky, stay close." She is covering Colette while she does what she does and meanwhile makes a rotating movement with her finger in the air. "Ivanov, do what you do — gimme a Speedy Gonzales of the back doors." The familiarity of that instruction gives Liz a moment of deja vu. The two recon scouts need to come back with their reports before we go through that door.

Man, this is the most massive case of deja vu. Back in plain clothes (where did he find a suit that tailored in the wreckage of New York), vest over it, with the unit designation tape glaring in bright letters. On the way over, he kept looking down at it, for all the world like a girl on the way to prom who can’t believe how pretty her dress really is. Fel’s got the calm cop’s mask on, but Liz and Colette won’t be able to miss that gleam of enthusiasm in his eyes.

He’s got a Banshee of his own in hand, charging within the cone of silence Liz creates. Then she gives him orders, and he’s scooting around the back, quickly. With his own power charged up, he can make the survey in the fraction of the time most could - less chance that the perp they’re after will see him.

From behind his visor, Devon looks over the heads and shoulders of the SCOUT team to study the building. A look of disbelief might be something that others meet the building with, but experience has shown that people will house themselves in the most dilapidated, decrepit structures imaginable. So long as there’s some belief that they will escape notice and be able to operate beneath the structures of a functioning society, anything to hide within is seen as habitable.

After a beat, long enough to have a vague idea of the spacing — if the windows are anything to judge by — he steps forward. The figurative line already drawn by the law enforcement professionals isn’t crossed, and he stops just behind Elisabeth and Colette’s positions. He’s not there to actively engage unless needed. Shoulders shift under the weight of his armor, and his head tilts for a look at the junker parked against the building. His hands adjust their grip slightly on the rifle he’s opted to carry — his banshee and handgun balance themselves at his waist — but the muzzle remains pointed toward the ground.

There’s a vaguely uneasy shift of his weight. There’s been a few moments of nervous energy even during the transport to the site. Dev casts a look sideways, to Liz and then Colette and Felix. Shoulders rise and fall again to turn his anxiousness into readiness.

Coming to a stop behind Elisabeth and Colette, Marisa has her own banshee in hand, letting it charge along with the others. She has her own vest on as well — while she might not need it most of the time, it still keeps her from being hurt too badly for that first shot.

Her ability has much less to do with recon and much more to do with being a meat shield, so she hangs back quietly, making sure everything is ready to go — she simply remains as backup for the time being, though she’s quite prepared to put herself in between her teammates and harm’s way.

Man, it feels great to be back in the NYPD uniform. This is where she’s always wanted to be, ever since her days at Pace.

The light in the hall reveals no persons, and a handful of closed doors on the first floor. The apartment door closest to the rear exit of the building is cracked open, revealing a lived-in space with no one visibly present from the entryway. There's other rooms, doors closed, which might play host to their suspect. The building must hold eight apartments in total if the layout of the first is similar to the second. Peeking through the light up the stairs, there's nothing unusual, not a person to be seen.

Outside, it's a different story. A tear of wind follows Felix's wake, sends wobbling an empty pail that falls off a post. The noise of it sends a goat roaming the overgrown lot behind the building bleating and skittering away from the sound. A woman looks up from milking a second goat, wondering at the breeze.

But it's not a woman they were sent after.

The rest of the lot between buildings was probably additional off-street parking, but now, it serves as the center-point for green hallways of vines and grass poking through concrete and clinging to brick. A third animal, a horse, whickers by the fire escape when the wether barrels in its direction.

In the lobby, no movement— nothing that seems out of the ordinary.

"«Don't take too long,»" Hart quips, trying to inject some levity into her urgency by adding, "«I might get bored and start playing sudoku.»" After a beat, she adds, attention split, "«Sounding like Modi's — Team 2 just found their girl.»"

Clear,” Colette calls into the comms, “lobby, base of the stairwell. Moving ahead to scout the stairs.” Colette continues to hold the door, waiting for Marisa to move to the forefront with Devon now that they're in the building. The nigh-invulnerable cop and her old Wolfhound peer are the hammer, while she, Elisabeth, and Felix are the anvil, so to speak.

Once the others have entered the lobby, Colette falls in after them and moves to the stairwell door, pulling it open and crouching, blind pupils narrowing to pinpoints again. “Scouting the stairwell. Lieutenant,” she says with her brows furrowed, “I'd recommend a two-factor approach. I can lead the stairs with Clendaniel at the front, maybe you and Marisa to the elevator?”

She turns her head subtly toward Elisabeth, even though it's clear her eyes are focused elsewhere.

As soon as recon reports back, Elisabeth nods. "Hart, we're breaching." Go time! With her pistol pointed down and ready, she gestures the team into motion. They've all practiced sweeping maneuvers ad nauseum.

Once they're crouched at the bottom of the stairs, Elisabeth nods sharply to Colette's proposed tag-teams and warns, "Silence field coming down for you all so I can pinpoint location." Sure, she could hold it wide enough to encompass everyone as they move, but because they're widening their stance a bit, that risks bringing the bad guys inside the field too. Still… between Colette's 'eyes' and Elisabeth's 'ears', who needs infrared?

Liz gestures Marisa to sweep left with her while Felix sweeps right; they'll meet at the elevator…. where they can ride up with the other tank at the front of the car. (Who, us? Using human shields? We do when they can shoot back!)

Back and reported in moments - horse, goat, it’s a whole farm back there, isn’t it? Fel no more than a breeze and a blur of motion. When he slows back down enough to pop into real time like some sort of freeze-frame animation, his eyes are alight, the whole sense of him like a bird poised to take flight.

Plan confirmed, and he’s heading out, slightly slower, to sweep the righthand side, everything else reduced to a still tableau, living life in a cast court full of statues. It feels so very good to be back in the saddle.

As plans are laid out, Devon rests in a half crouch at the foot of the stairs, half turned to keep himself a small target. His eyes study the climb, watching for shadows on the walls. It’d be the first giveaway after noise that anyone was coming. His rifle has come from its low hold across his body, to a readied grip, the butt pressed into his shoulder and muzzle leading toward the stairs.

A glance over his shoulder shows that he’s heard the plan. He takes a slow breath. A look is slanted at Colette, and a nod tips his head. Turning his attention to the stairs, to whatever is above, he starts up first at a slow, cautious pace.

With a nod, Marisa sweeps left along with Elisabeth, making sure to place herself between the woman and any unexplored territory — even with the eyes and ears provided by her and Colette, these things can be unpredictable; better she take a bullet than the audiokinetic.

The wordless human shield is thankful for the silence field. The Banshees are amazing, but they’re so loud. Definitely not a good thing to use when trying to be sneaky. She also carries an extra gun at her hip — this one has regular bullets, though it’s not for anyone they’re after. No, this one is expressly to help her with that whole invulnerability thing without being wounded too badly, in the event of a gunfight.

Once her focus is set to it, Elisabeth can hear it first — signs of life from the upper level.

It comes in the form of the thumpthumpthump of a rapidly-beating heart, one in motion. She can hear movement that’s associated with it, distant and muffled, harder to distinguish than the telltale sound of human life moving out of her range.


That’s a bit easier for almost everyone to hear, though, coming from outside. If not that, then surely the clatter that accompanies it, feet scuffling down the stairs of the fire escape behind the building, the sound of someone nearly tripping. The horse out back whinnies now, the sound of its heavy weight carrying in a clack of hoof to concrete, a moment before it starts to take off in a galloping charge. The woman out back calls out in confusion.

A door on the first floor opens near Felix, and out comes a disheveled man in boxers and an undershirt intent on barreling down the hall to also head out back. "Goddammit, that piece of—" he's starting to yell, but then he catches sight of the cops in the hall and starts violently. "What the fuck? Hey, you can't be in here!"

The weave of light through the glass panels of the window at the end of the second-story hallway reveals that the horse isn't alone as it takes off, and the rider hunched over its bare back doesn't so much as look behind him. With a flash of the rein, he spurrs the horse down one of the side alleys.

Through the din, another repetitive note carries down to Elisabeth, similar to that heartbeat she first picked up on. Similar, in a way, yet entirely different.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

"We got a runner, Ivanov," Elisabeth says into her mic when she hears the skitter of overhead feet heading toward the fire escape. For those who don't know her as well, the glee might sound a little out of place — most officers hate it when they get a runner. But it cracks Liz the hell up cuz, well, IVANOV. He'll be giggling the rest of the day, she's sure.

Even as the speedster is dispatched, though, and Marisa comes around at the sound of the door opening, the audiokinetic's blue eyes go wider. Fuck. "Bomb's armed!" She barks the words, which are an immediate call to fall back and get the fuck out of dodge for most people. For her, it's a moment of alarm as she widens her perceptions to catch any and all heartbeats in the building, immediately discounting the five normal ones very close to her and Felix's speedster-fast beats (what she catches of them as he gets out of range).

She's out of practice and cursing herself. Normally Liz would have done this first thing to pinpoint all heartbeats in the building, but it's been a while since she's done this on a regular basis and she'd been focused on their approach. If she wishes the kick in the butt hadn't included a ticking bomb, well… sucks to be her. But now she has to verify how many other occupants of the building there are and get her other three officers and this asshole out before it blows — none of this team are bomb-disarmament specialists.

"Nonetheless, I am," Felix says, cheerfully matter of fact. He favors the man with a sunny grin. "Afternoon, citizen. You might wanna evacuate, this place is rigged to blow."

To Liz, "Roger that, I'm on it. Grab this…" half a beat of pause while he sorts and discards epithets, "Guy and get him out, if you can. Gonna go take care of the Lone Ranger there." Can he outrun a galloping horse? Entirely possible.

He's gone in a puff of air, leaving dustmotes swirling behind him.

Halfway in the stairwell, Colette’s eyes go wide when Elisabeth calls out bomb’s armed. She looks incredulous, but a runner complicates matters and an expedited retreat layers considerable amount of validity on Elisabeth’s claim. Moving fully into the stairwell, Colette blinks her attention back to where she’s standing, settling her attention on Elisabeth.

“Devon might be able to get it out of harm’s way,” Colette says with a gesture of one gloved finger pointing up. “How far is it between where we are and the device? We need to evacuate the residents,” she looks over to Marisa, then back to the stairwell. That’s so many separate tasks.

A few steps ahead of Colette, Devon freezes as Liz alerts to an armed bomb. His heart slams against his chest, hands wring against the body of his rifle, ears ring with a sudden rush of adrenaline. Panic drags a hit claw down his spine.

He squeezes his eyes shut, forces himself to take a deep breath. When Colette’s voice comes over the comms, he half turns his head to acknowledge her questions.

“Divide and conquer,” he adds, with a touch of uncertainty in his voice. “Liz can bullhorn to evac, with Marisa to cover her. We…” Dev pauses to look up the stairs and take another steadying breath. “Take care of the explosive.”

Of course it had to be a bomb. The nigh-invulnerable cop has her own moment of near-panic, taking a sharp breath at the mention of the explosive. However, she is quick to push herself away from that mindset — nothing can be as bad as the bomb she survived, right? She promptly positions herself as best she can between Elisabeth and the direction she’s looking at when it comes to the bomb.

“For what it’s worth,” she remarks, “if I can survive the bomb that kicked off the civil war, this one should be a cinch.” It wasn’t a cinch, it was a horrible experience, but it’s one she’s willing to put herself through if it’ll save the people potentially harmed by this development. “I can take bomb duty, or evac.” She glances to Liz, awaiting further orders.

The blame-ambiguous 'bomb's armed' being called out followed by Felix's quip before he turns into a dustcloud does little to calm the man in the hall down. "You people did what?" he yells. "Are you out of your fucking minds?" He misses out on the nuance added by Marissa, still acting on adrenaline. "Get out of here!" He doesn't hear Devon and Colette on the stairwell.

There's a sleeping, but stirring heartbeat from the apartment behind him, and a smaller source of life in the other apartment down the hall. No other signs of anything from upstairs except that

tick. tick.

The woman who had been milking the goat is shouting at the rider as Felix zooms past her, the Doppler effect of her voice amounting to, "get back here with that—"

Horse, presumably; the thing the bomber is trying to make his escape on, oblivious that there's a force much faster closing in on him. He's hanging on desperately, directing the horse about as much as he clings to it, swearing to himself about the lack of a saddle. He hangs on pretty well, all things considered … but it'd be a shame if someone were to unseat him.

He barrels out of the narrow alley and onto the road.

Grimly, Elisabeth takes Colette's suggestion into account. In the split second she has, she weighs the number of people in the building against the unknown amount of time on the bomb itself and the distance between our team and the bomb's location.

"Blomgren, him and another heartbeat in his apartment." Her tone is firm as she gives the order for evac. "I've got the one down the hall. Hart!! Bomb's counting down, we may need emergency teams. Everybody out! Move!" Her blue eyes study Devon's features, and she clenches her jaw. It's a risk. She's terrified of sending them up there to be blown up, though that doesn't show in her features. She's worried about Devon's headspace. "Demsky, get eyes in the east corner. If it's small, leave it up there and evac. If it's big enough to cause more than this building damage…. Clendaniel heave as far as you can." The building isn't important to her, but there's not time to evac the surrounding structures, if people are in them.

What's the old nickname, from his days in the Bureau? The human hurricane? Living up to it again; even if Fel's a hair slower than he was, that's only a relative fraction. To him, the horse is moving with ponderous, slo-mo strides, each hoof swinging like the pendulum of a clock winding down.

The easiest thing would be to stop the horse forcefully - but the poor animal doesn't deserve such cruel treatment. Lack of saddle makes it all the easier for him to put hands up and vault lightly, springing up to grapple the rider and snag him, before simply letting himself slip down and all but roll away. It happens with a choreographed slowness to his accelerated perceptions….but to the would-be escapee, it's a sudden attack out of nowhere, a blur of motion latching on to him and dragging him off the animal's back.

On it!” Colette calls out inside the apartment building as she pushes into the stairwell, storming up the stairs with her banshee held down at her side. She ascends the stairs two at a time, rounding the corner of the first landing, then ascending up to the second floor. She pauses, brows furrowing, then continues up. By the time she reaches the same floor as the bomb she's passing by apartment doors, her vision pulled in close to herself so as to be aware of oncoming threats.

“Sounds of civvies up here,” Colette says into the comms as she stops in the hallway between two apartments, back up against one wall. She closes her blind eyes and tilts her head to the side, sending a faintly visible sliver of distorted light sneaking ahead of her in an instant. The filament of bent light feeds directly to her senses, snakes around bends and corners, searching for a means of egress to where Elisabeth directed her.

“Copy.” Devon's response to the plan is a reserved echo compared to Colette’s more energetic acknowledgement. The grip on his rifle tightens, the butt of the stock seats more firmly into his shoulder as he climbs the stairs with his former Hound partner. He matches Colette stride for stride, using the movement to redirect his thoughts.

He's done this before. His armor should be able to withstand a small, homemade explosion.

It does little to cushion the jackhammer that's his heart.

Coming up behind Colette, Dev takes a defensive position. While the officer is doing… whatever it is she does, she's going to need cover. His rifle holds low but ready, only needing the smooth motion of bringing the muzzle up and getting sites on target. “Ready to breach on your go,” he says to Colette, after a quick look over his shoulder. That way looks clear, it's all forward movement now.

It is with a grim nod that Marisa turns, making her way to the upset man with a frown on her face. “NYPD,” she calls in a level tone as she approaches. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir. I’m going to have to ask you to evacuate your apartment for the time being,” she says, and glances toward the apartment he came from.

“There is a reported bomb upstairs, and we need to get you and the other person inside out to safety as quickly as possible.” She approaches the subject as gently as possible, considering the man’s shouting prior to this, but she’s ready to be a little more urgent if necessary.

The thing about old, war-worn buildings is that they have a certain settle to them. They were shaken so hard throughout the war that the only way they stayed standing was by packing even tighter together. It leaves angles, though— patches of space where what used to be flat is no longer quite, gaping angles where light can pass through the space between door and floor…

And then, for all intents and purposes, Colette is in the apartment.

It's empty, the window to the fire escape thrown open still with dusty drapes floating in the light breeze that carries from outdoors. Either side of the door is taped down with a device that looks like it could be used to set a tripwire, but nothing is strung up today. The surprise visit caught the occupant unawares. A sad attempt at a kitchenette is arranged near the window; table with two chairs and a microwave long-ago EMP'd out of service. An unpowered mini fridge sits open, filled with gallonbags of explosive devices.

A swivel to the left to the other half of the apartment reveals nothing occupying the living space save for tables and odds-and-ends that combined together could create the same deadly devices stockpiled. The main worktable has a set of screens before it, CCTV that displays the hall outside — Devon and Colette herself — and other smaller screens showing the entryways downstairs. The device is hooked to a station affixed with an expensive solar-rechargeable battery, ensuring the cameras' power even though the building often does not have it. It's safe to say the bomber saw them coming.

Next to the views are tools, hastily discarded when their perp bolted. An assemblage of parts are loosely together on the table, wires between them. It's impossible at a glance to tell how large an explosion it alone would make, but it's surrounded by other explosives, after all. Just above the table, on the wall, hangs a clock that dutifully trudges forward second by second, a reminder of the urgent passing of time.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The horse rears as its rider suddenly goes missing, hands still attached to the reins for an uncomfortably long period of time before they wrench free. Felix's quarry yowls as he's pulled away, the two landing on the ground in a tumbling roll on uneven concrete not at all made softer to land on by the grass peeking through its cracks.

"Fucking mutie," he's already shouting, trying to scrabble to his feet. The tumble on the ground had separated the two, and he kicks at Felix in the hopes of keeping him down as long as possible. He thinks he'll get far away after, somehow, despite the superhuman assault that launched him off the horse. In his mind, there's no option but miraculous escape.

With that woefully overconfident thought, he starts to take off again, this time on foot. The horse he stole continues to barrel off, riderless and frenzied after all the excitement.

When Marisa approaches the man in his boxers, he squints at her in suspicion. As for the topic of the bomb, he seems incensed rather than shocked and alarmed, sneering before he turns his head to the door. "Moira, get some clothes on, the fucking cops are kicking us out," he yells into his apartment.

If it feels like Hart's response to Elisabeth and team is belated, it's because it is. She's been busy. "«Everybody's notified, they're working on getting people out here, but it'll take time. In the meantime, I'm on the move.»" she promises.

The door at the end of the hall into the yard opens, and the woman from outside approaches in, sweeping dark hair back from her face. She heard the shouts from a distance, unclear, and looks more confused than anything. A small voice calls from the apartment to her right, "Mama?" both cautious and afraid.

Jesus, and there are others on the second floor. "Ma'am, NYPD. A bomb threat has been called on the building, I need you to grab your daughter, leave everything else behind, and get out the back door. ~NOW.~" Elisabeth laces that order with every bit of suggestion she can muster, hoping the woman's own fear at the word 'bomb' will enhance it and get her running.

Elisabeth starts up the stairs and then stops. It's been so many years since this was a Thing. Instead of running up the stairs and banging on doors, she pauses there at the bottom of the stairwell and hums a soft note to modulate herself properly. And then her calm contralto emits at a loud volume that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. "~Ladies and gentlemen, if you are hearing the sound of my voice, this is the NYPD. Your building has had a credible bomb threat made on it. Every person is requested to evacuate the building immediately until the bomb squad can clear it. This is not a drill. A bomb threat has been leveled on the building, please evacuate your apartments immediately to the corner of the block until the bomb squad can get here.~"

As Elisabeth announces the bomb threat, Marisa’s attention shifts from the man to her general surroundings, bolstering herself for any panicked individuals. Once she’s sure that the man and Moira are on their way out, she turns, moving to do the job of knocking on each door in order to further alert the tenants.

Her eyes turn up toward the ceiling, a frown on her face; she’s worried about the other two up there.

Fel drops back into real time for a moment, assessing his prey’s status…doesn’t yet lurch into another spell of his ability. He’s flushed and sweating and gleeful, there’s no other word for it.

The insult only makes him grin the more broadly. “Card-carrying member of the Brotherhood, motherfucker,” he says, as he pursues. “By the way, you’re under arrest.” He produces his badge. “So any further steps you take only add resisting arrest to the long list of charges. Though from what I understand of your extracurriculars up there, we’re only gonna get a whiff of you before the Feds drop you down the terrorist rendition oubliette so far you’ll never have existed. Unless you stop and play ball.”

Yeah, he’s trying to negotiate a surrender in the middle of a foot chase. But he owes the guy a breath or two of good faith efforts….and himself a little breather, before he pounces on him in earnest.

Inside the tenement building, hunched down beside the door to the bomb-maker’s apartment, she gives a vacant nod to Devon and then draws in a slow and steady breath. “Ok we’re… clear. No occupants, tripwire on the door isn't armed, but we've got a fuckin’ cooler of explosives and bomb-making tools on the table. I don't… I don't see anything that looks armed? I don't know.” Colette furrows her brows and looks at Devon, then pivots as she draws her line of sight back to her body.

“Hold on, I don't wanna’ shake the room.” Colette says, sidling up to Devon and swapping places with him. “I'll breach the door you slip in past me.” He knows this routine well. As she approaches the door, Colette brings one hand up to the gap between threshold and door and closes her eyes to concentrate. A sparking glow of light spreads around where her palm meets the wood. Then, in a single swift motion she sweeps her hand down that line of the door as though she were swiping a credit card.

There's a sizzle-crack-clang as a laser slices through the deadbolt, lock, and security chain in one quick movement. Tiny, smoldering pieces of molten metal litter the floor on either side. Colette gives the door a tap to start it opening, then moves back and to the side to match Devon’s forward momentum.

Holding position, Dev watches the door, his body tense with readiness to move as soon as the door has been breached. And with an anxiousness that he couldn’t explain if he tried. His rifle is raised, regardless of the intel that the room is empty. He’s done this kind of job for too long to not have arms up. There could still be someone hidden.

The instant Colette begins to move backward, he’s going forward to take over her position. Eyes and firearm cover to his blind side first, then sweep across and to the fore. Purposeful strides take him nearly a half dozen steps into the apartment before coming to a dead stop. Thoughts of clearing the residence and handling the bomb jumble into nonsensical brain noise when he sees the science project gone wrong laid out on the table.

“Colette.” A thread of fear still carries on his voice as he calls to his teammate’s attention, but mostly he sounds confused by what he’s seeing.

Rifle lowering, Devon cautiously approaches the bomb. His eyes flick over the components, tracing wires three times over to device and back again. A slight turn of his head brings his gaze to Colette to see if she’s seeing this too. Then, after hanging his firearm from his shoulder, he reaches a hand out to grab the wiring in a single fist and remove it from the explosive.

The man in his boxers catches a pair of pants thrown at him only after they've already pelted him in the chest, squinting back into his apartment. A woman in an overlarge shirt that sweeps off one shoulder tousles her bedhead as she sweeps into the hall, flip-flops clacking as she heads out as instructed. Shrugging into his jeans, the disgruntled man follows after, only after leaning back indoors to pick up tennis shoes and walk out with them. He shoulders roughly past Marisa on his way out. "'Scuse me."

The mother at the end of the hall widens her eyes at hearing Elisabeth's message, and she bolts into her apartment to grab her child. She moves with all the alarm the other two didn't at hearing there's a bomb in their building, scrambling to extricate them both as rapidly as possible. As far as possible from the danger is where she wants to be.

Tick. Tick.

Upstairs, when Devon reaches out, heartbeats in the room spike…

Tick. Tick.

The wires give with the tug all too easily.

Tick. Tick.

The clock above keeps time as emphatically as before. The bomb parts clatter on the table as they roll apart into disparate pieces.

Tick. Tick.

The device hadn't yet been wired together.


Out on the street, the bomber's sole expression offered to Felix is that of bewilderment. Is he seriously trying to talk him into giving himself up? Still backing away from the speedster cop, he can't help but laugh incredulously.

"Bet?" he asks, like he's entertaining the thought.

Then in a flash, he's drawn a gun from behind him, and fires low on Felix's person.

There's a screech of tires as the horse crosses traffic behind him, an armored vehicle rocking to a halt. "«Jesus—»" crackles over the team's headset. Hart didn't hit it, at least.

The more things change…

Well, he gave it a good faith effort. He’ll be able to genuinely stand up and say that, when he’s giving his AAR.

Fel….isn’t where the would-be bomb-maker is firing. In fact, there’s a moment where he’s apparently not there at all, vanished like a magician’s trick, as if that shot had blasted him straight into nonexistence.

And then there’s a sudden gust of wind, the gun is wrenched from his hand, reversed, and the butt impacts the bomber’s temple. No more playing nice - lethal force has been ventured, lethal force is authorized in return. But Felix doesn’t want this fool dead, just subdued. So it’s lights-out for now, and he trusts a pistol-whipping better than he does a Banshee.

He pops back into real time, looking up to see the APC, eyes bright.

Over the comms, he says, with a contented sigh, “Just like old times.”

The clattering produces a flinch as Devon braces for an explosion he’d anticipated wouldn’t come. It still doesn’t, and it takes him a half dozen seconds to start breathing again. The wires fall from slackened fingers to collect in a mess on the floor near his feet. He presses his other hand to the top of his helmet.

“Bomb’s clear.”

His voice is a touch shaky when he speaks into the comms again, the announcement coming after another several seconds. Dev turns, eyes flicking to Colette then darting away. He slides his rifle further up on his shoulder as he starts past her, to return to the stairs and make his way to the street.

Bomb's clear? Elisabeth's eyes turn upward and she still hears the ticking. But Devon is standing right in front of the thing, she can hear the adrenalized beating of his heart, the creak of his armor as he puts the weapon on his shoulder. The rapid breathing. "Acknowledged. Hart, you got that?"

She leans a shoulder against the wall and drops her head for a long moment, fighting off the aftereffects of her own terror — she sent him into a room with a fucking bomb. She sent Colette in with him. And they could have not walked out. Yes. It's her job. Jesus fucking Christ, for a minute she's not entirely sure she can do this job again. And then she firms her jaw and lifts her head. "Good job, guys." Her voice is calm, as if her own heart is not beating an adrenaline-fueled high-speed pattern beneath her ribs.

Fake it til you make it.

The announcement that the bomb is clear causes a good amount of tension to drain from Marisa’s shoulders. She can survive just about anything, but her teammates may not have fared so well in the worst case scenario.

She makes a mental note to approach Liz later and offer her services as meat shield in just about any scenario they may come across — in her eyes, at least, it’s her job to take the dirty work that might kill others that don’t have her capabilities.

She watches the last of the residents funnel out, before turning back toward Liz. “Thank goodness,” she murmurs into the comms with a small sigh of relief.

Exhaling a sharp sigh, Colette pivots and slouches against the wall beside the door as Devon makes his way out of the apartment. She turns her eyes up to the ceiling, then wipes her forearm across her brow to clear away the sweat that accumulated there, to brush her bangs from where they’d come to stick to her skin. “Yeah, we’re clear,” Colette says into her comm, leaning away from the wall and shaking out any last bits of tension in her arms. “Good job, Clendaniel,” she says into the comms, with Devon having slipped out of the apartment before her.

“I’m going to stay on-site until I receive further instructions,” Colette continues, looking around the apartment with furrowed brows, “forensics is going to want to comb this thing over. I’ll make sure nobody disturbs the place. Did we catch the perp?” She asks, having missed some of the chatter in the breach of the apartment.

"«Uh, yeah. Yeah, got it, just— give me a second here.»" Hart comes across the comm, switching her headset off and visibly pulling a different radio up off the dash of the vehicle. From where she's at, she flashes Felix an emphatic thumbs-up from her seat, only looking after to the horse that's still cantering down the street. Someone would probably have to take care of that later.

Less than a minute later with Colette's question, Hart chimes in, "«Watching Ivanov cuff him now. Was a little hectic in there, it sounds like, but we got him. That's a win.»"

When the all-clear makes its way out to the street, at least as to the immediate threat, only the woman and her child are there to sigh with relief. The man and other woman have slipped off in the commotion.

In the distance, sirens wail, the sound of support still on the way to further secure and analyze the scene.

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