No Exit


vf_cardinal_icon.gif vf_dave_icon.gif vf_edward_icon.gif vf_elaine_icon.gif vf_elisabeth_icon.gif vf_elspeth_icon.gif vf_griffin_icon.gif vf_kain_icon.gif vf_ling_icon.gif vf_magnes_icon.gif vf_munin_icon.gif vf_peter_icon.gif vf_peyton_icon.gif vf_rickham2_icon.gif vf_ruiz_icon.gif vf_steve_icon.gif vf_ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title No Exit
Synopsis The Hub survivors threaten to riot after the failed raid on the Vanguard, but a series of bold plans and one unexpected arrival may turn the tide…
Date January 13, 2018

The Hub

Common Area

It is chaos in the Hub.

The central meeting hall is a riotous din of shouts, accusations, and rage. The former subway station is packed to capacity with every resident of the hub. Some have brought weapons, others just their words. All of them are blaming the small, bespectacled man standing on the picnic table in the middle of the room: Edward Ray.

You said we’d be safe!

The Vanguard will find us!

We’re all going to die!

Pandemonium reigns, and amid the chaos Elisabeth Harrison is merely an onlooker. Magnes has only just arrived, following the sound of shouting to find everyone gathered beneath the soft orange glow of the string lights. Trying as he might to calm the crowd down, no one can even hear Edward, let alone let him speak. He has his hands raised, trying to bring some semblance of calm, right up until someone throws a shoe at him that strikes him square in the head.

Edward nearly falls, but instead lands on one knee. Looking down, he sees the glittery, heeled shoe. Odessa’s. Blue eyes sweep up, but Edward cannot see who in the crowd threw it. The screaming continues, right up until someone fires a gun into the air once. The crowd parts like grease away from a soap bubble, revealing Kain Zarek with a pistol pointed at the ceiling. The blonde cajun looks over to the crowd.

Shut yet’ fuckin’ mouths!” Slowly, Kain lowers the raised gun and looks to Edward. “Ah’ think we all wanna hear what ol’ Blue Eyes has t’say fer himself.” From deeper in the crowd, the still steel-bodied and bullet-pocked Allen Rickham comes thumping over, giving Kain a disapproving look before coming to stand beside Edward.

Since leaving quarantine, Ruiz has been notably quiet, except for the occasional humming under his breath as he moves about, as if that sound might be the only thing keeping him going. Most everyone gathered from the lack of Lynette that he’d lost his wife— and he wasn’t even supposed to be in the quarantine. He hadn’t gone with them. He’d just ran around from the other exit to get in from the outer door.

He probably would have done the same if she’d been there, alive and well, just to spend it with her, to drop off the injections that some people might still need to keep from getting exiled. Only one had been, in his group. But so many had never come back. So many never would.

He recognizes the shoe that nearly hits Edward. One of Odessa’s. One of the many she traded away for food, for barter. She’d had so many when they first arrived. Then she only had a few. That was one of the ones she’d kept the longest. A sparkly red pair of small heels. He rubs the watch her wears on his wrist. Her watch. The gunfire causes him to flinch, but he hadn’t been making noise, so he doesn’t need to quiet. His shoulders slump a little, as he awaits— whatever will come now.

The audiokinetic who was team lead on the clusterfuck remains to one side, keeping a very low profile. Liz's blue eyes are red-rimmed, like many other peoples', but her expression has the outward calm that one expects of a soldier or leader. Her internal monologue at this point is silent — there is nothing she can say to make what's happened better. So she merely waits. When Magnes enters the room, her eyes flicker over him but whatever relief she feels is tempered by the guilt of losing so many and failing so spectacularly.

Ling Chao stands behind Kain Zarek, red stained knife held backwards in one hand and a pistol in the other. Not her favoured firearm, but she can't argue with what a situation demands. Unlike Kain, she is quiet - there to reinforce the idea that people need to get their shit together and let one Edward Ray talk. A look is offered to the Hub's ostensible leader, flat and momentarily disapproving.

It's the emergence of Alan Rickham that gets her to soften just the ever so slightest bit. Pistol lowered to her side but still kept well in hand, she surveys the crowd that is gathered around them with a flat expression, mood as indecipherable as ever.

Two notable absences in the crowd are that of Aislinn and Elspeth Graves. Word hasn't travelled to everyone yet of Aislinn's fate, exiled from the hub just a short bit ago - but for those in quarantine paying attention, it wasn't hard to guess. Her sister, last seen by most running through the halls of the hub, at first appears nowhere to be found

In reality, Elspeth sits just around a nearby wall, back pressed against it and cheeks still red. She listens, unwilling to join the pandemonium yet - having just arrived there from the airlock, she isn't sure she wants much of anything right now that anyone in the room can provide.

So she just listens for now.

Elaine is good at listening. While recent events have pulled her out of her shell, she’s easily shrunk back into it from more recent events. So she listens, quietly, as she’s good at doing, and watches. She wants to know fully what’s going on and that involves letting the people in charge speak. No, she’s not going to listen to the nagging voices that came before from other Hub residents. Those cries of ‘We’re all going to die’ ring in her ears but they’re violently ignored. She’s got her eyes on the prize—freedom, peace. She’s just waiting for someone to show her how they’re getting to that point.

Aislinn was the person in her team for whom Ygraine had felt most responsible, given the agrokinetic’s recent request for training. Such a sensation - a connection - was something the gravity-cheat had sought to avoid for most of the time since she’d been one of those who’d failed to stop the Virus’s release two years before. The hollow sense of loss dragging at her soul is all too familiar… but rather than letting herself hide today, she has posted herself a little distance along the wall from Elisabeth. There, she splits her attention between Edward’s inaudible attempts to explain, the blonde dimension-traveller, and the chaos of the throng.

When the gunfire erupts, she thumps hard into the wall behind her, flailing inwardly for the purchase of her ability and the escape routes it might open up. Then she drags in an unsteadily shuddering breath, fighting to calm her nerves sufficiently to pay close attention to whatever might follow.

Zarek,” Steve hisses tersely. She’s negated, but still wearing her sunglasses, which implies otherwise. The man receives a withering look that’s seen in the lines of her face and the tight corners of her mouth than it is her eyes. He’s seen it before and can imagine it well enough. “Put that thing down.” They’ve lost enough, and they don’t need an accident.

The First Lady makes her way toward the front, but doesn’t move to join her husband. That might be seen as standing with Edward, and right now? She’s not so sure that’s where she wants to be. Instead, she just folds her arms over her chest and waits to hear what their leadership has to say about this fiasco. She’ll step in if she must, but she doesn’t expect to need to. The floor is theirs, and they’ve held it well enough all this time before.

“Nah,” Kain barks back with a look to Steve. “We’re about ten minutes from Lord of the Flies time. So I'm figurin’ Piggy here better say somethin’ nice and reassurin’.” Kain looks up to Edward, brows furrowed.

“What’cha got, Chuckles?” Kain asks of Edward, and the blue-eyed organizer of the Hub stands momentarily speechless. He breathes in deeply, then exhales a slow and ragged breath.

“We have… maybe seventy-two hours before the Vanguard finds us.” Edward assents with a worried timber in his voice. “Based… based on my latest calculations, they'll sweep the area building by building looking for us. Whatever stayed Volken’s hand now is… we've outlived his hospitality.”

The noise that erupts from the room at that bleak assessment is cacophonous, a riotous din of panic and dread reverberating off of the walls. Kain stares at Edward in disbelief, half having expected him to have another plan. Nearby, Rickham gently lays a hand on Steve’s shoulder and creases his iron brows in worry.

Farther away, David Cardinal watches the proceedings with a haunted look in his eyes, as if the gravity of the situation had finally made itself apparent to him. Slowly, he starts making his way over toward Kain through the angry crowd.

Perched on the bench of the table, Peyton Whitney is wearing sunglasses — large, white-framed starlet-style glasses that overtake her small face and make her look a bit like a bug as she seems to stare down at the ground in front of her. It’s hard to tell, given the dark lenses hide her dark eyes. A pink child’s backpack sits in her lap, clashing with the already-clashing colors of her eclectic attire — green army jacket over a yellow dress with a teal sailboat print, her red Doc Martens.

When the gun is fired, she jumps, before tipping her head and lowering her glasses to give Kain a withering glance. Her eyes gleam red, bloodshot.

At the announcement Edward makes, she looks his way, and then back to Kain — it’s not a surprise that she’d look for a way out from Kain rather than Edward or even Allen. The glasses are dropped once again to cover her eyes, and she brings her hands up to her temples.

Behind Kain, Ling lets out a sigh. "Of course." It's a very matter of fact statement, eyes narrowing as she regards Edward. Eyes close momentarily, knife slipped back into the sheathe sewn into the inside of her book. "One way," she starts very pointedly, "or another." This is what she's been expecting for so long. The big one way or another, they're all going to die.

"This," she states flatly, "is why we should not have trusted that kid." Said just loud enough for those around her to hear. "Unless there is an ace up someone's sleeve." She takes a deep breath, still keeping her eyes on Edward. She scans the room, looking for anyone who may not be present, gaze lingering on Elisabeth and Magnes when it comes with them, before moving on to someone else.

When Elspeth hears Edward, her hands move over her mouth, and she scrambles up to her feet. Turning to look around the corner and into the gathered crowd, panic would be evident on her face if not for the strained rosy redness of her cheeks. She looks back at the door the way she came - back at the airlock - and then back into the room. Her heart races, wondering what, exactly, someone is going to say to try and make all of this okay.

Because really, can they?

Steve is perfectly still under the weight of her husband’s hand. It’s meant to be reassuring, and it might have been if this hadn’t been exactly what she expected to hear. It’s impacted her harder than she expected it would. One hand curls into a fist. She entertains a fantasy she’s played out in her head more than a few times and wonders if Edward’s calculated the probability of her punching him in the face on more than one occasion.

She isn’t going to. Not here and not now. In front of these people or in front of anybody.

“We did this,” she says softly enough so only Allen should hear her. “We let our ambition blind us and we did this to them.” The rest of the Hub who didn’t get a say in what they chose to do. It’s like in the course of 48 hours, Stephanie Rickham has crumbled and become an entirely different person. The person she’s really been under the iron facade she wore.

But one thing hasn’t changed. Steve is already formulating a plan. Her husband isn’t going to like it.

They all knew the risks. They'd convinced the people of the Hub that it was worth that risk. And although Elisabeth had gone into the plan with hopes… she also wasn't blind to the potential for failure. Now she pushes off the wall, moving toward Edward. She hadn't wanted to tip her hand, but there is no option in this case. Moving to the man's side, her back to the noisy room, her blue eyes seek out Edward's.

"If the Commonwealth Institute existed here in similar form to my home, there is a massive bunker beneath MIT," she says in a very low voice meant to remain hidden beneath the chaos. If things went even somewhat close to the same, this shouldn't be a revelation to the man … but her knowledge of it might be a shock. If he doesn't know of the Arcology — or of the Institute itself — because things are that different here, it's not something she wants the group to hear. More false hope. "If you know for sure that it's there, we can send out small groups once an hour over the night, have them take different routes, and get them up there before the Vanguard hits us here."

Talk about a Hail Mary. "If Broome is still up there and in charge and doing what he was doing in my world, I believe I can convince the sonuvabitch to help us do what we're trying to do," she tells Edward softly. "It's what they've been trying to do anyway."

Ygraine follows Elisabeth part of the way - moving along the wall to be closer to those offering themselves up as a focus for the crowd’s fearful anger, though without the intention of actually joining them. Still, when Liz closes the gap to address Edward rather than the crowd, her curiosity (enhanced by protective instincts) impels her to advance further. She only catches a few words - but those and the tone make it clear that a choice, perhaps even an opportunity, is being offered rather than blame apportioned.

Consequently, she tries to inhale some courage along with more conventional oxygen, and pushes forward to place herself next to Elisabeth. Back to the throng, she’s clearly focusing upon this crumbling world’s versions of the Great Oz and whirlwind-transported Dorothy.

Would that make Magnes this story’s Toto?

Trying to suppress both that thought and the ensuing curiosity as to which of the three famous companions on the Road she might be, she - for the first time since the world ended - barges into an important conversation.

“It sounds like Elisabeth is offering a new option,” she directs to the pair of them. “There’s also the one I brought back from the mission.” Talking up to a man on a table as she is, she’s sure there’ll be over-hearing (deliberate and otherwise) going on. “Whether we pursue one or both, we need to tell everyone that, and quickly. We can still make this work, but we need to start now if we’re to abort the conflict spiral. We’ve got to offer something other than fear to focus on.”

Magnes has been silent for a long while now. He changed his shirt since his whirlwind meeting with Munin, wearing his beloved green Surge t-shirt again.

After Elisabeth makes her proposal, he finally raises his hand, not looking happy about the situation at all. If anything, there's something very dead in his eyes, like someone who hasn't slept in days.

"Me and Eileen— Munin, won't be going with you." He sighs, and immediately looks to Elaine after that, but continues talking. "I can't leave Gillian with Kazimir, even if we didn't need her ability, I absolutely refuse to leave her with Kazimir. Me and Eileen are going to take her back. I watched myself die, I watched myself, from this world, kill himself in front of me, and I refuse to let any of you stay here a moment longer than you have to. No one is going to die, I am not going to let the Vanguard kill you, but I'm also not going to risk anymore of your lives."

He looks to Elisabeth now, and then raises a hand to hold his head, briefly stumbling forward, but he forces himself to stand. "This is not up for negotiation, I don't care if I have to get exiled, I'm getting Gillian back, and then we're getting the fuck out of here so I can figure out if I'm actually a goddamned clone or not."

Not sounding particularly pleased with anything, he walks over to Elaine, sits next to her, and wraps his arms around her waist. Looking to Edward, he says, "I don't give a damn about your statistical analysis of our plan, you don't even have enough data to give an accurate analysis of the plan. The fact of the matter is, if I don't go with her, there's no point in me being alive and watching everyone be miserable and die off. And if I take a bunch of you with me again, it'll turn into full scale combat and then more of you have to die."

"I refuse."

Looking to Elaine, he raises a hand to place it against her cheek, looking deeply apologetic. "I don't care what I have to do, I'll come back to you. I'll survive, I'll bring Gillian back. I trust Eileen, I know that she wants to make up for everything she's done, I know her. We can do this, me and her. Kazimir is a monster, and, leaving Gillian with him… just… no… what he's done to you all is unforgivable, what he did to me in this world, it's unforgivable.

“No, no.” Edward presses a hand to the side of his head and murmurs to Liz. “Cambridge is two hundred and twelve miles northeast of here. We have no vehicles with enough gasoline to make that trip, let alone any way to hide an exodus convoy across the ruins of coastal America. If we want to get killed we could just go outside and lie down.”” He’s quiet and tense and everyone is watching his sidebar with the audiokinetic.

“It would take…” Edward’s eyes dart to the side, “seventy one hours of non-stop walking to get there. I don’t think any of us…” his brows furrow with worry, “let alone our injured, are fit to make that exodus. It’s a wonderful thought, truly, but it’s just… it’s not a realistic possibility.” Kaylee’s severe injury may be clouding Edward’s judgment, but it is a long walk.

But as Magnes volunteers to return to the Vanguard with Munin, Edward’s brows pinch together for just a brief moment. He glances at Ruiz, then Elisabeth, then back again. “No,” sounds like a denial, at first. And the crowd continues to shout over one another, eliciting Rickham to stand up at his full height.

Shut up!” The metallic ex-President cries, and the din of accusatory conversation dies down again. He looks at Edward with a pointed stare. He’s got one more shot at getting this under control.

Edward flashes a twitch of a smile at Rickham, then looks to Magnes. “You— might not be entirely out of your mind,” sounds like as close to a compliment as there is. “If what you said is accurate and there was a Magnes Varlane within the Vanguard, it’s possible they don’t yet have confirmation of his death. Even if you fail to rescue Gillian Childs, you and Munin could buy us time…” Edward’s brows furrow, “by saying you already killed us all.” One brow slowly rises, and Edward looks over to Rickham, then back to Magnes.

“Even if you’re found out, it could forestall an attack by the Vanguard for… a day? Maybe two?” Edward squints, hands twitching and counting with a rhythmic touch of fingers. “Meanwhile, we can work with… John to see if he can augment Mateo enough to open the doorway we’d spoken of.” There’s a look in Edward’s eyes, flickering and erratic eye movements, pupils dilated.

“Yes… yes John could…” Edward’s brows furrow, “John could be of help.” He looks back to Magnes, squinting. “You were never really a resident of the Hub, but you’ve come to speak for them and act in their best interests. I can’t control you or…” he decides not to say something, “I can’t make you follow a course of action. But I implore you, try to buy us time. If you’re successful, all the better, but…”

David Cardinal reaches Kain, resting a hand on the cajun’s shoulder to pull him aside. The two disappear into the crowd, right before Kain levels a pointed look at Ling.

To those who know Peyton’s ability (and that she uses it, and is using it now), it’s clear she’s listening to the discussion surrounding her, rather than listening to someone else’s, by her reactions. Magnes’ words make her turn her head in his direction, though just a bit off, and while most of her expressions are covered by the big white sunglasses she wears, her mouth pulls down into a grimace.

“Yeah,” she murmurs in agreement with Ling. “And he’s better than all of us put together. That’s a suicide mission… they’ll find out he’s not their version soon enough. Buying time to give us time. What’s the word — kamikaze.” Her hushed voice cracks slightly, and surprisingly, a tear slides down her cheek.

When David gets close to Kain, Peyton turns, pushing her sunglasses up again, pupils still constricting as she brings her vision back to present. She frowns as he walks away, before dropping her sunglasses back down over her face. Unhappily, she wraps her arms around her knees.

Elisabeth simply offers Edward a nod of acknowledgement as to the viability of the possibility — it's the longest of long shots. John can help? Well… okay. As she turns back to the group, her eyes skim over the exit of David Cardinal and Kain. It's something to be perhaps looked in on later. Right now she's got Magnes once again jumping in with both feet.

The uproar keeps her from answering his proposal before Edward is already speaking. There are a great many thoughts in her mind that could be spoken… and in the end, do any of them matter? He's going to do what he's going to do. And in all honesty, … it might be the only chance they have. If he can buy time until Ruiz can open this portal and if we don't need him on hand for that…

She can see Edward's power at play in the way his eyes flicker while he calculates when she glances his way. And she pulls in a deep breath, turning to look at Magnes once more. "It's going to be tight timing for you to make the doorway, assuming we can even get word to you of success. You understand you may be signing on to stay behind?" She asks him quietly.

“This is also assuming we can make the portal work without Magnes,” Edward helpfully notes with a furrow of his brows. Perhaps implying some level of necessity on the gravitokinetic.

"If I have Gillian, and you get out before me, I'll find a way back." Magnes answers Elisabeth, head remaining on Elaine's shoulder. "This is not a suicide mission. If I find Gillian before they find out I'm not who I say I am, I'm getting right the hell out of there and not a damned person will be able to stop me from doing that, not even Kazimir. If I have to tear through the Vanguard with her and fly my way out, I'm coming back, period. If I have to rip open the universe and hope I can follow behind you if you leave before me, I'm coming."

"I'm not letting anything stop me anymore, I'm not being oppressed by a mad man, I'm not second guessing what I need to do." he states, very seriously.

"I'm going to tell Kazimir about François Allègre, I'll use him in my story. It will raise so many red flags that I might actually buy you more than a day or two. The proof will be this…" He lifts his head from Elaine's shoulder long enough to point to his face. "Hermod, my doppelganger from this universe, had a scar. I don't have the scar. I'll say that in the chaos of my fight with François, the scar ended up healed. Kazimir will take this under great consideration. There are flaws in the plan, I've taken those flaws into account."

He looks to Edward, as if waiting for something.

“Maybe you couldn’t make it to this bunker…” A whisper from the shadows near to where Elisabeth and Edward are, “…but Ling and I could..” …could make it

A quiet comment from Richard Cardinal, making his presence known - although in all the noise and the hub-ub, only to those closest.

One of the advantages of having a diminutive build and a quiet disposition is that it’s easy to go unnoticed. Unrecognized, too, unless people know what to look for, and by Munin’s estimation most of the focus in the room is on Edward. She stands near the back, one shoulder braced against the wall as she takes shelter inside her oversized leather jacket and smokes one of the last cigarettes in the beaten-up package she keeps sealed inside the garment’s interior pocket. The haze hangs around her like a shroud.

"Are you that stupid?"

And suddenly, when she had been lingering on the fringes of the room moments before, Elspeth Graves is making her way through the crowd and towards Magnes. "Are you that. Fucking. Stupid?!" It's rare that anyone ever hears Elspeth curse - that was more her sister's purview - but certainly no one could blame her for being a bit heated.

A baleful glare is aimed at Magnes. "What about her!" A motion is given to Elaine - Elspeth's friend - "What about any of us? You promised us freedom from this!" She squares her gaze with Magnes as she approaches where he addresses everyone, a finger pointed at him accusingly. "My sister is dying f'r you." Her words are choked out, her voice breaking slightly as one last tear slips down red cheeks. "And now y'd run off t' play Vanguard an' just hope we can get away without y'? Just leave y'r fiance an' all of us t' try some new crazy plan? What if you get infected?! What if they're expectin' this! W-What- What if-"

A frustrated sound escapes her lips, hand falling back to her side, fingers curling into balls. The pace of her breathing quickens, anger visibly rising on her face. "Y' know what'd Aislinn'd have t' say 'bout all that?" Her whole body trembles as she takes in a deep breath, shaking her head. "Fuck you. That's what."

Pistol still in hand, Ling watches as Kain takes his leave with David, a suspicious glance given over his way. Elspeth's outburst has her looking back at the group. "What do you make of this?" is an honest question offered to Peyton as she crosses her arms, trying her best to read the crowd above them. "I expect riots before he even gets to the front door." A deep breath, glancing down at the other woman. "This is it."

"You think I'm not thinking about Elaine?" Magnes asks, her words definitely stinging, but… "Or the baby? I don't want her stuck here, what other choice do we have? Me and Eileen are the only people here who have experience working so closely with Kazimir. I…"

He takes a deep breath, feeling dizzy, laying his head back on Elaine's shoulder. "I don't want to have to do this, but I'm doing it because it's a chance. There are risks, but if Hermod lasted so long out there, there's also a good chance that I have some resistance to the virus. I don't know, I know that this isn't perfect, I know that this seems horrible, but do you expect me to trust…" He bites his bottom lip, he doesn't finish it.

John Logan.

"I'm not doing it because I want to, I'm doing it because I have to." is all he says to finish all that.

Glad that Edward pointed out the obvious — that we have been going on the assumption that Magnes's power is required to even make the attempt — Elisabeth doesn't reiterate. All she says to Magnes is, "You're making assumptions that may be wholly invalid. It's entirely plausible that Hermod was given the cure." But when Magnes gets like this, there's no talking to him, so she basically just ignores it — he won't stay just because she says it's necessary. He'll only stay if Edward says so. If then. And Edward's already told him it might be a good idea. Shoving a hand through her hair, she sighs heavily.

A glance is slanted toward the whisper in the darkness that spoke, and the audiokinetic murmurs quietly, "We'll talk. Once we figure out what the fuck we're doing with all this." She looks over the crowd and finally, instead of simply letting Edward take the heat, she moves to climb to the level of the bench seat (not all the way up on the table). Her voice projects just fine — she's had a lot of practice carrying over riots even without her powers.

"STOP. All of you. You're pissed, you're scared, and you want to blame someone. Fine. In the end, regardless of how it was intended, it went to shit out there." Elisabeth looks around, keeping her tone level and calm. "We didn't undertake the attempt lightly — we told all of you there were risks. You knew the risks of us going… just like you knew the risks of us not going. The Vanguard was picking the scav teams off one or more at a time with a sniper. We don't have enough population in this Hub to continue sustaining ourselves here indefinitely. We certainly don't have the supplies to not send out scav teams. The options are limited — and all of them are shitty. Do you want to sit here in the dark and just wait for them to come for you?"

Blue eyes make a point of making eye contact with many in the room. "It's what you've been doing for years. You have a few more years you could have done it. But you all know the inevitability of that course of action. I realize that the chance we offered was slim. It's still slim. But I still think we have the chance that it'll work. Personally, I'd rather die fighting for all of you and all the kids here than die just sitting here and letting one of those babies watch every single person in this shelter die around them and be left the last person standing. So talk among yourselves. I'm going back to work to get you out of here." She steps back down off the bench and starts to make her way back to the wall.

Ygraine added a startled “Eep!” to the general flood of noise when the whisper emerged from thin air: right next to Liz when the shadow spoke, she looked as surprised as she sounded. But she managed to regain her composure after only a couple of suspicious glances towards the intangible source of the words, and listened in silence for a little while.

Then, as Liz stalked off, she tried to catch Edward’s eye. “If you’re running gravity-related experiments then use me,” she instructs him, voice pitched low rather than to deliver a speech to the masses. “At minimum, I’m an extra source of analytical data no one here can otherwise access. My ability’s not the same as his” - she jerks her head in Magnes’s direction - “so I should be able to offer another ‘view’ of whatever’s going on.”

Darting a look towards the shadows that spoke, she forces herself to aim a comment that way. “If you can do it fast enough, it might be worth a look. But it sounds like we’re going to be trying to get underway from here soon.”

Then the Briton pulls away, hurrying to try to catch up with Liz unless prevented from doing so.

“Mateo,” Edward motions to Ruiz, trying to take his attention away from the obvious. “Take Ygraine when this is over and see if she can replicate the stable portals. No holding back, no wasting time. Just see what results you can get.”

Edward steps down from the top of the table to the bench seat. “We’re all going to make it out of this if we can stick together! We knew there would be sacrifices! We’re accustomed to them! Good people die trying to make a difference every day. Friends, family, loved ones. But Elisabeth is right…”

Blue eyes square on the audiokinetic. “We’re living on borrowed time. Let's make the most of it while we— ”

Hey,” a voice calls out from one of the tunnels leading out of the gathering area. People start clearing the way, moving for someone who has only just now started to come through into the meeting. Voices murmur, commotion, and then…

Edward’s brows raise, lips part in surprise. “You're supposed to be— ”

“Somebody wanna catch me up?” The man standing at the edge of the crowd wears a loose olive-drab jacket over his shoulders and carries a duffelbag over one shoulder. Brown eyes survey the room, and both Magnes and Liz immediately recognize the man with the scar across his face.

Mr. Petrelli,” Rickham intones, “you may have the worst luck of any man alive.” In spite of that, Allen has a hesitant smile forming across his iron facade.

From his quiet little place on the edge of the crowd, Ruiz straightens when he’s addressed, nodding in a skeptical way even as he leans back down. He’ll do what the man says for the moment, because he has another world he needs to get to, to keep the last promise he ever made to Lynette.

But then Peter Petrelli shows up and — well. No one really expected to see him again. He’d been gone, but not even he could have possibly been gone that long and make it back just fine— Though Odessa had always seemed to have faith in the strange man. “Well— that could be useful,” he mutters quietly, before waiting to see what every one else has to say about—

Everything. Cause the man’s missed a lot.

Elspeth's angered gaze turns to Elisabeth next, and it looks like she might have some sort of response - but Ygraine steps up, Edward agrees to her as a substitute, and even as her hands still shake, she finds herself unable to reasonably argue with the situation. She may be angry, hurt, and so many other things - but she's not an idiot.

So she keeps the thoughts that swirl in her head next to herself.

That doesn't mean she looks happy though. Eyes on Magnes, and then Elaine, she crosses her arms and makes her way over to where Ruiz stands. She doesn't even give a second thought to Peter Petrelli. Honestly, it doesn't even really look like she cares about his arrival.

Ling, on the other hand, has her eyes closed as she thinks about what course of action she wants to take, and when she hears that voice and Rickham announces Peter's return, she opens them just she can roll her eyes. At pretty much everything. "Hooray," she remarks mockingly, in a low voice that probably only Peyton and anyone else immediately around her catches.

“Jesus,” Peyton murmurs to herself as the quarrels and arguing continue, but when Peter’s distinctive voice cuts through the noise and people murmur at the return of the prodigal, she looks up, pushing her sunglasses up onto her head — again, it’s just a little too quick and her pupils shrink visibly for anyone who’s watching her. Which is probably no one.

“Oh, shit, it’s the Boy Scout,” she says, but despite the teasing nickname for Petrelli that she’s stolen from Kain, Peyton actually looks happy to see the man, smiling for the first time since this meeting from hell began.

It might be the first time.

She glances at Ling, and shrugs as if perhaps that smile’s a betrayal. “He might have some ideas. If he’s survived this long out there.”

"I trust Peter." Magnes says, after everything, a bit surprised himself, but perhaps not as much as everyone else, as he hasn't been here that long. But still, there's hope in Peter's presence. "We haven't always seen eye to eye, we've had our differences, but Peter is someone who, when Kazimir took his body in my world, actually managed to help save the world. That is what Peter's character did to Kazimir."

There's a look from Peter amid all of his as he sets his duffel bag down on the ground. Looking over to Edward there's a nervous moment of silence, and Peter notices the tension, and then…

“Who… Who’re you?” Peter asks of Magnes, but the question is somewhat rhetorical because Peter isn't here alone. Behind him there are half a dozen bedraggled looking survivors carrying backpacks, rifles, and all-in-all looking desperate and frightened. Among them is a bearded and thin Griffin Mihangle.

“I found some folks, and…” He hoists his duffelbag up again. “A cache of adynomine in a laboratory in New Jersey. I uh… feel like I walked in on something though.”

Well… if that's not the understatement of the year, Elisabeth really isn't sure what is. The voice isn't what caught her attention — she's never met Peter Petrelli in person. The reaction of the Hub's residents, however, cues her to his identity quickly enough. And she pulls in a slow breath, scanning the group briefly. It's the second time Peyton's taken off her sunglasses, and although she can't see the other woman's pupils, she knows what her power is… and she has a little something in mind to ask her. Later, though.

As the myriad reactions take place, the blonde is thoughtfully studying Petrelli. Her mind is running about a million miles an hour just now, debating and discarding questions and actions as fast as they occur to her. She sends Edward a glance, debates the matter, and then speaks to Peter to answer the question. "A raid gone wrong debrief," she tells him in a level tone. "It seems as if you might have either the most impeccable timing ever or the worst timing in history, depending on how you'd like to look at it, Mister Petrelli."

Fucking finallyyyyyyyyy, is what Munin is thinking, although she does not give it voice. She takes another drag from her cigarette and considers Peter’s shape — or what she can glimpse of it in the spaces that flash between bodies jostling to get a better look.

She lifts her chin, angling her gaze over somebody’s shoulder and feels her mouth forming a from around the cigarette’s filter.

Peter Petrelli isn’t what she was expecting. Or what she remembers.

Lots of yelling, Elaine doesn’t like. But Magnes is at her side and somehow, for her, that makes everything easier. She leans against Magnes, not bothering to voice her fears—others have already done that for her. She steals a moment to catch Magnes’ gaze before offering him a smile and a soft, “I believe in you.” It’s a moment meant to encourage him in his choices in the midst of a lot of naysayers. They might be crazy, but at this point she’s willing to throw her weight behind any sort of plan. She’ll keep her fears to herself in silence.

Magnes would move his arm up to touch Elaine's face if his arm wasn't in horrible pain, but he's sure she understands the desire to make the gesture in spirit. "Peter. We came from another universe, side travel through a wormhole, and now we're planning to get everyone out of this world and into one where a horrible virus didn't kill everyone."

"Right now, that's going horribly wrong." he helpfully explains.

"In my world, me and you, we worked together a few times, we were in a few groups together. Like I said, we didn't always see eye to eye, ironically we got along most when Kazimir was in your body. But that's because of your character, you have a strong character, one that even an evil Nazi ghost can't completely destroy." he compliments, because that is a pretty high compliment.

He continues to address Peter, loud enough for everyone to hear. "I admired you for a long time, even back in the 9th Wonders comics. You always tried to do the right thing, and that encouraged me to always try to do the right thing. So… I know that with you here, we definitely can't fail, we can do this."

Then, as if to, well, help. "To prove what I'm saying, well, I guess I'll say that you screw up a whole lot, kind of like me, because you're always trying to do what's right. You have really bad luck with women, and you're secretly related to Claire Bennet, which I guess doesn't matter in this universe." he shrugs. "I'm not sure if you actually knew that or not. But anyway, here we are. Let's move on."

At the mention of Peter having bad luck with women, Ruiz actually laughs softly from his corner. The rest might have had him stunned into silence, hearing that Kazimir in another world had actually been inside that guy, but that part seems to have amused him.

For some reason.

With a glance over at Elspeth, his laughter sombers once again, and he reaches out a hand to touch her upper arm. Because they both lost someone in the last twenty-four hours. One definitely dead, the other…

Steve’s hand finds her husband’s during all the commotion. She shudders when he raises his voice, but it’s only a momentary surprise. From behind her dark sunglasses, she watches Edward’s reaction to Peter’s arrival, because she was watching him in the first place, and she’s not tall enough to see over the crowd to the back.

Her hand tightens around Allen’s, but she doesn’t say anything, just turns to look toward the others as they speak in turn. In truth, Steve Rickham doesn’t trust her own judgement anymore.

Having listened to the last few stages of unfolding chaos, Ygraine does at least have a few things to try to latch onto. Peter is the most tangible and reassuring of those, receiving a wave of greeting - the man one of the ever-diminishing handful of people she first met in the time before the Virus.

And also an ally of quite awe-inspiring power, of course. His presence is particularly reassuring, in the present situation.

Magnes’s deluge of announcements - from believing in Peter as a comic-book character to an inter-dimensional cross-bred baby and the casually-delivered claim that Kazimir might wind up ‘in Peter’ - are largely too startling and strange for her thoughts to grasp with any clarity, but the blithe declaration that Magnes himself ‘screws up a lot’ does prompt the arching of a brow and a worried glance to Elisabeth.

Then she scans the crowd again, searching for a glimpse of her new research-buddy Ruiz - and is pleased to see him apparently trying to comfort poor Elspeth - before double-checking for any sign of Logan, just in case someone is going to bring ‘her’ stray in to further add to the bedlam.

Dear God in heaven, Liz thinks as Magnes's typical diarrhea of the mouth hits. She pinches the bridge of her nose and closes her eyes, sighing heavily. There are days when she honestly wishes she could duct-tape that young man's mouth shut. As her hand falls and she looks up at Peter Petrelli, she wonders if that poor guy is even going to be able to comprehend anything that just got said. Tipping her head slightly, Elisabeth glances toward Edward. "I might have the beginnings of an idea. But maybe overwhelming a guy who has just barely stepped foot into the place isn't the best way to start," she murmurs to him.

There’s a good long moment where Peter stares vacantly at Magnes, looking back over his shoulder at the people he’d brought in to the hub, then back again slowly. “Well.” Is about all Peter can muster in so much as a plan is concerned, and when he looks to Edward for any kind of confirmation of this, Edward just closes his eyes and reluctantly nods. Peter, in a blush of disbelief, pinches the bridge of his nose with two fingers and exhales a slow and sigh while nodding.

“Maybe… we— should take this into a smaller group or…” Both of Peter’s hands come up as he dismisses his own thoughts. And mercifully, Rickham steps in to reign the meeting into some semblance of control. Ever the facilitator.

Arguments aside, we have three camps of people.” Rickham’s metallic voice hums as though from the depths of a deep metal drum. “One, those who don’t want to follow the plan anymore.” A look is leveled on Aislinn. “You’re free to stay here in the Hub, but stay out of our way. We won’t be taking your food, your supplies… you can survive down here as long as you can. But the rest of us…” Rickham looks around the room, making the motions of taking a deep breath even though he has no lungs.

Magnes and Munin will prepare to infiltrate the Vanguard and rescue Gillian Childs.” At that statement from Rickham, Peter’s eyes are wide and he’s looking squarely at Edward who raises one brow slowly and manages a sheepish who me smile. “The rest of us will do whatever we can to support FitzRoy and Logan working with Ruiz to find a way out of this nightmare.

“Magnes, Munin, and me.” Peter asserts, firmly. “If Gillian is alive and you’re going to rescue her? I’m going with you.” It’s clear that Peter doesn’t care how that shakes out, what role he plays in the infiltration, be it prisoner, pawn, or puppet. But the moment that Gillian’s name was spoken was the moment he realized what he was doing here.

Edward watches Peter for a moment, eyes flicking to the side. “You should see Kaylee before you go,” Edward offers over the noise of the crowd, and that draws Peter’s dark eyes back to Edward. It’s as though Peter is reminded of something, and then looks down and away and nods resolutely.

“Whether we agree to fight, hide, or run… we can’t do nothing.” Edward asserts from his place atop one of the bench seats. “We had a setback, but we still have something the Vanguard don’t. We have people who have defeated them before. We may not have saved Gillian in our first attempt, but we defeated the Vanguard on their own territory. That may not be the victory we wanted, and it may have cost us people we loved, but it’s still a victory.

Rickham looks back at Edward, nodding once, and then looks to the gathered crowd. “Help out, or go home. There’s no in-between anymore. We’re all one people, and we’re all getting off of this diseased rock one way or another.

The former president raises his chin and bellows a hollow, metallic voice that rings thorugh the cavernous subway station. “Dismissed!

Rickam had one thing right, they’d all be leaving this world.

One way or another.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License