No One Calls Him Ashley


ash_icon.gif claire_icon.gif knox_icon.gif kris_icon.gif

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Scene Title No One Calls Him Ashley
Synopsis When the Institute moves to recapture a Moab escapee, members of the elusive group Messiah emerge to lend a helping hand.
Date April 5, 2010

Southern Staten Island


That very solemn marking is spray painted on the roof of a one floor ranch half buried in a fifteen foot snow drift on the southern shore of Staten Island in a neighborhood that was once known as Princess Bay. Neighborhing buildings gutted by fire were packed closer together than this house was. When the riots and the fires swept through the south end of Staten Island, the fatalities were never officially totaled, so many people went missing or moved on that it was impossible to tell who died in the exodus and who died in the bomb out north on Midtown.

Some of the survivors stayed beyond, marking their homes on the roofs for emergency rescue that they prayed were coming would see, would find them, would rescue them. For most people living on Staten Island after the fallout cloud came, that simply wasn't the case. Whoever lived here in this quaint little ranch doesn't any longer, only the shredded sofa, broken bed and spray-painted walls are left ot tell the tale of a family that once resided here and chose to stay and weather the storm like so few others did.

Now, with an unnatural winter crushing the island under seven and a half feet of snow and drifts that reach the roofs of houses, most of these abandoned homes are uninhabited by necessity. For Ashley Williams, this place has become a temporary shelter against both the storm that has clung to the northeast and from those who may have been hunting him.

In the glow of a kerosene heater and a chemical lamp, the living room that the Moab escapee has settled into looks desolate. A pair of folding lawn chairs flank a pair of boards laid across overturned paint cans that serves as a makeshift table, where newspaper has been laid out and a handgun is in pieces, each individually set out to be cleaned.

Doors to the living room are closed, and with snow covering one whole side of the house the collected precipitation is actually serving as insulation for the blown out windows on that side, helping keep the heat in, like some sort of post-apocalyptic igloo.

Somewhere beyond cold and snow, beyond the frost-insulated walls and drifting snow something else is approaching other than dawn.

Predators of many stripes.

Ash picks up the individual pieces of his fire arm, running wire brush and oiled cloth over them, cleaning and meticulously oiling them, keeping the gun in perfect working order. His combat knife sits to the side with a whetstone and a piece of oiled leather waiting to be sharpened, and sitting in the duffel bag on the floor is the Company tranq gun he got from Adam all those months and months ago, empty of tranqs, but ready to receive more should he ever run into an agent with extras.

A half eaten can of pork and beans sits warming next to the lamp, well, warming somewhat, enough to be edible. The man leans his hands in towards the heater, warming numb fingertips so he doesn't slip up with the cleaning of his weapon. His head lifts, eyes looking about himself slowly, curiously, that itch in the back of his mind scratching at his senses. He shakes his head, ignoring it and goes back to his gun.

Outside in the bitter cold, the snow has mercifully ceased today. But the sub-zero temperatures and freezing winds still drive most living things away from the open areas like the windswept and snow-laden yard surrounding the occupied residence that Ash has set himself up in. But through the snow, footprints and movement tell a different story. Heavy white jackets trimmed with fur cover plastic suits made from the same bleached color, though the heavy helmets and black visors above dual-channel respirators mask the identities of the men converging on the residence.

Treading heavily in the snow, the mesh footing of snowshoes leave off trails behind them, like some inhuman combination of duck and man. Only when they near the snow-swept side of the house does the team of eight men come to a halt, one man raising a closed fist that halts the rest of the crew. They crouch, unclasping from the snowshoes and stepping into the drifts, sinking knee deep as they move, assault rifles slung out from over their shoulders, splitting into two man teams as they circle the house.

The trail that Ash's borrowed snowmobile made coming up to the residence has long since faded, but the blue tarp he'd thrown over it only partially covers the vehicle now, and one member of the split teams notices it, then spots one of the uncovered windows, waving two gloved fingers towards it.

Four teams circle the home, the shadow that passes by one window is cue enough in a neighborhood as desolate as this to the resident inside that someone has come knocking. No one comes out this far at this hour of night without wanting something; blood or money, typically. Neither of which Ash is particular willing to part with.

Ash continues with his gun, finishing the cleaning before he begins to slot the pieces together. The .45 begins to take shape once more until he clicks the last piece back into place. He picks up the clip, shifting the bullets within to make sure none of them have stuck to each other before he slides the cartridge home into the gun. The gun is set down, and he picks up the whetstone and the knife, until that is he sees the shadow. He nods hsi head lightly, and picks up his ski mask, white as the snow outside. His coat is then done up as well, not thick and woolly, giving him plenty of room to move. He is wearing a pair of bleached jeans as well. He's no fool, and knew he might need camo out here.

The knife is picked up, and the gun as well. The safety is clicked off, and the man slips through the house slowly, towards one of the blocked off windows. He pushes into the snow of the window, that huge drift piled up against the house is going to serve as his cover if he can get it to, let him ambush whoever is sneaking about his place once they get into the living room. He doesn't know there's teams of guys though. Some of the snow will have to be dug out for him to slip out and into the dune itself, but shouldn't be too much before he can fit himself into the snow and blend in, knife in his left hand, hidden in the snow, gun in his right hand, read.

The explosion at the north side of the house isn't what Ash expects, the detonation of a shaped charge on a wall blows out a six foot section near the living room, sending the paint cans and makeshift table flying from the concussive blast. Boots thunder into the living room while Ash's ears ring, but in his hiding space, pressed between the blown out window and the snow, he can see the silhouettes of men in white winter parkas and biohazard suits moving in to the house. The hiss-click of their respirators makes them seem almost like clockwork soldiers, muzzles of silenced MP5 assault rifles sweeping back and forth through the house as the two men check the living room.

«Clear.» one of them chimes with a snap and a click of an internal radio inside of the helmet. «Bravo, Delta, Charlie you're clear to go.» They sent a whole team after him this time.

A door on the opposite side of the house blasts open from another shaped charge going, and Ash can hear another pair of bootfalls coming in to the far end of the residence. «Clear in the kitchen.» One of the intruders squawks over the radios, and splintered wood mixed with broken glass crunches under dark boots as the suited men move into the narrow hallway between kitchen and living room, the lead man passing right by where Ash is camouflaged in the window, while the other approaches close on his heels.

Ash pulls in a slow breath, his eyes closing before he lifts his gun to his lips, kissing the barrel of the .45 before his eyes open. He is silent and still as he waits for the perfect moment, a problem Ash has never had, waiting. His body doesn't even shift a muscle as he sits and waits, no tension in his limbs that might make them stiff. His lips curve behind his ski mask, his eyes darting towards the man in the living room, and in the nearby hallway, then down to the kerosene tank that he was using before that smile turns into a toothy grin.

He waits until the men are just in front of him before he moves. His body itself doesn't move at first, just the arm with the knife. Most people would need to get thier body weight behind such a stab, but Ash… doesn't. His arm lashes out, brutal strength in the blows as the blade parts the suit of the man, and drives into the side of his head. Just as quick it's jerked free, a spray of blood decorating his surroundings, and the other man gets the point of the knife driven through his eye. The knife is jammed int he man's eye socket, and Ash doesn't even bother trying to jerk it free. He lets the man's body tumble away from him, knife still embedded in his skull.

Ash's hand with the gun lifts, a single shot ringing out to spark into the kerosene tank and cause it to explode. Not fiery explosion type deal, but a pressure explosion that sends shrapnel ripping through the living room. Ash himself is on the move, diving through the window, and immediately moving toward sthe men on the ground. Three gun shots ring out, three bullets speeding through the air towards their intended targets. Ash though doesn't bother waiting to see if they hit, he's already on his way for the hallway and the men crowded in there, a hand reaching out to snatch up one of the fallen men's guns if he can, if not he'll go with just his .45.

Shattered black glass faceplates and blood decorate the floor behind ash where the fallen members of whatever group this is have fallen. A knife handle rises bloodily up through the broken faceplate of one of the men's helmets, and Ash's tremendous strength and the puncturing force of a fixed-blade knife serving to end his life simply and efficiently. The ringing in his ears from the shaped charges is just now coming to an end as shell casings rattle at his feet.

Crouching down to pick up one of the silenced MP5s, Ash can feel the weight of the rounds inside is significantly different from what it should be with a gun of this size. Either they're firing blanks or there's something other than bullets in the firearm. While that momentary consideration is underway, there'a a crunch of the snow outside the exploded wall, and a clink bonk clank of a metal canister coming in to the building.

A pressurized hiss comes next as a yellowish gas erupts from the canister as it spins wildly across the floor like a top. Ash has seen and experienced tear gas before, been in a cloud of colored smoke designed to serve as an identification to aerial units. But this is neither; this gas doesn't sting his eyes, doesn't rankle his nostrils or tickle the back of his throat. The particulates in this gas seem to permeate through the woolen fibers of his ski mask, cling to his eyelids where they're exposed and the edges of his lips, leaving an odd tingling sensation.

The rapid-fire snapping of automatic gunfire fills the air in the smoke, and impacting against Ash's jacket he can feel the punch of rubber bullets hitting the ballistic vest he wears beneath the winter coat. Whoever these people are they wanted to take him alive, but apparently they don't know who they're dealing with.

Blood trickles from Ash's right nostril, staining his ski mask.

Then again, maybe they do.

Negation is a horrifying thing for Ash, horrifying in the way way the Moab Federal Penitentiary was. It's like being affected by crippling muscle diseases, the same sensation of tingling pain and screaming joints that someone with a crippling disease like Polio might feel. Ash's muscles tighten, construct and scream with pain as his joints inflame and heart races in his chest. Blood pressure spikes, respiration turns wheezing, and one by one Ash's paragon physical capability begins to start shutting down like the failing organs of a sepsis victim.

Ash sees the canister hit the floor, and he immediately moves for it, his foot impacting on it and sending it sailing back out of the hole it came in through. Of course, too much of it has spilled into the room already, but Ash doesn't know that… yet. He moves, not breathing now, holding in what little oxygen his mouth and lungs have in them, to stave off the effects of whatever was in that canister. His hand lifts, the .45 cracking 5 more times before it clicks dry. When it does the gun is dropped. He doesn't try to tuck it into his pants or anything, just drops it, guns can be replaced, his life can't…w ell, it can but he'd rather not experience death or near death.

The gun with the heavy bullets is lifted upwards, and a burst of the rubber rounds are let loose, though he doesn't' realize what they are until he himself is struck in the chest by a few. Not enough to penetrate or kill him, them being rubber, but they're enough to force the wind out of his chest, air expelling hard, and his body, on auto, sucks back in a deep breath of air, pulling in the gas, the stuff lighting down his lungs and slicing through his body. He grunts, hard, but moves down the hallway towards the men he'd shot with his .45, intent on finishing as many of them off as possible.

But that, is when the effects of that gas start to kick in, and his eyes widen as he feels his power draining, pain lancing through his body. A cry of fury, rage, fear, and hatred rips from the man's throat as he trips, dropping down hard to his knees, his body now ungainly, strange, alien to him. He's only human now, but that is strange after all the time since Moab. His teeth grit, and he tries to push himself back to his feet, eyes filled with murder and fury as he tries to move towards the men in the hallway, the intent to kill them plain in his eyes.

The other thing in Ash's eyes is glitter as well.

A crackle-snap of pinkish-red sparkles erupts between Ash and the masked retrieval team that had come for him, leaving a skinny young man in a black leather jacket with spiked hair forming from those crackling fireworks of light. "Go, go, go!" The young man shouts as two more people form from the popping crackle of pinkish sparks around his body, one of them a tall and wiry man with dark skin in a matching black leather jacket, bright red scarf wound around the lower part of his face. The other is an equally darkly dressed young woman of short stature, dark brown hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, and a Mossberg room sweeper automatic shotgun racked and loaded in her arms.

The tall, dark man in the red scarf dives aside as gunshots ring out, and Benjamin Washington is a familiar face to Ash, a former inmate at the Moab Federal Penitentiary, better known as Knox. The wiry punk with the glittery teleportation was there too, though his was a far less obvious profile among the Moab prisoners.

"Ya'll scared yet!?" Knox shouts as he charges one of the masked retrieval squad operatives, swinging a ferocious punch that slams against the man's mask, shattering it on impact and sending a spray of rubber bullets against the far wall. Knox pulls back a bloody fist from the caved in faceplate, and two more retrieval squad members come in through the open hole in the wall to joint he one left standing. Three on four seems like fair odds.

"Fuck!" Kris shouts, snapping his fingers and creaking another flare of luminous sparkles as he vanishes from beside Claire away from the hail of rubber bullets and appears next to Ash. "Hey man, you don't look so good." The punk notes with a crack of a smile, "Claire1 They've got a gas canister!" Kris shouts, pointing to the canister Ash kicked outside. "Take 'em out for fuck's sake!"

The dark haired woman glances down at Ash, though there is no real emotions there. A glance goes to Kris, if Claire had her memories, she'd remember the pink sparkles, luckily she doesn't. Her black leather trench coat, curls around her black jean clad legs as she lifts the shot gun, blue eyes focus on the foes. Her chest is wrapped in black body armor. Eyes narrow at the mention of canisters. Any chance these people had of walking out alive goes right out the door with that announcement.

She's been a victim of those canisters, so Claire knows all about them. "Say bye bye." She murmurs, before starting to shoot. The shot gun goes off in rapid succession. Five rounds go off, each aimed at the chest of each victim, before she's empty, only then does she turn to she move for cover. She doesn't really need it, but she needs time to push new shells into the chambers.

Ash's sight is burring a bit, the pain from the rubber bullets impacting on his body sending jolts through his weakened form. Normally he has the stamina to keep going through pain like this, but right now, it's utterly debilitating. The pink sparkles… pink? Really? get Ash's attention, his eyes flickering upwards as people come out of no where. The punkish kid's face is indeed recognized, but vaguely, in the back of his mind. Knox though, Knox he most certainly recognizes, and his eyes widen at the sight of the man. Ash forces himself to his feet, only to smash sideways into the wall when he finds himself off balance, not to mention in a hell of a lot of pain.

Eyes turn as he hears the crack of Knox executing one oft he team members, as… what else can you call a punch like that? No different form what Ash did to the two in the living room, or rather, the five in the living room and a couple of the bodies here in the hallway. He grunts hard at the statement tossed his way. "Yeah, you could fucking say that…" he growls, though not out of anger for the rescuers, more out of frustration at being robbed of his powers like this.

He sees the emotion on Claire's face, though he's not sure what it means, but he likes the idea of every one of these bastards dying. The man stumbles a bit more before falling to his knees once again, his eyes starting to go a bit blank. "Who the fuck are you people?" Yep, he asks the classic question, moments ago he thought himself dead, or worse, a captive again, and now people pop out of thin air to off the people trying to capture him, that doesn't happen for no reason.

"We're backup!" Kris shouts over the ringing in his ears, that high-pitched scream of noise created by the rapid fire explosion of Claire's automatic shotgun tearing through the only lightly armored Institute extraction team members. Knox has taken a step back in watching Claire blast the men down to the ground, dark eyes scanning the building, spotting Ash's handiwork in the hall.

"That's all eight, we're clear." Turning around and looking Ash up and down, Knox makes heavy footfalls over to the former prison-mate, nose rankling at the stink of the gas still in the air. "Your shit should start coming back in a few minutes, lucky we got to you when we did. Been lookin' for you for a while, if those shit-heads hadn't caught your trail, we'd 've been chasin' ours for a long time."

Kris crackle-snaps over to one of the windows in a shower of vermilion sparkling motes of light, peering out to the darkened snow field outside. "Nobody around, but there's gonna be backup here for a while. Rebel's scrambling their transmissions but that's only going to buy us so long before they send some real muscle out here. We've gotta' go like pronto."

Once everyone is down, the shotgun is lowered to her side as she steps out of hiding. "Then I think we need to get him out of here." Her words are somewhat bland, a hand offers to Ash, to help him get up, giving him a tight lipped smile, though it never reaches her eyes. "Name's Claire." If he's heard any of the news, well, then he might know who she is.

If the hand is taken, he'll find this isn't some weak female, there will be some strength behind the grip, though nothing compared to Knox. "Come on. Let's get you somewhere safe." Her head pivots to look at Knox. "You all got a place for him right? He can't stay with me, my father would shit bricks." Not that she's really pointed out where she's staying to any of them.

Ash pushes himself up to his feet through sheer force of will, waving away Claire's hand, but offering her a thankful smile, though a tight lipped one. He inhales deeply of the air, knowing that the faster he inhales, the quicker the gas will get out of his system, or at least, that's what he hopes. He nods to Kris, slowly, before reaching up to tug his hood free of his head. "Don't know how the fuck they found me to begin with. Not like I went around town posting fucking fliers." He staggers into the living room, leaning down to retrieve his .45, then walking over to one of the corpses, his hand gripping the hilt of his knife, and he gives a hard tug, grunting when his knife fails to come free. He scowls, and tugs again, hard, throwing his body weight back this time, and is rewarded with a freed knife, though he stumbles and nearly falls.

"I remember you, both of you… though you especially." This is spoken towards Knox as he moves to the remnants of his things, picking up the duffel bag, tossing the gun, the knife, and anything else salvageable into it before it's put over his shoulder. "What the fuck did they hit me with? Felt like…." he growls low in his throat and shakes his head slowly. "No clue who you people are really, but it's got to be better than being a prisoner again."

With that the man steps in towards the three, eyeing the girl with the shotgun. "Who the hell are you supposed to be? Look like one of the Super hero chicks form the comic books, always dressed in black and shit." He chuckles a bit, letting her know that he's just bantering some before eyes flicker to the others. "Rebel? Can't say I know that name… been out of the city for a few months, just got back a couple weeks ago." Which would explain why Claire's name didn't' seem to register for him. He waits, leaning back against the wall, for them to come to a decision of where they're going.

"We're Messiah," Knox notes with a nod of his head, "and those pieces of shit are from a place called the Institute. What they hit you with's some kinda' negation gas. Fast acting and short lived, but it cuts us off from our powers pretty damned fast. You gonna' be alright, bro?" Knox slaps a hand on Ash's shoulder as Kris starts circling back to where they are, skirting the bodies and pointedly avoiding looking at them.

"Yeah, we gotta split up for now. I can take Ashley out somewhere safe," wait what did Kris just say? "Probably up towards the Rookery, government doesn't go out that far. I got an empty apartment above Tuckers I can stash him in." Kris flicks dark eyes over to Ash, offering out a hand with a crooked smile. "Name's Kris, and I'll be your taxi today," the punk notes with a crack of a smile, "nice to meet you Ashley."

Hand curls shut and drops to her side, a smile playing on her lips as he asks her who she is. "I've been called a lot of things. Combat Barbie… Energizer bunny. But.. you can either call me Claire or Bennett." The shot gun is swung up to rest against her shoulder. "And boy… you have a lot to be caught up on. Rebel is the one that sent me to get your files from the guys that tried to capture you."

Unlike the other two, Claire moves over to one of the bodies, giving it a kick with her boot, before she crouches down to rifle through his stuff, lessons learned in a far away place, take whats useful. Otherwise, it goes back into enemy hands or a waste.

Ash takes the slap on his back with renewing strength, not his powers returning, just his body recovering form the loss of them, adjusting to the lack of strength, speed, stamina. He looks to Knox and nods his head, slowly. "Yeah… just reminds me way, way too much …." he doesn't say it though, as he has no clue if the people around Knox know about Moab or not. Oh, but then Kris uses that name… and Ash's head pulls up, eyes narrowing at him. "Alright Firecracker Kid… what the fuck makes you think you get to call me Ashley?"

He works his lower jaw around a bit, teeth grinding some as he straightens up and work his back loose, shrugging off the last of his pain and disorientation. He doesn't take the hand, though he looks like he might just stab it, until that is he just gives a heavy sigh and shakes his head. "Don't… call me Ashley… Ash… please.." He glances towards Claire when she speaks again, and his eyes narrow. "Bennett… I've heard that name before…." His eyes flicker about, as if he's trying to drag the name up, but seems to be unsuccessful as he in the end shakes his head some. "Institute? No fucking clue who they are. People are always trying to get me it seems. Help off a couple of fucking Company founders and everyone wants a piece of your ass." He smirks and then rolls his shoulders. He looks over to the dead men he killed, then walks over to them, bending down to inspect one of the guys he shot.

"Not wearing much gear for coming after me. Guess they thought their gas would do their job for them…" He smirks, glancing towards the two he nailed with the knife by the window. "Got time to grab up these guns? Can always get regular bullets for them." he himself, begins to gather gear off of the dead bodies as well, noting Claire doing the same earns her a smirk as he begins to shove things into his duffel bag.

"W— Woah, sorry Hoss." Kris blurts out with a wave of his hands in the air, slowly taking a step back from Ash and grinning. "Alright dude, Ash it is." The comment about taking out Company founders is lost on Kris, but it elicits a look from Knox to Claire, but since he doesn't say anything it seems to be cue enough for Claire to hold her tongue too.

"Claire and I'll grab the guns, consider it payment." Knox offers with a nod to the men, "We're gonna borrow that sled out there of yours to get outta' dodge before another sweeper team comes through. When Kris gets you hunkered down, I'd say stay away from the south side of the island, lots of government types out here, they don't go up near the Rookery though, nice and quiet up there." Rubbing at his chin, Knox looks down at the bodies, then shakes his head.

"Just lay low for a couple days, or whatever it is you do. My boss found your name on an extraction order, we got one more guy to find once Rebel figures out where he is." Reaching into his coat pocket, Knox pulls out a cheap mobile phone and tosses it to Ash now that he seems more mobile and capable. "This phone's jacked up shit, Rebel's keeping an eye on it so ain't nobody gonna get in and listen to your conversations. Use it however you like, ain't gonna be able to track you none. You need to find me, you just send a text to Rebel and then say Knox into the phone and it'll connect to me. Far as Rebel goes, he'll probably hit you up if he feels like talking."

There's a look over to Claire, and Knox crouches down, picking up one of the silenced MP5s and grabs a canister of the negation gas. "Awesome." Hooking the canister on his belt, Knox looks over at Kris and gives the young punk a nod. "Hey Ash outta' here 'fore those Institute bastards show back up. Ash," Knox's dark eyes settle on the former inmate. "Stay strong, brother. I'll be back in touch soon to explain what the fuck's goin' down."

A glance goes to the canister, her nose wrinkling a bit in disgust. "Just keep that away from me and we'll be golden, Knox. I've had my fill of those." Blue eyes flicking up at him, giving him a lopsided smile, before she straightens to stand, a glance goes down to the body, there is just nothing there when she looks at it. That makes a small frown lower her brows.

"Nice to meet you, Ash." Claire finally offers, looking at him, her ponytail, swinging lightly behind her. "I'm sure we'll be seeing more of each other in the future." Her head gives a short nods to him.

Ash smirks lightly at Kris' reaction to his irritation at being called Ashley. "You've never seen Evil Dead have you?" He asks with a smirk on his lips and a cock up eyebrow. He looks to Knox and nods his head a bit to the man's statement. He straightens up from his looting then, letting them have at it, and turns his eyes on the group.

"Thanks for the save." He offers out loud to the air and the threesome. His eyes turn completely to Knox though as the man addresses him. He takes the phone, slipping it into a pocket, and listens rather intently to the instructions he's given. "Yeah, knowing what the fuck is going on would be nice, but not as essential as not being captured again." He shudders at the sight of that canister that Knox picks up, but the shudder is followed by a rather vicious smile at the thought of using it on someone else. He glances over to Claire and nods his head a bit. "Yeah… sure…" Is his return to the nice to meet yah thing. "And somehow I have a feeling you're right on that."

"Alright, jabber-time's over, get the last of that ammo. I'll be outside starting up the snowmobile." Knox looks over to Ash, nodding his head once, then pulls the red fabric of his scarf up over his mouth and storms out of the building through the hole in the wall the Institute team had made, boots crunching in the snow. As Knox leaves, Kris takes a side-step over towards Ash, considering him with an askance look before cocking his head to the side.

"Oh hey one ah…" the punk grimaces as he lays a hand on Ash's shoulder, "there's one little wrinkle to me using my power on other people, see?" Kris' lips creep up into a nervous smile, "it— get's a little warm. So— " there's a cough as Kris clears ihs throat and glances over to Claire, then back to Ash. "It's kind've like a sunburn."


In a flash of vermillion fireworks, Christian Bender and Ashley Williams disappear from the scene of the carnage.

One down, one to go; Now to find the German.

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