Preemptive Strike


ash_icon.gif claire_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif harrison_icon.gif knox_icon.gif kris_icon.gif lacombe_icon.gif melissa3_icon.gif peter_icon.gif perry_icon.gif rickham2_icon.gif riggs_icon.gif rupe_icon.gif west_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

huruma_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Preemptive Strike
Synopsis Messiah moves on a cell of Humanis First, and a killer in the night makes a move on one of Messiah.
Date July 29, 2010

Howland Hook Facility

Pale white wings flutter thorugh the air, swiftly flapping diaphonous membranes that leave a nearly invisible trail of powder in their wake. The ascent of a moth towards a flickering lightbulb is poetic, its fragile wings keeping it aloft even as it moves towards such a dangerous source of heat. Only proper guidance can keep the moth from burning itself, and sometimes that guidance needs to be forceful.

Larson Riggs has learned, long ago, just how subtle that kind of force can be. Standing around the large, square table that most every other member of Messiah is present at, his focus isn't down on the street maps of the Rookery or the blueprints of the Curtis High School, but on the moth ascending towards the dangling lightbulb illuminating the table. Lifting up one calloused hand, Rigs points a single finger towards the moth, and it diverts its course from the lightbulb and comes fluttering down to perch on his fingernail. Riggs manages a faint, distracted smile as he brings the moth close to his chest, brows furrowed and dark eyes squared on the insect.

Rupert Carmichael is the last person to arrive for the meeting, close to an hour after sunset, shrugging off his dinner jacket and loosening a bowtie from the collar of his white dress shirt. "Sorry about the lateness," he apologetically offers with a lop-sided smile, "charity dinners, you know." Most of them don't.

Coming over to the table, Rupert moves in to fill the space beside where Peter is standing, laying out a cellphone at the middle of the table and turning on speakerphone. "Alright, Rebel, can you hear me?"

We can. is delivered by a trinity of voices echoing from the device, We will offer consult as requested or necessary.

Casting an askance look to Rupert, Peter Petrelli offers a slow nod of his head, then looks around the table to those gathered. "I'mg lad as many of you could come as you did. I know some of you haven't heard the full explanation of what's happening tonight, and that's what this meeting is for. Over the last two weeks, Messiah has discovered a cell of Humanis First operating out of the Rookery, just two miles away from our own base of operations here at Howland Hook."

Pointing down to the map, Peter motions to the northeastern shore of Staten Island. "They're operating out of the ruins of Curtis High School, and thanks to the efforts of Melissa, Lacombe, Riggs, Knox and Ling we've been able to determine their numbers and the identity of their leader. I had Rebel do a background check up on the name we were given…"

This, in turn, is the prompt for Rebel to do what he does best, dispense information.

Wallace Cartwright. Ex-Navy Seal, served tours of duty in Lybia, Operation Desert Storm and the Bosnian Civil War. Retired in 2004. Disappeared off-grid in 2007 following the Petrelli speech revealing the Evolved. Exhaling a deep sigh, Peter furrows his brows and looks down to the cell phone, then around the table as Rebel continues. Suspected connections through Humanis First to the NYPD, unknown identities of contacts.

Looking up from the phone, Peter furrows his brows. "That's where this operation becoems difficult. Our task is not only going to be the elimination of the Humanis First cell in the Rookery, but the capture of Wallace Cartwright alive for questioning. If this were just violence, it would be different. I have a photograph of Cartwright I'm going to pass around to all of you," Peter notes, flipping open a Manilla folder and sliding out several copies of a photograph run off of a computer printer, handing them to the right in a stack so others can pass them around, "Remember his face."

Cartwright looks the part of a retired Seal; weathered, wrinkled countenance, salt and pepper gray hair and cold gray eyes. He seems typical of the expectations for a retired military veteran. "This isn't going to be an easy assignment for us."

The first thing Melissa did upon arriving was to sit down with a mild grimace, slouched in the chair with her hand over her stomach. She listens to Rebel and Peter, and glances towards picture, before she speaks up. "The cell that is operating out of the high school is somewhere between forty and fifty men. Worse, they've been stockpiling weapons, so we have to consider the possibility that anyone in that building will be armed. They're preparing for an evolved uprising, people, and with Cartwright being former Seals, he'll know how to prepare."

There's a soft sigh. "More, they're planning on slaughtering us on November eighth, and it sounded like it was all this Cartwright's plan. So if you guys manage to kidnap him, the plans may all fall apart. I'd love for them to fall apart."

As he takes the picture, Harrison looks down at it. His eyes study the man's face intently before he looks up from the photo. He sets it down in front of him allowing a soft sigh to escape his lips. He cracks his neck and looks at the various other present before turning his eyes back on Peter.

Ash is lurking towards the back of the groups, doing his ninja thing. Or well, modern ninja thing. He's got his black armored body glove on, though his mask and goggles dangle from his belt. Claire has seen this outfit in different colors from when they raided the vaccine truck, and Peter from just recently, but most of the rest probably haven't. A belt with pouches of various sizes sits around his waist, with a sheathed combat knife on his right hip. His back has a set of tactical webbing that's tied off around his body, forming a harness of sorts. Tied into the webbing is a pair of khukri's across his back, and a pair of .45's, matte black so they don't reflect light. There are spare clips for the .45's in pouches on his belt.

Ash doesn't look up from cleaning his weapons, an oiled rag sliding along the metal of one khukri, leaving it gleaming as Peter and Rebel both start to explain the mission at hand. "He won't talk." He comments softly to the group at hand. "If we want information we go for his second in command. He won't be as hard and grizzled. He, or she, will be fanatical, but young, not realizing just what they're up against. They'll talk, and they'll also know most of Wallace's contacts and information, not all, but most." That khurki is slid into it's sheath with a soft rasp of steel against leather, and then other one is pulled out after it and he begins to oil that one down as well.

The picture is taken as it's passed around, fingers grip it lightly in one hand as she looks down at the face with mild disgust. Claire Bennet's dressed in all black, even down to the trench coat that drifts around her calves. Under it is a pair of AK-47 pistols that she's been itching to break in. A hand gun at her back and a knife tucked in there somewhere.

Brunette hair is pulled up in a scalp tight pony tail, with the black eye liner it helps make her look less a teenager and more a dangerous woman. Looking back across the table to her uncle, Claire hands to photo off to the next person. Her reasons for going along are much more personal. Giving a little pay back to the people that just about killed her friend Elisabeth Harrison. There will be some satisfaction in making sure they don't get up again.

"Don't need him to talk," is Peter's response to Ash, "I'm not doing the forcible interrogation angle again, too much room for risk and too unreliable. We get Wallace and I'm going to borrow a telepath's power and suck every last bit of information out of his head. I won't risk us missing the opportunity to get as much information on Humanis First's activities as I can, and what Wallace knows — what could be the difference between what he and his lieutenants know — it's too important."

Peter's assessment elicits a nod from Rupert, "While we may have had luck with physical and psychological intimidation in the past, we may not be so lucky next time. Telepathic information retreival will be the most streamlined, and Peter says he knows a telepath that he can borrow the ability of for this particular assignment."

"The School itself isn't very big," Peter notes with a motion of his hand to the map, "from what Riggs found out with insect infiltration is that the majority of the cell is held up in the gymnasium. They've converted the locker rooms into barracks and there's an ammunition store in the basement below the gym. We want to try and preserve as much of their firepower as we can for ourselves."

At the words forcible interrogation Melissa looks away and hunches down further in her seat. Someone is suffering from major guilt. Then there's mention of a telepath, and she mutters, "I'll just bet he does." She draws in a deep breath and looks back to the others, falling silent.

The only one without a gun, Harrison takes a deep breath looking over at Ash, "I am glad we got that training in. Just wish I got some more in." He runs a hand through his hair and sighs softly looking over at Melissa cocking an eyebrow curiously.

Ash frowns a little bit at Peter's statement, but nods his head very lightly, and on that note, reaches into his duffle bag and pulls out a Company issue tranquilizer. "I have one dart left in this thing." he holds it up so Peter can see it. "Not sure if you guys have any of these or not. But, as I said. One dart left." he walks over, and offers it out to Peter handle first. He tehn walks back to his bag and continues to root around in it, coming out with randoms bits and pieces, a couple of flash bangs tucked into one of the belt pouches, and other odds and ends that he has a habit of aquiring when he can. He snorts abotu the same time Melissa mutters her comment, knowing full well who's ability Peter will be borrowing.

Ash's head turns, and his eyes settle on Harrison. "I'm not glad. You shouldn't have to be in this situation. You shouldn't have needed that training, nor any more. But thanks to fucks like the ones we're about to go after, you do." He shakes his head and looks back down into his bag, pulling out silencers which he slips into a belt pouch as well.

Reaching out to take the dart gun from Ash, Peter looks down at it assessingly, nodding his head slowly.

"None of us should have to do this," Peter agrees in a hushed, solemn tone of voice. "We're going to go about this attack in a single team, but each of us is going to have specific objectives. Harrison, you're going to need to draw fire once the attack on the school begins. We'll start with a quiet approach, set off some flashbangs and," motioning to a map of the gymnasium, Peter runs his fingers along two entrances, "Harrison you come in from one side of the gym, first, then Lacombe and Knox, you two will come in from the south entrance. The idea is to distract the brunt of their defenses while the rest of us move in."

Peter's dark eyes lift up to Ash again. "Ash, I'd like for you, Claire and Rickham to take the armory in the basement. You'll have to cross through the firefight in the gymnasium and reach the stairwell in the hall here," there's a motion to the stairs on the map, "to get down. It was a boiler room, so there's going to be a lot of hard cover down there. I trust the three of you to be able to work well in a closed environment."

Having been silent much of the time, Allen Rickham's tall and stoic figure stares silently at the map, his hematite eyes alight from the paperwork to Peter, then his scarf, shrouded face tips into a silent nod of recognition.

"Perry," Peter's dark eyes drift over to the young man, "I've got you and West taking an aerial approach to the building. He's going to fly you onto the roof of the gymnasium where you can set up some plastique charges. When we're all clear of the building, I want you to bring the whole damned thing down."

Glancing past the group at the table, to a lone figure sitting with one leg crossed over the other in an armchair nearby, Peter is silent on considering Huruma's stoic form. When he looks back to the others, there's a subtle nod of his head. "Huruma is going to be running crowd control, breaking up defenses with induced panic and fear and keeping anyone from fleeing the school."

"And hey, I'm not a doctor or paramedic or anything, but afterwards, if anyone needs any basic patching up, you're welcome to show up at my place," Melissa offers, determined to be of some use to this operation, even if she can't participate fully.

Perry got here early, expression set and determined, air of intractable application to the task at hand. That the task has been, for the most part, just waiting hasn't dimmed his appearance of resolution one jot. He's just as stony faced when Rupert arrives and the meeting begins as when he came in. Maybe the cautionary tale is right. Maybe he held the face so long, he's just stuck that way.

This thesis is neatly disproved when the photograph of Cartwright makes its way to his hand. He spends a moment just considering the man, before his brow furrows and he takes a further moment to hate him. To condemn him. Just enough to make sure Perry does not flinch.

Whatever measures are necessary seem fine in Perry's book. He doesn't register any shock or alarm as the details unfold. And when he's addressed, he listens with quiet receptivity. He nods. "Are there any contingencies I should be aware of?" he asks, lacking his usual hesitant stammer, "How will we be equipped, will there be radio communication?"

Ash listens to it all, his features setting into a mask as he does so. He finishes with his gear checks, everything go do and solid, and makes sure his webbing is holding up and the things he's got strapped into it are secure. Only once that is done does the man pick up the mask he wears, the whole face but for a slit at the eyes covered. He pulls the black piece of cloth on over his head, though the goggles remain at his belt for the time being. His thick arms cross over his chest, eyes moving from person to person before resting on Peter. "So, we're killing them? Or stealing their weapons and their leader and bugging out?" He asks in a level tone, eyes cold and hard, but there's an obvious note of disapproval at the mention of the second possibility.

The young regenerator doesn't really have much to say on all of it, just listening in on the directions, hands tucked into the pockets of her trench coat. Blue eyes just watch the motions of Peter's hands as he lays down what her and the team she's with will be doing. Her head lifts a little so she can look to Ash. "Killing them." Claire says that without blinking, determination in her voice.

Her gaze moves to Peter, the ex-cheerleader's head tilts ever so slightly with a look challenging him to say otherwise. The tiny terrorist is determined to exterminate the next of rats. Somehow, Peter can be certain she's killing some either way.

"All of the above," Rupert corrects with a hesitant smile. "The idea is to take out all of their membership, deprive them of their armaments, and destroy the building in the event that any members who are not present at the site may return to find nothing but rubble. The demolition of the building is purely a psychological stroke against them. Wallace is— and should be— our primary concern."

Offering a look to Rupert, Knox finally offers a nod in all of his silence during this meeting. "A'right, that doesn't seem so bad. We all keep an eye out for ol' Wally, snatch his ass up when we find him and keep him from takin' the coward's way out. Rob 'em blind and make a crater where their asses were. Sounds straight enough to me, how soon do we punch out?"

Grimacing, Peter lifts up a hand to brush his bangs back from his face. "Soon, I just want to see if anyone has any considerations for the plan, adjustments they'd like to see made? Suggestions? We have one ace in the hole on this assignment, and…" there's a look towards one of the missing panes of glass in the skylight where a crow is perched, yellow feet curled around the black metal framework, "and he's keeping an eye on the building for us."

Peter's look towards the crow has Melissa looking up as well, and frowning. "And who's got the bird control?" she asks curiously before she looks around at the others. "I've got one suggestion. Have whoever's playing birdy pinpoint Wallace's location before you guys go in. It'd suck majorly to have everyone rush in, and Wallace get caught in the crossfire and die. It'll be easier for you guys if you go in knowing where he is, and how he's dressed. Make it easier to spot him in the crowd."

"Not to sound negative," Perry says, "But what are our contingencies? Should Wallace not be there, should our intel have holes in it," intel, that's an official operation-type word! "If it looks as if there are too many to handle, if things go south… I feel as if we should have an alternative or exit strategy." He nods to Melissa, "I agree on pinpointing. One man can slip out, get lost very easily."

Bespectacled eyes slide over to Claire. He looks curious. Her laconic declaration was… forceful. "If we can keep all the exits locked down, the explosives can do a lot of the killing work for us. As well as managing burial." It's unclear if this last is a practical consideration, or an instance of gallows humor. Perry's affect gives no indication either way.

Ash nods his head to Claire's statement, apparently thinkign the exact same thing. And orders aside, anyone that knows him wouldn't expect him to leave the little racist band alive. He pulls in a slow breath, then lets it out, his head tilting when he recieves the confirmation that they'll be doing both. He would be doing booth anyway, but knowing he won't be going against orders is a slight relief.

His head turns to the side, a cold and very heartless sort of smile spreading across his features. "Between Knox, Claire and I? There won't be much left for anyone else. I suppose we can let Mister President have a few as well." he winks over at the Iron man, an actual bit of warmth to his expression, the man having taken a liking to Rickham in the time he's known him. Eyes pull back around to the group around him. "That's not the point there Perry. But you don't seem like the killer kind, so you wouldn't understand."

The young man's eyes look sad as he nods slowly, "Burnt of the force. Sounds like fun." He takes a deep breath and just sighs as he looks over at Claire. He cocks his head to side and then listens to Ash's words. He frowns and says, "I will do what I must if I have to Ash. If someone goes to hurt any of you. I will snap their neck." When Harrison is in his metal form it is quite possible for him to do so if he gets the grasp. Yet with that baby face it is just quite hard to beleive he could.

Perry's assessment of the explosions has Claire looking his way, amusement touching her lips taking away a little bit of that tough girl look. "We'll try to leave a couple for you." A hint of a chuckle in her tone, before she glances at Rickham. "No guarantee's tho." It's added, with a flick of a glance to Perry again.

Slightly hooded eyes, turn to Ash. "Ah… lay off him Ash." There is mild tease in her voice, when she addresses him, a small smile proof of it. "He'll learn." Head turning a little more to look at Harrison. "They all will. Have to to survive this this gig."

"Sylar's already on it," Peter admits in a hushed tone of voice, "the intel gathering. He'll have Wallace's position for us when we get there. Or a close approximation, at the very least." Nervous about applying Sylar's abilities to this assignment, Peter bristles just knowing that the man he'd treated as an enemy for so long is now what passes for an ally.

"I've got our exit strategy covered," West admits as he sits up off of the sofa at the far side of the room, adjusting the collar of his salmon-pink button down shirt, sleeves rolled up due to the humid night air. "We have air superiority with my being there, and aside from ferrying Perry my main job is to keep an eye out for anyone who needs an extraction. Kris is going to be meeting us there as well, but not engaging in the direct fight. If anyone gets injured, he'll be there to pull you out with his teleportation. He'll be keeping one of Sylar's birds with him at all times, and it will let him know what's going on in the battlefield."

Scrubbing a hand at his chin, Peter looks up and around the table, then over to Perry. "Huruma's job will be to ensure that our exit is covered, if we need to make it. If Wallace isn't there tonight, we still go through with the plan. We kill everyone there, take their armaments, then blow the whole site. We can track him down later with Risa."

"Post-assignment," Rupert notes with a raise of one hand, "We have three locations set up for extraction points. The Slice of Heaven Meat Processing Plant on the southeast coast of the Rookery," there's a motion to its location on the Staten Island map, "St.Joseph's Church," Rupert's finger taps down on another location inside the Rookery, "and the Staten Island Boat Graveyard," receives the last tap.

"If you get split up, these will be the fallback points so as to not lead anyone directly back to Howland Hook, in the event we're followed. If we have injured, Sasha, Peter, Ling and Melissa will be able to administer basic medical care. Anything more serious, we'll let terrain dictate, like the Romans."

"Where do you want me at then? In case I'm needed afterwards?" Melissa asks, pulling out a pack of cigarettes, though it's just turned end over end, almost in a nervous gesture, though she seems more annoyed than nervous.

Perry gives Ash a level look. "I'm not interested in seeming anything at all. I am interesting in being," is his reply. One that satisfies him, at least, whatever he means by it. Claire gets a small smile, one that could be restrained, but could just as easily be tentative.. "I'm happy to… uh? manage funeral arrangements, if you'll deliver the bodies." A touch of the stammer returning, as he abandons his pretense of stony determination.

Harrison receives a small frown. Those sad eyes in that feckless face? Perry isn't number one when it comes to comfort, but he means what he says to Harrison: "You should take pleasure in what you can do," he assures him, "What you do is what you are. Doing precedes being." Belief encouraging belief.

But he's sure to listen as his question is answered. He needs to know the angles, though his is likely one of the simplest jobs. KABOOM.

Ash glances to Claire, offering the shotgun barbie a wry smile before he pulls his goggles off of his belt and lifts them up, pulling them down around his head. He begins to stretch out, dropping down to the floor onto his rear end, reaching for his toes and all of that silly stuff, but it limbers him up, and makes it easier to move and get around. Perry's comment though earns a snort. "Then be what you're going to be." He comments simply as lowers his chest almost to the floor in just shy of a full splits, legs splayed out to either side, some loud cracks travel up his spine before he rolls into a backwards somersault and hops up to his feet.

"A very true statement." He offers Perry, a smirk on his lips even if the rest of the group can't see it at this point. With that, he finds a patch of wall to lean against and becomes a statue for now.

Harrison 's shoulders lift up slightly as he looks over at Perry and smiles softly giving him a nod before looking back at Peter, "I have not had enough practice shooting a gun yet. So I am not bring one. Last thing I need is to shoot one of you. Do we get an ear piece so we can stay in communication or will Rebel keep us linked through our cellphones?"

"I just need you available," Peter explains to Melissa, "we might not need you, but your house is a central location to those fallback points for a reason. Just stay by your phone, Rebel will call you if we need you for medical help, and he'll instruct you where to go." Which seems to imply that Melissa isn't going on the attack itself, but given the sound thrashing she took by the Institute freeing Sasha from their captivity, she's earned the rest.

Steepling his fingers in front of himself and grimacing awkwardly, Rupert looks up to the crow perched in the skylight, then looks back down to the table. "Rebel will keep us linked by our phones in the event of it being necessary. Be aware of bird activity as well, Sylar may try and use them to communicate warnings or messages. But relay on Rebel and our phones primarially. You may want to invest in some headphones for them, any ah…" Rupert makes a pinching motion with two fingers, "I forget the size, the small little mp3 player plugs? Those can go in the bottom of the phone, works just like a good headset for listening, at least."

Exhaling a sharp sigh and resting his knuckles down on the map, Peter leans forward and furrows his brows. "Unless anyone else has any questions," there's a look around the many faces gathered, "go grab yourself a vest from the armory downstairs if you don't have one already and meet me out front in fifteen."

A brow is arched, her head tilted, then Melissa nods to Peter. "Sure. I'll keep my first aid kit handy. And the headache meds," she says, implying that she's going to be ready to use her ability, despite the headaches it'll probably cause.

Harrison stands and takes off his jacket. Harrison is wearing a wife beater under his jacket. "You know I cant wear one of those when I am shifted. I am weighed down enough. I am ok…." He cracks his own neck and begins to do a few stretches as he walks towards the door pulling out a small set of iPod headphones and plugs them into his phone and says, "Check…Rebel can you just let me know you hear me and I hear you please." As he walks out towards the front.

"Peter," Rupert urges as he watches the younger man starting to move from the table, a hand coming out to rest on his shoulder. There's a moment where the two share some sort of unspoken words, and all Rupert can offer is a hesitant smiel and a nod of his head, "be careful out there, okay?" Dark brows knit together, and Peter regards Rupert with a puzzled expression at the sudden earnest concern, then just nods twice in slow succession.

"Careful as ever," isn't as reassuring as Peter intends it to be.

One Hour Later…

The Rookery

Ruins of Curtis High School

Sitting on the northeastern coast of the dangerous, neon-lit neighborhood known as the Rookery, in the shadow of the Pancratium arena's collapsed remains, Curtis High School is a hilltop building of red brick and black shingled roof. The blueprints didn't do the old-world design of the structure any justice, for it more resembles a modern day church than it does a school.

Most of the building is in abandoned states of disrepair. Roofs are collapsed down in, brickwork is crumbling and the entire hill is overgrown with thickets and weeds. A cracked pavement driveway winds up the hill to the boarded up front of the school, while facing the coast a newer brick building that has the same aesthetics of a warehouse views the ocean.

Messiah's approach to the school is under the cover of night, with clouds having rolled in to blind the moon and only the ambient glow of distant city buildings to light the way. Foot travel is how Messiah approached this assignment, a two mile hike in teams out from Howland Hook, through the winding streets of the Rookery and to this derelict school.

Crouched down in the tall grass, Peter lifts up his phone to his mouth, utilizing Rebel's networked communication like a walkie talkie. "I see Sylar's raven," Peter admits in a hushed tone of voice, attention focused on a bird perched atop the highest point of one of the collapsed buildings, "Means Wallace is inside. West, what's your status?"

Hundreds of feet above the Rookery, West Rosen carries an unusual burden in his arms. Carefully holding his arms under those of Pericles Jones, West soars in a Peter-Pan like speed thorugh the night sky with the black, blocky outlines of the gymnasium coming into view. "Coming in for a smooth landing," West admits as he drifts down at a slowing pace from the sky, lowering himself, Perry and Perry's ruck-sack full of explosives down onto the slightly barrel-shaped aluminum roof. Carefully letting Perry's boots down first, West extricates his grip around him before flying in a half-circle around him, pressing his fingers to a bluetooth headset that connects ot his cell phone. "We're good."

Across the hill on the back side of the gymnasium, Harrison, Allen Rickham, Ashley Williams and Claire Bennet are crouched in the same high grass, observing the boarded up windows of the gym in silence. "We're ready on our end, Peter," Rickham confirms in an echoing voice, "we'll wait for the other teams to be in place."

Opposite from where Ash, Claire and Rickham are perched on the hill, two other men sit comfortable in the tall grass. Benjamin Washington — Knox — quietly peers at the boarded up windows with his binoculars, squinting at the spaces between the boards where light shines through. "I ain't seein' shit, where's eyebrows anyway?" And by eyebrows he obviously means Sylar.

"Oui, I would hate for him to be… late," isn't said into one of the phones, but the grinning countenance of the cryokinetic Frenchman Lacombe serves as foil to Knox's stoic demeanor. Rubbing his hands together, the black-clad Frenchman rubs flakes of ice from his fingertips, a cold vapor exhaled through his nose as he watches that building.

"Alright," Peter notes in a hushed tone of voice from his position by himself, "Harrison, when you see a bright flash and an explosion inside of the gymnasium, I want you to go straight through the doors in metal form. Perry, there should be some skylights on the roof, there's a pair of flash-bangs in your duffelbag, get 'em down inside the building. Harrison, that'll be your signal. Ash, Claire, Rickham— you roll in after. Knox and Lacombe, you go after their team. Does everyone understand?"

Perry's eyes are still watering from his flight, and as soon as West has set him down and Perry mumbles his thanks, he removes his glasses to rub the gathered moisture clear.

Perry's headset relies on stone age 'wired' technology, but it's serviceable, if crude. He tugs the dangling mouthpiece in front of his lips, tapping it to test that it's working (sort of hit or miss), and everyone hears the tiny contusions. Whoops. Uh… it was someone else!

The duffle is zipped open and Perry kneels next to it, fishing around to find the first set of explosives he'll need - the flashbangs.

"I have the flash-bangs ready," Perry informs the rest of the team. "Stand by." The young radical gets to his feet, a grenade in either hand, moving over to the streaked skylights. He looks down for just a moment, appreciating the vantage, the darkness below he is about to end, a searing illumination. Divine. He likes this thought. One grenade is tucked under one arm, freed hand going to the pin, pulling. He looks to West, nods at the window. A gun's report and the sound of shattered glass is all the warning Humanis First will get. Perry tosses the first grenade in, quickly followed by the second.

Let there be light. If only for an instant.

Ash crouches down with the rest of the group, though from the look of him he's itching to head in, twitching and fidgeting, checking and rechecking, and rechecking his gear, hands in constant motion over himself as he fights off the urge to just slink down to the building and tear into the individuals inside. His head twitches a bit, eyes scanning around the school, watching the dark silhouette of West land Perry on the roof, then fly off. He pulls in another slow breath and just settles himself down, forcing himself to remain somewhat calm.

Then there's a gun shot, and Ash looks up, and quick as that he's moving, dashing out from under cover, knowing there's only so long to take advantage of the disorientation before they start throwing a defense together. He pats a pouch, feeling the two flashbangs there to be sure they're still there, as they'll help alot in the initial charge. He's dashing for the nearest set of doors on the building, hands up and behind his back, fists curled around the handles of his khukri's, ready to draw, but leaving them sheathed for the moment so as not to betray his position with the gleam of metal.

As he says into his phone, "Yep…bump rush the doors and yell, "SURPRISE!" Harrison crouches down in a track runner's position getting ready to take off at full speed at the sight of the flashes. *BANG BANG* The flashes of light pierce the night as the chaos begins and Harrison is off running before the final flash has explode! As he leaps through the double doors. His body begins to shift through the air. When he puts himself in danger it allows himself to shift easier and as he lands in the gym you hear him yell, "Did someone order a pizza?" His silver frame glittering against the moonlight as he walks into the gym. He adds a Brooklyn accent, "I got a Mushroom and Onion for ya." He looks around doing his best to get his barings and see what is inside the gym.

Crouched with one knee to the ground, one of the AK-47 pistols cradled in the crook of an arm, other hand wrapped around the grip, Claire Bennet waits. Earphones are tucked into her ears with the cord dropping to disappear into the neck of her trench coat to where her cellphone is tucked into a pocket. Her hand comes off the grip of the pistol so she can check the straps of her vest making sure it's Velcro'd tight.

A glance goes back to her teammates as she listens to Peter's instructions, it's hard to read her by just her expression alone. Mainly, she's focusing on the fight ahead of them.

Perry's voice in her ear has her looking up out of instinct really, to watch the roof, even if she is at a distance. Attention is only pulled away when Ash takes off, the small woman isn't too far behind him. Her back hits the brick wall on the other side of the door from Ash, giving him a quick upwrd flicker of a smirk as she waits for Harrison to do thing.

When he's through the door, the regenerator follows, sliding around the edge of the doorframe with her trench coat fluttering around her legs, ready to open fire on the first Humanis First person in her sights.

The raven perched as it is has already taken flight by the time the chaos begins, a piece of black as if sliced from the sky, beating its strong wings to begin a wide wheeling around the perimeter of the buildings. Its black beady eyes are keen enough, and the will that drives it enough to swallow the meagre instincts of an avian creature.

Peter will only realise he's no longer alone when the tall grass rustles a little behind him, and out his periphery, Gabriel Gray's darkly clad shape comes to crouch just nearby, regarding the building with a flick of a brown-eyed glance up towards the circling raven. The red scarf at his arm is more or less brown in its dirtiness, but present, wrapped around his sleeve with a frayed end dangling from its knot. "I remember when it was like you to rush into things," he notes. "But I guess leadership is a much more supervisory role, nowadays.

"Am I late?"

It is an absolute chaotic mess inside of the gymnasium, screaming and confusion hangs heavy in the air. The gym floor has been converted into a makeshift garage where two Jeep Wranglers sit up on blocks, hoods open and engines half taken apart. Heavy plates of steel lean up against some of them, along with disengaged spot welders and rivet guns. One of the Jeeps is half finished, looking like some sort of partially armored monstrosity designed for urban combat and plated against small arms fire.

Some fifteen people in makeshift collections of surplus fatigues, camo, cargo pants and other "utilitarian" clothing seem to have been preparing to close up shop when the firefight broke out.

Blinded by the flashbangs and stunned, the emergence of Harrison's shining metallic form through the door has those who are only now coming out of the doorways to the locker rooms turned barracks screaming, "It's them! It's them! I knew this was gonna' happen!"

Half of the men are blinded, unable to see what's going on and the rest have their attention focused on Harrison's shining figure in the glow of spot lamps arranged on the gym floor. The first actual automatic gunfire comes from a pair of men coming rushing out of the locker rooms, assault-rifle fire popping noisily along with the metallic plink-ping-clang of bullets whizzing off of Harrison's nigh invulnerable metallic body.

When men start to come through the door to what would — were this a normal school — be the girl's locker rooms, they abruptly drop their guns and scream a horrible, howling cry of panic as hands clutch their heads and a shockwave of fear washes over them from Huruma outside.

This moment of panic among those four men come before the brick wall nearby to them explodes inward to the gym sending Knox in his leather jacket and blood red scarf running head-long into the building. A single wound-up punch implodes the head of one of the screaming men, sending him falling down with a wet slap to the floor.

Behind Knox, a wave of cold mist fills the opening in the wall, and soft, lyrical French singing fills the gap before Lacombe emerges from within, his arms sheathed in frost from the elbows down. He does not take so much as one aggressive move, but begins freezing the humidity in the air, turning one of the terrified men beside him to a solid ice sculpture before gingerly leaning against him and shoving him over to shatter like delicate crimson-filled glass on the floor.

Up on the roof, West hovers over the skylight, his red scarf draped over his shoulders, standing out agains thte pink of his shirt. Turning to look at Perry, the flier offers a slow nod of his head. "Set up the bombs, I'll keep watch." Then, lifting up his cell phone to his mouth, West calls across all of the other phones. "No sign of Wallace on the ground floor, he must have gone down to the armory. Watch out, there's still a lot more guys in that building we can't see yet."

Turning down the volume on his phone, Peter Petrelli's observation of the gym comes with a slow, exhaled sigh and a turn of brown eyes up towards Gabriel's emergent form. "I was starting to wonder if you were going to show up in person…" Peter notes with a softly surprised tone, "Haven't seen much of you, even at the Dispensary," which is to say he was there.

"I'm glad you did come, though," is an honest enough admission, even if hard to imagine, "We couldn't have done this as well without your."

Perry keeps his eyes averted for the right moment - he doesn't feel the need to lose his vision as well. Even standing over his enemies, dropping light and thunder, he understands his limitations. He does, however, take a peek as the fun and games begin. The chatter of gunfire and the chaos unleashed by the ground team can be seen only through a glass darkly, and a small patch where said glass has been shattered, but there is something evocative, expressionistic even, about watching the goings on at this divide.

Only he has a job to do, of which fact West reminds him. Perry shakes himself free of his revery and turns back to the duffle bag, shouldering it and hustling to the nearest structurally integral point. Explosives and acupuncture - all about proper placement.

Ash calls into his own headset. "Shield your eyes!" And a moment later another flashbang flies through the open door that Harrison just went through. Harrison? Immune to gunfire. Claire? Immune to gunfire. Rickham? Immune to gunfire. Ash? Not so much. The flashbang is tossed, and Ash waits a few moments for it to go off before he spins through teh doorway behind Harrison, the man's head swinging left and right to assess the situation in the gym.

When gunfire starts up Ash smirks, and dashes through the room. He leaves the men Huruma has messed with alone. They're out of the fight for the moment, and supplying Knox with an incredible amount of strength. His hands pull, and the khukri's slide loose of thier sheaths. As he pulls the weapons he rolls forwards between two of teh Humanis First bastards, and slices hard at the backs of their knees, potentially taking their legs off at the knees, at the very least severing the arteries in the backs of their legs. As if that wasn't enough though, he rolls up to his feet and swings around, the blades of both weapons passing through the neck of each victim before he spins back around, seekign fresh victims as the two he's just butchered bleed, alot, everywhere, repainting that section of the floor with their life's essence.

As he says, "Boys…really? I mean your tickling me." His silver eyes fall on the jeep closest to him. When the screams from the girl's locker entrance catches his attention Harrison moves quickly to the jeep on the make shift stand. He bends his knees and says, "Allie opp!" He grunts loudly and a ping comes from his backside that sounds like one of the bullets hitting him. He is thankful for that as he hides his metallic fart from his backside when lifting the jeep up. The jeep flips over and begins to slide a few feet towards the locker room. It's metallic frame crunching under the impact of the flip.

The metal man begins to push the jeep towards the girl's locker doorway in an attempt to block it. He looks around the jeep and says to the screaming men under Huruma's influence.

"Coming through."

Body jerking a little from the kick of her weapon, Claire sides steps away from Harrison as she sends semi-automatic bursts at the scattered Humanis men. Her path is for the door to the Armory. Of course, she is out in the open, which means she's a target. It is only a few moments before she suddenly stumbles forward as a couple of rounds hit her solidly in the back. Doesn't penetrate the body armor, so she's able to keep going.

Stopping long enough for Rickham, Claire puts a few more bullets into the other side, but then she will be making serious headway for the door that will lead down to the armory. Keep up boys!

There's a twitch of an eyebrow raise at Peter's report of Gabriel's Dispensary attendance, but no hesitation when he replies, with a shrug, "You wouldn't." That's the only allusion he allows for his cut ties from the Remnant, attention switching back towards the buildings, where flashbangs light up windows and echoing gunfire rumbles. His head tilts up as if he can pick up the scent of Huruma-induced fear from here, but from this range, probably all it does is get him a little antsy.

Out of sight of either of them, there's something happening. Some other arrival. It's barely detectable by sight, only an indefinite ripple through the air — not even human shape, but some invisible cone of force pushing at a glide up the hill towards the abandoned school. But it's heard easy enough, especially as it gets closer, as it gets faster — a high-pitched whine underlining the amplification of nearby sounds, from the grass that rustles beneath it through to the echoes of the battle up ahead.

"I don't get to scout all that often," Gabriel meanwhile notes, although the distant noise has him searching out the space absently with a casual, flicking gaze.

"I put twice as many people on this than I should have, but I can't risk another mess up like we had with the Institute. Have you seen him yet," Peter asks, looking over to Gabriel out of the corner of his eyes, "Sasha? Melissa's team extracted him from Institute custody a few days ago, I don't even know how they got him, but it explains why he was reported dead… it's a good cover for why someone disappears without a trace."

Right, Gabriel? is implied a bit jokingly, if only a little bit so.

Inside of the gym, severed limbs, twisted metal and screams are the notes to the symphopny that Messiah is conducting against Humanis First. Vengeance for Beech Street and the Ferrymen, vengeance for the Met Museum, vengeance for Elisabeth Harrison, Joseph Sumter, Mona Rao, and Felix Ivanov, vengeance for every single person this sickening cancer has wronged, for every death that didn't make the eleven o'clock news, for every body buried too deep to find.

In a matter of moments only two survivors remain in the main portion of the gym, hunkered down behind the one un-flipped armored truck, one unarmed and the other with a shotgun. The unarmed man bolts up to his feet when the gunfire stops, running towards one of the doors, only to find something standing in his way. There's a horrible sight, a cloud of bees as dark as smoke and as noisy as a box of vibrating cell phones. A horrified scream comes as the man turns, only to have the wasps descend on him in a stinging, murderous mass. Writhing around on the floor, spasming as thousands of bees perforate his body with their stingers, that member of Humanis First sees a tall, broad-shoulder and dark skinned man carrying a collection of black plastic canvas tubes over his shoulder stepping in through the door confidently. Larson Riggs is a dangerous individual, and as he watches those bees savage the member of Humanis First, it is with no small measure of satisfaction.

His winged consorts crawl up under the man's eyelids, invade his nose and mouth, cover his body until he looks like little more than a black amorphous form in the vague shape of a man. "You fuckin' monster!" Screams the shotgun-wielding man who pops up from behind the truck, racking a round into the barrel, only to see ice frost over the front of the gun and then race down the barrel towards his hands.

Lacombe steps in behind the shotgun wielding and sufficiently distracted man, whispering icily into his ear as ice creeps up the man's legs to his knees. Then, with a smile, Lacombe kicks at the old man's calves and shatters the bottom half of his legs, sending him falling to bloodied and frozen stumps.

"Eh, bien…" Lacombe murmurs as he looks down to the horrified man, then steps down on one of his frozen arms, shattering it at the elbow, grinding the reddish ice under his booted heel, "eh, bien…"

From the locker room, there's a raucous noise of shouting and barking orders, and from the single entrance there's a clink-pink-ponk of two fragmentary grenades thrown out the entrance of the men's side of the locker room entrance.

"Grenade!" Knox screams, but his distance keeps him from having to worry about it, save for a cautionary crouch down to the ground. In that moment, Rickham spots the grenade and throws himself at the explosive, dropping his considerably heavy metallic frame down atop it, smothering its view with the looseness of his trenchcoat.

When the grenade blows, there's a noisy metallic crash with it, and Rickham is flung onto his back, clothing shredded and jacket turn, tiny slivers and cuts and scars across his iron body, but — thankfully — intact. Looking stunned by the concussive force, Rickham pushes a hand beneath himself, then waves Ash and Claire on ahead. "Go! I'll— be right behind you."

Fit music, these screams and sounds of shattering, ramping up for the finale Perry is preparing. Each is charge placed with an air of mixed haste and caution. He needs to get this done quickly, but he needs to get it done right. Perry moves like a rabbit, darting low, then sticking his head up to doublecheck that he hasn't missed a spot on the way, before ducking down again and pressing the plastique into place, checking the wires and the receiver, swiftly meticulous as only an EE can be.

Ash watches the murder of the other two men with impassionate eyes, though anger flares when ol bug eyes is called a monster. "No more so than you are. Filth." He doesn't say it to anyone in particular, just muttered as he smoothly makes his way towards the doors that Claire was on her way through. THen the call for Grenades goes out, only it's not a call for, it's a warning. Ash's head turns and he growls when he finds nothing in range for him to duck behind. So, he curls himself down into a bell, kneeling and wrapping his arms around his body, protecting his vitals, and his head from the explosion. He'll probably have shrapnel in his arms and legs, but that's better than organs and head and spine.

A scream rips from his throat as bits of shrapnel do indeed whip into his body and slice skin and muscle, leaving little holes in his body glove, though the armored sections on his arms and legs do block some of the shrapnel, they don't get all of it. He remains curled up, bleeding and gritting his teeth in pain, but not moving yet.

As the jeep gets set into place, Harrison turns in time to hear the KABOOM! He frowns clearly as two more men slide through an opening in the girl's locker room. Harrison will do his best to hold off this exit from the men trying to get out. He moves grabbing on by the throat with one hand. He holds onto the man with his steel grip as he turns his attention to the second man holding the gun. Harrison grabs the gun with his other hand. The young man is struggling yet in the fit of battle crushes the man's neck with his grip and he goes limp. Harrison does not have time to mourn his death as he turns his attention on the man with the gun.

There isn't time for Claire to do anything, too much distance between her and the grenade, so all she can do is dive through the door. The concussion of the grenade sent her tumbling through, and down some of the stairs before she stops. "Damn, I hate those sometimes." She murmurs as she moves to get to her feet again.

Blood smears the ground where she was laying, so she glances down, only now really aware of that seering pain. Her pants are shredded, of course. She really needs to start hitting the thrift store or something. Maybe she can have Rupert replace all her shredded clothes.

It gets expensive.

The fiery pain is already fading from her legs where the shrapnel hit her, bits of metal plinking to the floor, but it's ignored so that she can scramble back up the stairs and lean out the door. A quick glance around finds Ash laying there. "Hey! Come on!" She yells at the curled up form, before ducking back in and takes a few steps waiting for anyone to try and run up the stairs from the Armory.

Up above, in the gym, something breaks.

Glass implodes inwards after a second of vibration, bursting to scattered fragments of crystal-like shards that rain down over Rickharm's metallic form, breaking smaller off iron and the wooden ground. It's a high window within the gym, exploded out of its frame from the figment that comes soaring through it, invisible save for a telltale ripple of air and of course the screech of generic noise that almost drowns out Claire's call for charge despite some Messiah dolls lying a little broke on the ground.

High in the air, the ripple of air suddenly solidifies into the shape of a man, promptly falling, but disappearing back into that ripple of sound as it zooms back groundwards, lands hard enough upon solidity for the man to grunt and wince in his crouch, a hand out to catch himself before he can tip sideways. Sylar's brown eyes flash a little as he undizzies himself, lifting his head to regard what's going on.

"Am I late?" he echoes a query from outside.

Unknowing. Gabriel is still outside, eyes a little closed as he concentrates on the avian shapes that are still keeping eyes in the sky, and he frowns when he only sees a window burst inwards, but a diving bird zooming past it only sees so much within. "I was at that extraction," he placidly tells Peter, only half present. "It was a mess. We need to teach them how to duck."

"You were?" Peter's brows lift in surprise, seemingly blaise to the carnage going on inside of the building. After Argentina, Antarctica and all of the other conflicts he's been in, explosions, screaming and chaos are the sounds of progress to him. Wary glances are offered to the building, but from his vantage point everything is fine, until he hears a chirp over his radio of three unified voices:

Ashley is wounded. Status unknown. I am receiving conflicting audio transmissions from inside.

Rebel means, of course, Sylar— or is it Gabriel? Keeping them straight is hard.

Up on the roof, West sweeps down thorugh the air to land at Perry's side, "There anything I can help with?" he asks with an arch of one brow, looking impatiently down into the gym thorugh the roof. "Crap," he hisses, crouching down by the open skylight, staring at Gabriel's materialized form with a reluctant relief. "Gabriel just got here," West calls over the phones.

It's an unfortunately timed notice.

Inside, growling, mechanical noises come from Richkam as he pushes his metallic body up onto his knees, then onto his feet. "Ash," Rickham exhales in a reverberating voice, stepping heavily over to him before dropping to a knee and resting a hand on his shoulder, "are you— " a bullet strikes Rickham in the side of the head with a clang sending his head jerking to the side before he transfixes a hematite stare on a gunman in the stairwell between Claire and Harrison. The titanium man covers the iron man as Harrison grabs the gunman by the head and bounces his head off of the brick wall like a broken melon, then throws his twitching body aside.

Surprise dawns on Harrison's face when he sees Ash laying wounded on his side, and the titanium man lumbers with hreavy footfalls towards where Rickham and Ash are. "I'll watch him," Harrison explains in a more smooth voice that Rickham's hollow one, and the two metallic men trade off their positions, with Rickham nodding sharply to Ash in reassuring manner before getting up and heading to cover Claire.

Across the gym, Riggs is helping up Knox with one hand, yanking the younger man to his feet. "Y'best watch y'self," Riggs explains, dusting off Knox's leather jacket patronizingly before turning to look at Sylar's revealed form. "Nice timin', we got some men hunkered down downstairs tha' might need you t'get. I only got spiders left," he explains on patting one of the tubes held on straps over his shoulders, "no'much good for stairs with any speed."

Lacombe is, however, transsfixed on his playmate. Slowly, he is tracing a finger along the limbless man's cheek, tracing patterns of frostbite into his soft flesh. There's a look over to Ash, heedless, then back to the man who's screams of agony only last until he blacks out from the pain. There's a disappointed snort from Lacombe, narrowed eyes, and then he simply flash freezes the man's limbless corpse with a huff of cold air.

From the stairwell Claire is guarding, there's movement, black metal crab-walking sideways out of a doorway in the darkly lit boiler room passage she's guarding the exit of — riot shields — and eight men walking in two-by-two passage out into the hall, using the metallic shields to block gunfire, crouched down behind them. There's the pop of small arms fire in that narrow corridor of the basement, and Claire is caught in tight, confined spaces against better armored opponents.

She could probably use a hand.

"No, no…" Perry says, with a touch of peevishness as he sets the second to last charge. "I am…" check the wires, "capable of…" examining the receiver, "handl- holy shit!" The sound of shattering glass and Gabriel's arrival startles Perry enough that the tugs a wire loose. His cheeks go red with pointless, self generated shame. He sticks the wire back in, staying crouched in mimicry of West, easing up beside him. He tugs the dangling mic to his lips and adds information upon information. "Charges set. Should… uh… should West extract me?" He doesn't wish to be seen a coward, but he did just rig this building to blow, top down… and he's on the top.

Ash grits his teeth hard, and starts to uncurl, only to collapse forwards onto his hands and knees as pain spikes hard through his muscles. There's a number of shouted expletives as the man slowly, bit by bit forces himself to his feet. A few shards of shrapnel pop out and onto the ground, whether from muscle tissue squeezing them out, or because they didn't manage to enbed in his flesh. He moves, a single step and nearly loses his footing, going down to one knee. He looks up in time to see Gabriel come crashing down through the roof in … wind? Sound? Form. He blinks a bit at the man. "Yeah, a little but it's all good." He grunts out as he forces himself to his feet once more and takes a step, then another, blood leaking from teh holes in his body glove.

He looks up as Rickham comes over to him, giving the man a slight nod. "I'm good, mostly, you okay there tinm…" Then there's a gunshot, and quick as can be, despite the pain, Ash whips a .45 from the netting on his body, firing, only to watch the bullet sink into an unconscious, and potentially dead man at Harrison's feet. Harrison makes his way over, and Ash tries to move a little bit more.

He doesn't quite drop to the ground, but he staggers and leans against mister Titanium. He plucks a flashbang from his belt and picks it up. "Claire!!" He calls to her, then flings the flashbang right at the regenerator. Will it hurt her? Yep, will she heal? Yep. Will it blind the hell out of the shield wall right in front of her and potentially send them tumbling down the stairs in disarray? Yep and yep. So, it's chucked, and followed by several loud curses of pain as he sinks back down to one knee, a fresh dribble of blood spilling from the shrapnel wounds in his arm. "If any of this got in near my heart, I want a big glowing chest ornament like Tony Stark." and yes, that's muttered into his headset.

As the riot shields start up the stairs, Claire eyes them warily. "Wonderful." She growls out the word under her breath, eyes narrowing. Even so, maybe she can slow them down til more get to her position. She gives the approaching riot shields a smug smile, before lifting the pistol, gripped in both hands and starts letting loose on the shields. With hope they will take their time getting to her.

When one magazine runs dry, the other pistol is pulled out so she can keep laying down fire, even as the shield stop the barrage. Where the hell is everyone?!?

That's about the time the flash grenade plink plink plink past her and comes to a stop. She has only a moment to think about it being there, before…


Light fills the world and her's goes pretty dark.

Claire'll be back in a moment folks.

Sylar's head tips as he studies Riggs and the suggestion dealt his way, now back on his feet and reoriented as his gaze crawls over the spread of Messiah members around him, up and down Ash and towards Rickham, vaguely curious — although that might just be due to the situation. "Sounds fun," he asserts, eventually, and at a casual pace, he starts to move across the gym, towards the unblocked lockerroom that Claire had disappeared through. Once at the doorway, a vibration rattles through the floor beneath his feet, shakes the lockers in a brief shudder, before he's disappearing into that sound form, tearing off and out of sight in pursuit.

"What?" This, from outside, Gabriel's gaze growing sharper as he glances at the phone, as if irritated his presence was not noticed before just now. At a sharp descent, the raven lands on rooftop, nearby where West and Perry are located, observing rather than an attempt to communicate.

Below, the steampipes all rattle, a metallic sound effect amplified as that human echo lands at the foot of the stairs.

Likewise stunned by Ash's flashbang, then men behind the riot shields are using the cover as best as they can, waiting for the double-vision and ringing in their ears to stop. That does not, however, preclude two more men lacking the shields from coming out, each of them armed with AR-15 assault rifles. The explosion of gunfire downstairs rips thorugh the haze of the sound-mimicing figure, ricocheting bullets all around the passage.

When Claire starts to get up, one tumbling round punches thorugh her right leg with a spray of blood that sends her dropping down to her knees as the wound already begins to seal shut. "Open fire, open fire! rings out downstairs in howling quality from the two men.

Upstairs in the gymnasium, Rickham rounds the corner that Sylar had, coming through the locker room, crunching tiled flooring under foot before making his way down the stairs, tattered clothing and shredded trenchcoat barely hanging off his body, scrape of red from his blown apart scarf loosely draped over his shoulders. When he comes towards the humming body of living sound, Rickham staggers back and lets out a pained groan, clutching his head before slouching against one wall.

He sees the world in vibrations, and that is like living vertigo in front of him.

"Do you need me to have someone get you out of here?" Is Harrison's question to Ash, worry expression very clearly in his mercurial face, brows furrowed and shiny eyes gleaming Ash's own reflection back at him as he stays crouched by his side.

"Alright, let's get — " Knox's voice is cut off by a sound from outside of the school, a rumbling roar coming up one of the roads — an engine. "Fuck!" Kicking away from the entrance, Knox makes a sprint for the outside where Peter is rushing towards the building at full speed, only to be caught in the headlights of an old Dodge Durango plated with armor like the Jeeps seen inside of the school, a Mad Max style of vehicular armor made from spot-welded steel plates and chain-link mesh. Leaping out of the way of the truck coming roaring up the road, Peter lands in the grass and lifts up his phone. "Huruma! Huruma we have incoming!"

He'd only just broken away from Gabriel as the truck arrives, one camou-clad man popping out through the sunroof with an M-16, "Fuckin' freaks!" It seems now everyone at the school was accounted for in the scouting, Melissa did say there were fifty of them. Gunfire explodes from the machine gun, and Peter is running from a popping trail of bursting pavement at his heels, negation and healing are of no help here.

"Oh shit, Perry!" West hisses as he backs away from the raven and looks down to the truck with its headlights on. "You want me to get you outta' here? I can take us to the next roof, do— you have a rifle or something in your uh— bag of tricks?" West shoots a worried look to the duffelbag, then back to Perry. "Can— you even shoot a rifle?" with those glasses is tactfully not added.

Dammit, it's much easier for Perry to remain calm and collected when the people around him are calm and collected. Without an anchor or model to work with, he finds it easiest to lapse into blank-eyed terror as the submachine gun starts to tear up pavement. "Uh… uh…" Perry starts to fumble in the bag. He tugs out the wooden stock of that ultimate insurgent's weapon, the Kalashnikov. AK to its close friends. He grips the battle rifle in hands he tries to stop from trembling. "I… we… we can stay up here," he stammers, "Just… be ready. I'll… oh Jesus… I'll do my best…" He closes his eyes, swallows as much of his fear as he can and, feeling a bit sick but clearer headed, he scurries to the edge of the roof and aims down the iron sights at the man poking out of the sun roof. Perry takes a breath, releases it, and pulls the trigger, sending a burst of 7.62x39mm rounds down at the gunman.

Ash hears the noise outside, and it brings a determined look to his features. He looks up at Harrison and shakes his head to the kid's question of whether he wants out of here. "No… in fact… give me a piggy back ride, and storm towards whatever commotion that is outside." What is Ash doing? Ash is pulling out his .45's and making sure the spare clips are in easy reach. He might not be able to walk and move around that well, but he can shoot, and boy howdy, he can shoot with impunity with titanium guy viging him a piggy back ride. He, with Harrison's assistance, climbs up onto his back. "Hi ho silver?" He asks the kid with a pained chuckle,a nd then braces his legs around the kid's waist, his arms over his shoulders aiming both pistols down range, silencers have been put on to save Harrison's ears.

Sometimes even Claire feels pain, so there is a cry of pain when her leg is hit making her fall again. One of her pistols is dislodged from her hand and tumbles down the stairs to rest. She tucks her arms around herself and leans over as if in intense pain. There isn't much the ex-cheerleader can do when she hears the order to open fire, all she can do is just tilt her head up in an act of defiance and give the men a wicked smile.

Eyes widen on the men above her as she pulls out a pair of grenades — pins pulled of course. A matching set, one for each hand. The world in that moment seems to slow down. As the first bullets tear into her, she quickly lets go of the safety lever on both and with a look that clearly says she's going to enjoy this, she tosses them into the group.

She won't get to see them go off as her body shuts down again, sending her slumping to one side into the gory mess that she is leaving curtsey of Humanis First men emptying everything into her… well, at least til they either see the grenade or get blown apart and thier blood mingles with her malaria ridden blood.

In a whirling retreat, the shadow form that Gabriel has slipped into goes careening through the tall grass, as graceful as a nest of snakes crossed with ink injected through water — just enough to make an angile escape out of the path of the roaring truck, away from where terrain is being ripped apart by a hail of bullets — and some of it is friendly fire that cuts out the machine gun ratatat with splitting flesh, turning the armed man poking out the top of truck into a ragdoll. By the time he's flowing back into a human shape, Gabriel is back on two feet and materialising almost directly in the path of the oncoming vehicle. He reacts.

BOOM is a problem solver, as a concussive blast that looks very similar to Sylar's sound form is emitted from open palm, catching the truck in such a fashion that it's its momentum that does the most of the damage, rocked into a swerve that has a wheel spinning in air, and he does something that he doesn't do very often. Repeats the same trick twice. BOOM rattles through the air, shattering car windows as it gets sent into a tumbling spin.

Two of those blasts in one go as its limits. Telepathic threads with the local avian life are all severed, including the one he has with his teleporter, although it's these that Gabriel works on even as he staggers to his knees, brown eyes dazed.

The sound thing, meanwhile, down below, is having his party. In the wake of the explosion of twin grenades, it follows the survivors that retreat into the armory with rattling zeal. Sound seems almost tangible down here, and as he seems to pass through the men bearing their shields, some will cry out as capillaries burst in their eyes, as eardrums implode, as their teeth rattle in their skulls in the split second that the sound thing crosses through.

By the time he's solid again, Sylar is enthusiastically— and accidentally— slamming himself into a wall to halt, palms gracelessly smacking into concrete to catch himself, head loose on his neck as he tries to get back some semblance of balance.

Outside, the Durango has stopped its skidding across the ground, glass trailing behind it, vehicle on its side, rooftop gunner crushed into a bloody tangle of bodyparts from being rolled over by the vehicle and hit with two concussive blasts. But protected by the thick armor of the vehicle, most of the men inside are shaken but largely still intact.

When a door pops open and a man drags himself out with an MP5 automatic pistol in one hand, the brrrap of fire peppers the ground around where Gabriel kneels. Clearing his head, the gunman crawls out of the wreckage and onto the elevated side of the tilted truck, aiming to fire again. "Gabriel!" Tackling the dazed Gabriel out of the way of gunfire, Peter narrowly avoids being riddled with bullets himself as he and his former nemesis collide on the ground together. Laying one hand on Gabriel's side, there's an exchange of yellow-white light from the two as Peter replicates a power from Gabriel, but it's not soon enough, three more gunmen are crawling out through the shattered open roof of the truck, thankfully, the calvary is on the way.

Harrison is hauling Ash out the front doors of the gym, metallic arms keeping the bleeding and battered mercehary mobile, spotting the three gunmen crawling out of the wreckage, training their sights on Peter and Gabriel.

Inside, Lacombe and Riggs are making their way to the stairwell, and Riggs is unscrewing the top of his last drafter's tube, setting it down on the ground and making a beckoning motion with one hand, calling forth a carpet of black-brown spiders that scurry along the floor. Lacombe glances down at them, then watches as the spiders head not for the stairs, but for the exits, thousands of multi-eyed spies to observe the battlefield.

Lacombe is rounding the stairs, headed into the locker room with tracks of cold flowing from his hand in the air, the tiles underfoot freezing, iced, bloody footprints left in his wake. He stops, though, at the top of the stairs, looking at Rickham trying to gain a semblance of balance from the middle of the stairwell. "Are you alright, monseiur?" It's not entirely callous, just a little.

Further into the basement, smoking human remains, groaning survivors who are bleeding out from shrapnel wounds, and more yet to come are preparing for the onslaught. With Sylar disoriented by the dizziness of Gabriel outside, it is giving the men in the armory time to prepare — and Claire time ot regenerate.

Ash is bleeding, fairly badly too, Harrison's metallic body streaked with his blood, but he can still shoot. The .45's are held implaccably still in his rock hard grasp, using all of that strength that he possesses to keep the guns very still. As they emerge from the building Ash squeezes the triggers on his pistols, sending shots spiralling through the air to plant ingo the flesh of the men trying to hurt Peter and Gabriel.

One of the gunmen staggers back with a hole square through teh center of his forhead, another falls to the ground screaming with a blasted apart knee cap. Ash's paired .45's turn ont eh third guy, the triggers squeezed of a few more times, sending the solid 45 caliber rounds ripping through his body as well, aiming for spots unlikely to be armored. He is dead silent other than the spit of the bullets emerging from the silencers. Once those three gunmen are down and out he turns his eyes, looking for other men that might be emerging.

Tink tink tink

Slowly Claire's body goes to work on the gory and bloody mess that was once a person. Fibrous tissue seeks with hungry and searching fingers for more of it's kind, as muscles and organs repair the damage and push out the foreign objects.

It's impossibly slow, but then it's a lot more damage. Part of her head has be hit, exposing gray matter, but thankfully it's intact. A plane of fresh bone slowly slide across the delicate mass in her head, shielding it again. Once the edges of bone coming together, blue eyes snap open and Claire takes a deep rattling breath.

Pushing to her knees, brunette lengths of hair, slide over her shoulder, as she hunches over to cough up blood and bullets from her lungs, it hits the floor with a sickening and metallic sound. Never a pleasant feeling.

Claire pushes to her feet and sways, legs still working to repair the last of the damage. She retrieves the fallen weapon, takes a moment to reload it and turns to the task at hand again, which is killing people and getting to the leader. There is an annoyed glance the way she came, before she does.

Nnng. Gabriel is toppled easily to plant down on the ground with an expulsion of air from lungs, but cognitive enough to lift his arms and protect his head from the— bullets— being fired their way as opposed to summon up the energy to find another solution. Having allies is a pretty good solution, anyway, as the sound of Ash's shooting rings through the air. And he can feel it, when Peter copies a power from him, and not only from the sensation of this trade itself, but in the way one of his own abilities shifts around like a kaleidoscope to reconfigure, to adapt.

An elbow jars up to shove Peter away, Gabriel moving a bit like a poisoned animal at a crawl away from him, but by the time he's getting to hands and knees, and then up to his feet, he seems to be regaining things like motor function, turning to glance for Ash and Harrison. Unlike the Sylar inside, this one is wearing a red scarf. This one is, you know, outside.

The one inside is also recovering.

An arm suddenly wraps around her waist from behind, dragging her back away from the armory as the other hand goes out to grip the wrist of the one bearing a gun. "Danger up ahead," Sylar mutters against her skull. "Wanna get outta here? I know a place." And he's throwing her to one side, uncaring or oblivious to Rickham's presence in the stairwell, of the force gathering in the armory.

Flat on his back from an elbow to the mouth, Peter is left dazed for his help of Gabriel. Some habits seem to die harder than others; being a jerk must be like an addiction too. Spitting blood out onto the ground, Peter pushes himself to his feet, shaking his head and trying to get the cobwebs out. "Jesus Christ, it's— okay," huffing out a breath, he can see that the men Ash shot are dead, in shock, or unconscious — all acceptable solutions at the moment.

When Harrison comes to a stop and takes a knee, its indicative that he's suggesting that the man oozing blood all over him kindly get off and properly be taken care of. "You're… bleeding, Ash," is Harrison's innocent remark as he looks to all of the blood streaked down the sides of his body.

"Christ, okay, Ash— you— " Peter has to take a moment, searching the ground for his phone he dropped in the chaos. Crouching down, it's picked up and brought to one ear. "Kris, we need you out front, Ash is hurt pretty bad. West?" There's a glance up to the roof, "Withdraw, something's wrong. Get Perry out of there and wait for my signal. Huruma," Peter's stare flicks over to the periphery of the school and the dark grass that she'd been keeping out of sight in, serving as a watchful eye for men trying to escape out the back, "Get a safe distance away for when we blow this."

"Claire," there's a pause, silence, no response. "Claire?" Dark brows crease together, and Peter looks up at the gymnasium again. "Riggs, Rickham, Knox, Lacombe… where's claire?"

«She went downstairs, Lacombe and Rickham went with her. What's wrong, P?» Knox's answer over the phones sends Peter's head spinning, Gabriel is already inside, which means—

"Sylar," and just like that all of Peter's careful planning and tactical nature is thrown out the window. What was it Gabriel had said, he remembers peter being the one rushing in head long? Just like with Gabriel, Peter has some old habits that are hard to break.

Sprinting ahead, Peter clips his phone on his belt and runs not for the door, but for the wall of the school, and as it looks like he's about to faceplant on the brickwork, his bosy turns ghostlike and intangible and he passes through the wall like smoke on the wind.

About as soon as Peter disappears, there's a pop-sparkle-crack of red fireworks as Kristian Bender appears in a shower of illumination. Black boots grind across pavement from his forward momentum, and the young, wiry man looks at Ash with wide, dark eyes. "Woah holy— shit. Who's comin' with me, it's go time 'cause I ain't hangin' around to get my ass blown up guys." Even as Kris makes that remark, a dark shadow passes over the sky, West carrying Perry away from the rooftop, flying at a breezy speed away fromt he building as fast as he can.

Inside of the school and away from Kris' arrival, Lacombe starts making his way down the stairs. "Monsuir Rickham?" Lacombe drawls out with a roll of his r's. "You do not look so well, no? How— " it's only now that Lacombe has gotten into visual range of Sylar pinning claire up to one of the walls, and his eyes grow wide.

Walking past Rickham as the iron man struggles to get up the stairs and away from the sonorous distortions, Lacombe waves a frosty hand in the air, frailing cold vapor between his fingers. "Bonjour Sylar," but his eyes drift to Claire, then down the hall to the doorway near the end, then to the bodies beginning to frost over. "What is going on?"

Ash breathes in heavily, his breath htiching in his throat and chest as pain lances through his body. All that fades though as he looks over and spots Peter and … Gabriel… fuck. Ash blinks a few times, and looks over to Peter, then back to Gabriel. He doesn't so much get off Harrison as he does collapse into a writhing heap on the ground.

"Peter!" He screams out, his voice laced with the pain that's wracking his body. "Sylar!" He calls to the other man too. "There's someone inside… looks just fucking like you." Which you he means isn't really apparent, though it becomes pretty damn apparent a moment later when Peter goes tearing ass towards the wall. "Peter!" He cries out, but when the man doesn't turn he grunts, and lets the .45 drop to the ground from his limp grip. He does shout into his headset though for anyone that still has their on, and in one piece.

"Sylar inside is not our Sylar. No fuckign clue who he is, but he is not ours. Ours is standing our here by me with his fucking scarf on him." He cries out in pain, an exuberant amount of swearing following before he looks up at Kris incredulously. "Pussy." Is muttered at him before Ash rolls onto his back, pain narrowing his vision and causing it to go red around the edges. BLood loss will do that to you.

So focused on the armory, Claire is taken by surprise when the strong arms of Gabriel pull her back from danger. "What… wait…" The former blonde squeaks out in protests, until his voice caresses her ear and she can feel the breath of each word stir against her loose dyed hair. It's in that moment she knows something is wrong and Claire's body goes still, and for the first time in awhile Claire Bennet is scared.

Crying out as she's physically thrown, Claire's grip on her gun is lost and she tumbles to the floor. Like a frightened animal cornered by something nastier and much more a predator then she is, Claire scrambles back, until she bumps into the wall. "What…?"

When she spots Lacombe out of the corner of her eye, she can't help but shout, "Run!" She tries to use the distraction, to reach for the handgun at her back, in an last resort attempt to stop the inevitable. "Run!" She finally shouts again, frightened blue eyes on Sylar even as she pleas with Lacombe. "Get out of here!"

A wall of invisible, concussive force hits Lacombe squarely by way of response, echoing like a gunshot through the space.

Knocking the cryokinetic back to slam into stairwell, hand remaining poised to lock up his limbs and freeze him— metaphorically— in place, Sylar focuses his gaze back on Claire. "He's not going anywhere," he corrects her, other hand coming up. It's not telekinesis, that drives her back — her own legs work to do so, slamming her back into the wall, arms splaying scarecrow style. "But he comes after. Because what is this— sixth time's the charm?"

A flick of his hand has puppetry slamming Claire down in a forcible collapse, moving to stand over her as he goes for the knife at his belt. "I'll make it fast," he advises — more of a necessity, than a mercy.

Slower on the uptake than Peter is, Gabriel is wide eyed at the impossibility that his clone would have the bravery of stepping right into the lion's den, as it were, with enemies on all sides. Not ours, is what Ash is saying, by the time Gabriel is suddenly following Peter's lead, picking up the weapon that Ash dropped as he goes. Picking up another weapon, too — with the sound of a sandstorm, dirt, dust and sand is lifting up off the terrain in a hissing of movement, conforming into a telekinetically controlled cloud that Gabriel is taking with him, urged into a sprint.

He disappears through the wall after Peter. Small particles make their own way, through broken windows, cracks in the wall, gaps in the doors.

"Yeah, yeah, I ain't the one who'se passed out," Kris grouses as he crouches down and slides one of Ash's arms around his shoulder, "Oh man this guy's heavy, what the hell is he made of lead?" That much is a joke to Harrison who is — in fact — made of metal. Harrison knows how this works by now, laying a hand on Kris' shoulder, looking back to the school worriedly. He wants to stay behind and defend the others, but someone has to protect Ash and Kris, just in case.

There's a crackle-flash-snap of red sparkling light, and Kris disappears with Harrison and Ash in tow to one of the fallback points.

Downstairs and inside the building, the scream that rings thorugh the walls is a familiar one. "Sylar!" echoing a battle that began two years ago on the streets of the Bronx in fire and telekinesis. This time Peter feels himself ready, and as he emerges like a ghostly cloud of ethereal light through the wall, his body is solidifying on a downward's approach to Sylar. When Peter's bare fist collides with Sylar, it shouldn't disjoin his powers like it does, severing the puppetry threads from Claire and Lacombe, but it does.

The Haitian's power kicks on like a lightswitch, heedless of the fact that Claire under negation will succumb to the feverish ravages of Malaria, heedless that he just stripped Lacombe of his cryokinesis. Instead, Peter is hell bent on finishing this and preventing the monster he's feared has been on the loose from hurting anyone again.

Taking Sylar down to the floor with him, Peter balls up a fist and swings down, slamming his knuckles into Sylar's jaw, bringing his arm up again he makes another strike that tracks away bloody from Sylar's split lip. "This time, you're not getting— "

A gunshot rings out through the hall, just as Gabriel materializes through the stone wall and Peter flies backwards from the hit to his upper chest, knocked clean off of Sylar from the handgun round, falling back to land on the stairs. The gunshot disengages the Haitian's ability negation he'd been utilizing, gives Sylar back all of his power, gives Claire back her regeneration.

The shot originated from a man standing at the end of the hall, fingers wound around the grip of his .45 caliber revolver and brows furowed, gray hair cropped into a mulitary cut and vicious, deep grooves of scars cutting down the side of his face and to his mouth, old shrapnel wounds. Ducking back thorugh the doorway into the armory, Wallace breathes in deeply as he calls out, "Go!"

Immediately following, nine men in flak-jackets with assault rifles pour out into the hall, four taking knees and leveling their rifles up, three standing in the back and ready to take aim while Wallace uses cover.


Brown hair lays around her head in almost a halo as Claire Bennet stares up at Sylar. A glint of metal, has blue eyes snapping to see the knife in his hands. It's enough to have her doubling her effort as she screams out, "Peter!!!" And in a surprising turn of events, that might make some jaws drop in shock, another name is cried out in a plea for help. "Gabriel!"

Claire Bennet knows better… she knows this is the one she had once been warned about.

Of course, no sooner does the names leave her lips when out of no where comes her uncle and she feels herself freed of the effects of the Puppetry, when he collides with Sylar. Everything is happening in a blur as she rolls over and onto her knees and to her feet again, looking up in time to see the man at the end of the hall. "Peter!" The warning is shouted out too late before, he's hit.

Her gaze snaps back over to the men getting into place, with a dangerous look in her eyes. Reaching into a pocket, Claire starts down the hall. In just a few steps she's sprinting at them, hands coming together in front of her. The most observant of them might see what is in her hand, before she attempts to crash into the lot of them and pull the pin, letting go of the safety, letting it fly off with a ping.

This is becoming a habit…. should people be disturbed?


It's a series of near misses. Animal instinct over common sense, and the gunshot from Wallace ends the cycle with neat rapport, and Sylar is rolling over onto his stomach to stare across towards where the men with guns are flooding out of the door. His powers are slowly snapping back into place — or rather, he has them instantly, but remembering them is harder, the clone rendered a little foggy from negation. Gabriel, however, is watchful and sharp, and as Claire careens herself into the line of guntoters, a whistling flood of sand and dust follow her path, the air in the room going a little hazy as a directed sandstorm of kinds goes howling among the rifle holders, blinding, confusing, and choking.

And by the time she pulls the pin, it won't matter anymore.

Sylar is a good predator, but a better survivor. By the time he's remembering himself, he spits blood from where Peter had knocked a tooth loose, and automatically transfers back into sound, rocketing up the stairs the way he'd come, the ripple of sound parting the dust in the air as he goes.

Gunfire and a live grenade, the combination is like cymbals and a drum beat to some people. A quick prattatta of automatic arms fire and then a defaening bang so loud in the confined space that deafness will last for far too long to be helpful, a tinnitus ringing replacing alls ound save for the deepest of bass clunks from falling stone debris. Bodies lay in twisted heaps of wreckage, the ceiling collapsed down on part of the hall and smoke fills the corridor along with groans of pain no one can hear.

Peter is trapped on his back, sucking in shallow and sharp breaths, blood trickling from between his fingers where he clutches his gunshot wound, tongue sliding over his lips and sweat on his brow clinging with dust. Gabriel is the only one unaffected by the ringing, unaffected by the blast. He can hear Rickham's scraping footfalls trying to get away while the sonorous presence of Sylar's retreat up the stairs disturbs his metallic senses even more.

It's not until there's movement in the basement that Gabriel can even tell anyone survived. Claire's broken and twisted body is in two large pieces, one of which is the lower half of her where torn and blackened muscle, blood and broken bone sets at skewed angles, the upper half is much of her torso and one arm, and Gabriel can see muscle threading together like a knitter's needle to put her back together again.

But it isn't that moviement that catches his eye, it's the survivor from the Humanis First wreckage. The one man who had cover from the door, presuming nothing could survive the particl collapse of the ceilign and the grenade blast. Dusted and cut up on one side of his face, the scarred head of the well, Wallace, is limping away from the fight towards the furthest end of the corridor, likely towards some fallback position, maybe a back entrance to the basement, an escape tunnel — it doesn't really matter. He's getting away.

Among others. Gabriel standing alone means that he can either try to chase something that could possibly move at the speed of, well, sound, or go after the stumbling figure of Wallace making his retreat. Letting his flesh become corporeal again, a gesture of his hand has the dust floating in the air abruptly dropping as if much heavier than it was before — once there and released, it swirls among ankles and fallen shapes, makes whirls in the air as he moves through it, stepping over broken bodies, managing not to step on any entrails that could be Claire's.

Blood, though. Blood is essentially the same deal, and he drags it with him from the charred bodies, slithering out of broken wounds and dismembered limbs, making trailing rivers in pace with his steps, before rushing ahead to river up the Humanis First leader's body in twisting, winding rivulets of red.

A simple thing comes next — a psychic punch that fells the retreating man, as blood comes to wrap around wrists, both of which Gabriel is close enough to nudge together with the toe of his boot so that the shifting liquid can harden like steel and connect them together in makeshift cuffs of gleaming black-red before he can come to. The rest of the red stuff becomes leathery and ropey, taut around upper arms, dangerously so around throat.

Gabriel grimaces, and glances back towards the rest of the space, from Claire's parts to Peter.

Boots are running down the stairs, Knox's arrival comes with a skidding stop and a wide-eyed stare and Claire everywhere in the basement. It's one thing hearing that she's indestructible, it's another seeing it in practice, and this is a first. Blinking wide eyes shut, Knox shakes his head a few times and crouches down to pick up Peter, wrapping one arm over his shoulder and hefting him up onto shaky legs. Thankfully, right now and bleeding as profusely as he is, Peter is — admittedly — a little afraid, it works out in the end for Knox and Gabriel both.

"We gotta go, eyebrows," force of habit, "I don't care if you gotta use a bucket," is to Claire, "Perry's gonna' bring this whole shit down on us and all this bangin' is bound to draw unwanted attention that we can't handle right now. Kris just took Ash and Harrison, we gots' t'get out."

"Wait," is groaned by Peter, followed by a point towards Wallace struggling on the ground, bound by hardened blood shackles, "we need him." Knox gives Peter a wary look, then looks up to Gabriel with a you heard him expression before forcibly hauling Peter's shot ass up the stairs. Lacombe is just getting up by now, shaking his head and watching Knox carrying Peter out. The Frenchman's ears are still ringing, and as he pulls himself to his feet he breathes out noisily and looks around, disoriented.

There is a groan from Claire, it's the only acknowledgment Knox is going to get from her, as she finally starts to come around, body still desperately working to repair so much damage. Twisting around, she claws at the ground and turns onto her stomach so that she can pull legs under her and start to get to her feet.

Hands painted in thick sticky blood grab at the railing of the stairs and slowly she manages to get herself to her feet. With each step her movements become more and more sure, until she is able to race after Knox. Her clothing is shot, barely doing much for her anymore. They hang in slightly singed and tattered pieces. In fact, the only reason she isn't flashing everyone her boobs is cause the vest she's wearing is by some miracle holding on, even with all the holes.

Spite has him wanting to empty the bullets from Ash's gun into Wallace's head.

Instead, Gabriel rolls his shoulders, and reaches down to grab a fistful of the bound man's jacket, hauling Wallace to his feet and digging the muzzle of Ash's gun into the small of his back. Minute touches of puppetry has the scarred man standing, and he finds a hold on the slick, clotted ropes that pin the man's arms to his torso. Preoccupied with how is he meant to explain a rogue self to the ~team~, Gabriel's treatment of the HF operative is careless, efficient, dragging him up the stairs with tugs and threats of bullets in spines.

It may not have gone to plan, or even close to plan, but Messiah has proven time and again it is good at improvisation. Unexpected enemies have turned the attack on Humanis First into a bloodbath of a different type. But eventually, on the hill overlooking the mouth of the Hudson River, there will be a fiery orange flash. Long after the last of Messiah had dragged their beaten and tired bodies away from the ruins of Curtis High School, long after the last member of Humanis First has wheezed out a dying breath in smoke and fire.

The flash is Pericles Jones signature, and the rumble that comes next is the plastique that is his ink, sending the roof of Curtis High School's gymnasium crashing down atop the remainder of the building in a shower of brick dust, twisted metal and rubble. Messiah had intended to raid the armory here, but terrain dictated the mission. They may not have walked away with everything they had hoped for, but they did walk away with the cell's leader, their ultimate goal.

An ultimate goal aside from one other; revenge.

When smoke and dust rises in a two hundred foot high plume over the school's ruins, revenge has been had. Revenge against Humanis First for their killings, revenge for the Ferrymen, revenge for the Guiding Light Church, revenge for all of the Evolved they've hurt.

But it was also something more, somethat that the burning remains of the building symbolize, it was a preemptive strike. Humanis First was prepared to go to war with the Evolved, and the Evolved went to war with them first. But that was not the only preemptive strike…

It was also Sylar's.

This was just the beginning, for two wars.

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