Purged By Fire


faron_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif knox_icon.gif kris_icon.gif perry_icon.gif

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Scene Title Purged By Fire
Synopsis Messiah travels to Chicago Illinois to take down a suspected viral production facility.
Date July 1, 2010

On the outside, the towering fifteen story CDC Central Affairs building seems dwarfed by the surrounding skyscrapers in the downtown Chicago area. Under the glittering shine of streetlights and stars from a clear sky overhead, this dimly lit building looks inoccuous on the surface, but somewhere behind concrete walls and glass windows lies what a group of people gathered on the streets of Chicago have come to circumvent, the development of a lethal virus designed to kill the Evolved.

Their approach to the building was a synchronized thing, swift in its efficiency for the most part. But it truly begins with the halting of the external security cameras, a notice coming across each of the darkly dressed infiltrators cell phones one by one from Rebel that the security network and telecommunications systems have been neutralized. Crouched down behind the tall wall blocking off the gated entrance to the buildings grounds, Benjamin Washington, Pericles Jones, Faron Mathers and Huruma are prepared to accomplish something that will, undoubtedly, bring a spotlight on their efforts.

"Rebel says we're good to go in, Kris," and perhaps in that is explanation for the young man's seeming absence, "they're all yours." And with Knox's one standing order, everything begins.

Palwaukee Airport

Wheeling, Illinois

One Hour Earlier

To say that the last 24-hours have been a difficult transition for Faron Mathers would be an understatement to the way his life has turned upside down. Out the window of the small double-engine plane beside his seat in the small, double-engine plane that he's currently cramped into the night-time skyline of Chicago Illinois speeds by on descent into the city. Runway lights streak by outside, and in the tight confines of this plane, the actual details of what is about to go down are still somewhat lost on the young mechanic.

Six hours ago he was picked up by his Messiah contact Perry and brought to the Irving-Mills Airfield in Hoboken New Jersey to take a private plane out to a rendezvoud point just outside of Chicago Illinois. Waiting on the tarmac for him was an unlikely crew of motly looking individuals, ranging in agem nationality and gender in a way that almost seems scripted.

There wasn't much to talk about on the flight, between the noise of the engines and the seeming deferential nature that the people crammed into the uncomfortably small plane have taken on. Promises of explanations on hitting the ground about the mission seem almost like empty threats now, with the long flight having given Faron plenty of time to contemplate just how closely in his father's footsteps he'd be following.

By the time the plane's landing gears come down and the first shriek of tires strikes pavement, some of those hollow promises almost feel like they might be becoming a reality. The roaring propellors of the small plane's engines begin to wind down as the plane taxis across the runway, coming ot a rolling stop as Knox busily starts reaching for backpacks beneath his seat.

It's a long way from home that Messiah's business has taken this group, and now answers and operations come hand in hand from whoever is waiting for them here on the air-strip.

To say Faron was nervous wasn't a mild understatement. He had spent the past weeks researching all over the internet for something, anything, that could hint to the nature of the organization he had joined. Even after he got the call from…from whoever it was that called him, he wasn't sure who it was then, he still turned up nothing of the sort. He hesitated in calling Perry, the only one he knew was affiliated with this group, worried that he might be barging in on official business.

Still, despite his obvious misgivings, he had a duty to do, not just to himself or his father. This was for the planet. This was the change that needed to occur. It started here.

He had never been this far west before, having only been in the New England area all his life. He was letting Perry drag him to where he needed to go. He was only going to hold everyone back as the weak link if he did anything different. Faron knew what purpose he served: he was the all-around tech guy of their little brigade. He was quite thankful for this position; he didn't know what he would do with himself if he were to take a life. The fact that this was a great worry of Faron's didn't put him at ease, either. What would he do after this? Would he be found out? What would happen to Maddy?

Faron got up, taking his sack in hand and slinging it over his shoulder, though how he did so was a wonder to him. He looked at his ragtag group, wondering just how exactly he had gotten himself into this situation.

The howl of the engines made something of harmony with the nervous chatter Perry Jones intermittently pipes up with during the flight. Never having spent a great deal of time with people in the last few years, he has a lot of things on his mind that he feels like sharing, though by the same stroke, his relative isolation has left him with a rather striking shyness that shuts him up from time to opportune time. What he talks about would be hard enough to follow even if it weren't half-drowned by the roaring drone of the plane. As it is, it's likely a blessing. Terms like 'being-towards-death' and 'communal destiny' are audible between some yammering on about hawks and sheep and hawks being taught to believe they're sheep and… God knows what else.

Then again, what's to be expected of a man who wears a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words 'No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself - Friedrich Nietzsche' into a covert, potentially terroristic, operation? Mimicking knox, Perry tugs the backpack beneath him free, slinging it over his shoulders and getting unsteadily to his feet. A hand goes out to the inside of the fuselage, to help steady him. These people are strangers, except for Faron, and that's not saying much. Still, he gives the mechanic an uneven, unconvincing smile. "Each moment, redeeming every moment preceding," he says, like these words should be super duper comforting. At least the sentiment is there. He heads for the ramp down, keeping his head low to avoid bumping it on anything, even when there's about zero risk of that. His not wanting to look like a spazz sort of ends up making him look like a spaz. Coincidence of opposites. Pure Hegel.

Huruma, in complete foil to the gentle faced Faron- is all angles and rigidness for the duration of the flight, and the manner that which she keeps herself is not unlike having a cat in a carrier, and stuffing it into a small car full of people. Half the time, she is ignoring everything, the other half, she is making sour faces out of the window. It is not that she hates flying- just that if men were meant to do so, they would have wings. She cannot help but wonder, offhandedly, what her son thinks of flying. Whatever he feels about it, Huruma hazards a guess that it is an unpleasant opinion.

Huruma, as a whole, does not move around much until the plane begins to land; at that time, precisely, she begins the motions of uprooting the pack beneath her, and pulling on the first stage of gear that they will soon need regardless. For her own sake, she did bring genderless equipment; Huruma does not have too hard of a time taking a male role in situations such as this, provided that she covers her face.

By the time the door is folded down into stairs and the passengers of Rupert Carmichael's small beachcraft are heading out onto the tarmac, a white passenger van has already pulled up alongside the plane. One sliding door is open and a tattooed and shaved-head hispanic man stands with arms crossed over his chest and brows furrowed, watching the first of the passengers getting off of the plane with one brow raised. The red cloth tied around his right thigh is indicative of his allegiance with Messiah, and scrutiny is afforded to each of the passengers getting off for that same article of distinctive clothing.

"'Sup holmes," the tattooed man offers with a nod of his head to Knox, offering out a hand to the darkly dressed man. Knox's approach off of the plane comes with a sling of his backpack over one shoulder, reaching out to grasp the stranger's hand in a tight handshake, then drags him forward so he can slap a pat of one hand on his back, a gesture reciprocated by the tattooed thug. "Been a long time, hombre. These your kids now?" There's a nod of his head over to Huruma, Faron and Perry, then a squinted look to the lanky teenager ambling off of the plane behind them.

"All brothers and sisters in arms, Jesse." Knox slowly unwinds from the handshake, nodding to the van. "Kris!" Knox calls out to the teen just now coming down the steps. "Get the luggage out and load it into the van, don't pop it anywhere either, unless you wanna' end up pink sparkly chunks across the tarmac."

Grimacing at the order, Kris rubs oen hand at the back of his neck, then turns around and climbs back up into the plane, muttering something about how the scrawniest person has to carry everything heavy. While Kris is grousing, Knox introduces the unfamiliar member of Messiah to the team.

"This here's Jesse Murphy, buddy a mine from back in Mo-Pen." Knox rolls his shoulders, sliding off his black leather jacket against the humid heat of the Illinois nighttime, throwing his coat inside of the van. "He's been scouting out our target for us. We're going to do a run-down of the situation here before we roll out. I want everybody to listen up so you know what your responsibility is once we get on the go. Our target is a CDC central operations building in downtown Chicago. Intel says they're throwing together building blocks for the H5n10 virus there, and we need to bring the building down, hand of God cleansing by fire style."

As Knox is talking, Jesse is moving into the van, pulling out rolled up paper tubes, sliding elastics off of them and spreading them out on the concrete, holding each end down with junk from his pockets; a switchblade, a cell phone, a 9mm ammo clip and a tin of mints.

As they left the plane and crossed the tarmac, Faron fell in step with Perry. He seemed the most at ease about all this, adn honestly, he felt the most comfortable around the zealous, yet awkward man. He noted Perry's words, though he shrugged them off. /Perry seems a little too gung-ho about all this,/ Faron remarked to himself. /We could be going in there to kill everyone and yet he's offering me 'wise musings.'/

Faron nodded in acknoledgement of Jesse. The more the merrier, he though, more targets meant less shooting at Faron. He didn't offer any words quite yet, as he didn't want to get in the way of Knox. Besides, the less confrontation he caused, the better things would turn out. Killing was not exactly high on his priority list. He fished out his Jets hat from his backpack, slipping it onto his head to keep the sun out of his eyes.

Perry's pack is on the ground, and the young man is plucking his gear (such as it is) from its interior with a concentrated intensity that maybe should be saved for more serious work. He's very much affection a 'man on a mission'. As they're addressed, he looks up sharply, to demonstrate his attention, but just as quickly looks back into his pack. This action, repeated several times, gives the impression of Perry's head being yanked up on a string, then dropped back again. Maybe not the impression he's looking to create.

A many-pocketed slate grey wind breaker is pulled from the backpack and slipped on, its many pockets holding a variety of amateur survivalist gear. One of the pockets is opened, and Perry extracts a neck chord - striped yellow and blue - and attaches its ends to his glasses, a geeky little addition that does have some practical value. Next he tugs on a black woolen skallycap, one stylistic step away from a proper robber mask. He double checks all his goofy little gear - his compass, his mini binoculars, his small LED flashlight - then gets to his feet and stands at attention.

"Don'call me anyone's kid, or I will make with th'fava beans an'chianti." Huruma's comment as she comes to a repose near Knox and Jesse is a stilted one. Otherwise, she is silent as the group of men gather wits and supplies about them, watching with eyes that are vaguely the same shape as the summer moon up above city lights.

Arching one brow to Huruma, Knox cracks a broad smile and seems to enjoy the thickly-accented woman's sharp demeanor the more they work together. For once, he's glad about the last-minute changes that had him being assigned here instead of Rickham. For one, it meant they could go by plane, not the 12-hour long car ride it would have taken with Rickham's several thousand pound body dragged along for the ride.

Lumbering out of the plane, Kris carries a pair of overfilled duffelbags with a frown, shambling down the steps and hunching forward to try and displace the weight from what he's lugging. Circling around the meeting, Kris carefully hefts each bag one by one into the van, then pushes them past the nearest seat and deeper into the back.

"This is the building's layout. Fifteen stories, three central load-bearing support columns. Your typical steel-reinforced concrete shit." For all that the teardrop tattoos at he sides of his eyes and scrollwork on the side of his neck may make him look like an uneducated thug, Jesse Murphy seems to have a fundamental understanding of architecture. It's all right in line with Perry's strong points. "I figure we want to drop the whole building down on itself, make sure there's nothing to be recovered. Peter was pretty specific about what he wanted for the assignment, says he cleared some of the ordinance with you." There's a look up to Perry, then down to the blueprints as he crouches down.

"We've got semtex charges that need to be rigged and ready to go, remote detonators, all that. I dunno where or how to place the charges, but ol' boy told me that was your specialty." There's a nod up to Perry at that, then back down to the building schematics. "We've got a van waiting a block from site, set up with a fuel-air bomb that one of my buddies back east rigged together. This thing's got enough wallop to blow the Devil outta' hell, plan is to drive it up and inside the building and give it a thorough evisceration by fire around the same time the remote explosives go off."

Scratching the inside of his bare arm, Jesse looks up to Huruma, then over to Perry, Faron and Knox in slow order. Only whren Kris comes huffing and puffing over to the meeting does Jesse continue, with a crooked smile.

"Trick is getting in and getting it done. Building's wired with electronic surveillance, but I hear you have an eye in the sky already handling that. So I went and marked out the ground security that I know about. There's a night watch guard out front," Jesse motions to the front of the map. "He watches the entrance gate. Need to take him out quietly, then slipping in with the cameras down will be a breeze."

"What's the building got for personal security on-site?" Knox asks with his arms crossed over his chest, brows furrowed and head slanted down, dark eyes scanning over the picture. Jesse looks up, slides his tongue over his teeth and then looks back down to the map again.

"That I ain't got in full detail. I know there's security personnel on-site, nothing fancy though. Rent-a-cop types, maybe four or five? If they have an emergency response team they aren't kept on location. The trick about this isn't going to be the coup-de-grace, but getting in to the building and planting the explosives inside wherever you need to without alerting every DHS task force within a mile radius. Virginia's got a FRONTLINE team and the last thing I want is to be peeling you guys off the pavement when they come in with their fancy armor and guns."

Looking around the group, Jesse grimaces slightly. "The idea is to get in and out before anyone knows you're there, then pull the building."

Faron cocked an eyebrow. /So that's why we only have a few people here. A small shock troop to blow up the building./ Faron raised a hand, asking to speak up. "What other security systems do they have in there? I mean, they have to have more than foot troops in their halls. The place produces the Evolved virus, it's going to have more than just simple rent-a-cops. Do you have any idea what else they have?"

So now Mr. Jones is demolitions expert? "Uh… well… only in theory not so much in praxis, if you know what I mean," Perry replies, only barely able to suppress a the total nervousness of his laugh, "The charges should, uh, work and everything. As to where to place them… I think I recall the, uh, basic principles involved. Of, uh, of course those places are the ones that will naturally have the best surveillance, outside of, um, the actual high security zones."

"The, uh, the cool thing is that most buildings are designed to sort of just collapse in on themselves when their integrity is, uh, compromised," Perry goes on, as he tends do, "Like a- a- woman in a ball gown, fainting. But if, um, if we want to make sure nothing they dig up is any use, we'll need some charges much closer to the, uh, critical facilities. I'd like if we could shut down that security first. Maybe with, uh, simultaneously detonated remote charges on both the main power routers and the, uh, backup power supply. Make them small, really just tiny charges, and we should have time to get out before they, uh, realize it's more than just a malfunction. Though they might get jumpy, with the auxiliary failing at, uh, the exact same time," he makes a face, "Fishy."

After pause, maybe for breath, "We have building's blueprints, I hope? We'll definitely need those."

"Point me t'where you need me." Huruma has not seemed to really notice if Knox has gotten more keen on her being there; as far as she is concerned, this is simply something to do. So far. Her fights are whatever fights she happens to pop out of the ground in the middle of. This one has managed to catch her attention for being there when she was lacking a remote purpose.

"Even if they did come, I doubt anyone would need t'peel me from anything." The tall woman snorts loudly at the thought. "Why not do this daytime? We'ave faces on this team that are no more than civilians- what is to say they could not'ave walked in an'back out?" While she speaks, Huruma's eyes wander over to aforementioned civilians- in her mind, they are little better than, even if Perry's book brain prints itself up out of his mouth. It is not difficult for her to nitpick out the presence of their various emotions; the last thing she hoped to find was that raw nervousness- It feels as if they are not even attempting to squash it, to the empath.

"I asked the same thing," Jesse says with a motion of his hand to Huruma, "apparently Peter wants to keep civilian casualties to a minimum. Blow it while the workers aren't there, but if you ask me that's a little soft." Jesse shrugs one shoulder, then looks over to Perry with his brows furrowed and slants a quick look up to Knox, then back again.

Rubbing a hand over his shaved head, Jesse looks back down to the blueprints in front of him, then considers how best to answer. "I… I've got floor by floor, if that's what you mean, yeah. They're in the van," there's a nod of his head to the vehicle. "Figure you can look at it en-route, you've got a 45-minute drive out there."

Faron's question though is a legitimate one, but it doesn't look like Jesse has the answers. "From everything I've been given and found out myself, there's a small rent-a-cop security team, but if there's more people either in fast response distance or on premises I haven't been able to find out. Rebel's gone through the building to try and find anything, but he hasn't come up with names or numbers. Hope for the best and plan for the worst, bro."

Sliding the junk from the corners of the blueprints, Jesse starts rolling the map up again, wrapping the elastic band around it and holding out out to Perry. "Far as the security systems go, anything electronic and networked Rebel says he'll shut down the moment you give the sign. That goes for electricity and everything. The backup generator might not be networked to turn off, so you may need to send that down. All up to you, though. As long as the building comes down and burns my job's done."

Picking up his junk that was holding down the map after handing it off to Perry, Jesse stands up straight and jerks a thumb towards the van. "Everybody saddle up. I'm playing driver, you text me when you need extraction and I'm there after I drop you off. There's kevlar vests in the back, might wanna throw them on. Some semi-automatics and a couple of AK-47s if you didn't bring your own hardware."

Faron nodded. So the alarms would be his problem. He could definitely sense a swiveling camera. Faron climbed into the car silently, taking his seat and setting his pack down. He pulled on one of the kevlar vests, feeling rather uncomfortable with it on. He had never worn battle armor before, so it was foreign to him. Slowly, he grabbed one of the automatic rifles stashed away in the van. It felt…foreign to him. He had never held a gun. Not too hard to operate, point and shoot. Still, the power he held in his hand was…staggering. He could feel every part of it as intimately as his own body. After all, it was just a machine, when it came right down to it.

Perry takes the map and hastily tucks it into his backpack before slipping it back over his shoulders. This he does before hearing about the kevlar, so he has to sling the bag right back off himself so he can head over and pick out a vest. It's heavier than he expected, or maybe it's more that the heaviness of 'heavy' is heavier than he thought it would be. A fine distinction, but Perry's all about fine distinctions. A product of his engineer's training. He eyes the AK's with a slightly sour look. Soviet weaponry. Communist gear. Perry has little appreciation for irony in his own life, so he snags on the the semi-automatics, turning it over in his hands, IDing its functional parts from memory and doing a rather slow but thorough check. No intuitive understanding here. Just book learnin'.

"Uh… Faron," Perry says, incliing his head towards the mechanic, "I'd really appreciate your double checking my charge setups on site, if it's feasible. I figure you'd have the best, uh, 'eye' for it." He offers the other man a smile. He feels responsible for Faron in some respect. He is responsible for getting an honest man mixed up in this, after all. And if he's feeling anything like Perry is right now, he might need help feeling competent. So Perry figures.

Afterwards, Perry's eyes cut over to Huruma, though he has to turn his head somewhat to make sure he's looking through the lenses. It's clear she's the pro here. If there's something he's forgetting, he figures she's the one to watch for a reminder.
Whether or not Huruma will grace them all with her experience is something else entirely.

She has no pause in literally suiting up, going from sinewy, wine-dark limbs and morphing herself into a kevlar covered, ambiguous, faceless figure. She will go where directed, much like a giant action figure- in retrospect. She goes with smaller weapons- MACs, mainly, some close-combat weapons perched between slats of body armor for measure.

Knox and Kris are the last two up into the van, with Knox handing back one of the kevlar vests to Kris, then grabbing one for himself, sliding it on over his black tanktop, tugging the straps tight and then grabbing his leather jacket, throwing that on over the vest, leaving it unzipped. The driver's side door opens up while Kris is checking his own gear, a small .22 caliber pistol that has a small enough kick that he can handle it, and a butterfly knife that he incessantly flips open and closed as a nervous tick.

Jesse pulls himself up into the van, adjusting the rear-view mirror to get a look at everyone in the back, then slams the door shut while Knox is twisting around in the passenger seat to look back at everyone. "So we're all clear on this, the more scared you all get the better. I don't like t'announce what I do, but for this mission it's important. Your fear makes me stronger, the more scared you get the more I can break things down. Huruma here's gonna help keep things in check, but if you get afraid… good. A little fear keeps you alive."

It's perhaps not the most comforting words to begin a journey with.

The drive out from the airport to Chicago is a long and awkwardly quiet one, much like the flight itself. Illinois by night is a gritty and industrial place, devoid of much of the collapse that New York has seen over the years. Skyscrapers look cleaner and the lack of a jagged crater of ruined buildings bristling somewhere dark on the horizon makes everything seem more alive. Traffic is busy, even at this hour of night, making the stop and start progress down I-90 towards Chicago slow going.

The supplies that were afforded to the assignment weren't exaggerated in scope. Bricks upon bricks upon bricks of plastic-wrapped Semtex explosives along with a backpack full of home-made detonators that Faron can already see ways to improve receiver signal strength on just with a cursory glance. That a toolbox is present in the van is coincidence, but a fortuitous one, giving him both time and space to fiddle with the detonators, something that — in hindsight — is a hard thing to have ever considered doing with his life.

By the time the Windy City comes into view the differention between the city along I-90 and Chicago itself is hard to find. Pulling down an offramp, Jesse brings the van through the city's heart, past towering skyscrapers and busy car-lined streets, past nightclubs with lines of waiting patrons wrapping around the block, past restaurants and bars, past stores and residential complexes. In the microcosm, Chicago is not much more different than New York.

When the van pulls down a side-street between two large apartment building complexes, the headlights go off and the vehicle eventually rolls to a stop. "Alright, the CDC building is straight ahead on the other side of the block this alley connects to. It's surrounded by an eigh foot concrete security fence, from there on you're on your own. You phone me when you need exraction, I gotta' go pay the bills for mister d'Sarthe keeping the police patrols off this street for a few hours."

Nodding to Jesse, Knox climbs out of the passenger side of the van, then leans in and clasps the younger man's hand in a handshake again. "Truth is Strength, bro." Knox affirms with a nod of his head, then looks to Kris who'se pulling the side door rolling open, hopping out onto the pavement and looking up at the two tall buildings the van id sandwiched between.

Indeed, in the course of the long ride, just the presence of the faulty systems sends images into Faron's head. "Actually, Perry, I think I might want to do that now, while we have the time." Without even a bit of hesitation, without the slightest bit of the unknown, he grabs the toolbox pulling out wirecutters, a handheld soldering iron…anything that can help. And honestly, in his hands, he was a pro.

Over the course of their trip, soft tinkering can be heard from the van. Faron's hands work diligently, with no sign of fear for this. Knox could probably note this as well. He silently cuts, rewires, and secures each brick and detonator. While the software was untouched, the hardware was improved greatly with the tools he had on hand. As they pulled to a stop, Ron almost finished the last detonator, wrapping his work up as he listened, as hard as it was with his ability rampaging through his mind.

Perry has taken the time to really apply himself to those blueprints, murmuring to himself as he squints through his glasses at this or that architectural feature, occasionally poking a spot and and staring at it, unblinkingly, repeating its location to himself over and over. A little weird, but if it's a mnemonic that works, who's to complain? Better than having to pause mid-break-in to 'check the map' so to speak.

He folds the blueprint carefully and slides it into one of his windbreaker's larger pockets, patting it for safe keeping before piling out of the van, holding the door open for whomever will follow. Well trained little feller.

Faron slowly got out of the van, feeling a bit tired from the mental work he had just undergone. In actuality he had never exerted his ability in real time in conjunction with actually doing something alongside it. However, something awoke inside his mind, a drive he hadn't felt before. He was doing something. Something productive, something for the human race. His hands may have just created things of destruction, but with that destruction would come a new chance for the population of earth, and for him.

Faron almost chuckled to himself at his sudden philosophical mentality, creditting it to Perry's maddened ramblings. Still, he leaves the van and stands behind Knox, patiently awaiting his orders. After all, this operation was Knox's; Faron was there as the tech lacky.

Perry stays stationed at the door, adopting a position of deference towards Huruma. This is just a natural product of his proto-fascist inclination towards discipline and hierarchy. Faron's a fellow, a someone normal who is stepping up to become someone great through natural gift and association with a Cause. Huruma's quite obviously an experienced hand, someone who has lived in the greatness of struggle for some time. At least that's Perry's feeling. He held the door for Faron as a comrade. Huruma gets the door held as a superior. This all gives Mr. Jones a sense of belonging. It's a strange kind of comfort.

This all doesn't stop him from glancing over at Knox as often as he may. He doesn't want to miss anything.

Huruma treats all of them as inferiors, if it helps her to think. It does. Though Knox is slightly above rank compared to the others, she offers him the same exact sterile mood. She watches and waits for the duration of the trip, taking notes as they come, and making observations as they produce themselves. Insofar as paying attention to her surroundings, she does very well.

The tall woman steps from the van when motioned to do so, slung heavily with gun and the matte black grips of knives tucked along the ribcage of her armor. Huruma waits against the van for the first few seconds, looking off to the other dark face for secondary instruction on actually entering the grounds. Getting here with supplies in tow is one thing. Being able to use this properly is another. Never being on a true operation with any of these men- it gives Huruma a good reason to be dubious by default.

"Jesse," Knox looks over his shoulder to the tattooed man climbing back into the driver's seat of the van. Jessu pauses, offering a look over one bare shoulder to Knox, brow raised. "Watch for the fireworks," Knox notes with a broad smile, offering the gesture of a closed fist to Jesse, which is returned in like kind as Knox turns his back on the van, adjusting the straps of his backpack as he starts treading down the alley at the fore of the group.

"Huruma, when we get to the perimeter fence, Im'a need you to see how many people you can feel. We've got one pair of guards at the gate and I dunno how many more inside. Perry and Faron, you stick close to me until we get inside." Boots treading noisily on the pavement underfoot as he hustles down the alley, Knox continues to give a rough estimate of a plan as he walks, putting it together based on the skeleton figured out on the tarmac when they landed.

"When we get inside, we're gonna' have t'split up. Huruma an Faron can head downstairs t'take out the reserve generator. We've got enough spare explosives to handle that, then me an' Perry will go up to the fifth floor and rig the charges to blow. We'll meet in the lobby to get out before Rebel sets everything off…"

Faron nodded in silent agreement before heading off with this big…BIG lady. He could tell from her stance and demeanor that she wasn't someone to be messed with, that she had experience in the field. Still, He felt uneasy being around her. One could think it was because he mgiht be uncomfortable in this situation, which he was, but it was more that she was just so…weird-looking. Still, it needed to be done. He moved off the Huruma, letting her lead the way. After all, /she/ was the experienced one.

Perry nods his understanding after he pushes the door shut. He steps up next to Knox, ready to start and remain as close as he's ordered, his lean legs scissoring as only legs with a sense of purpose, or at least a sense of a sense of purpose, can. "What happens," he inquires, "If, uh, say, we bump into one of these rent-a-cops? What if, um, one of us gets IDed or something?" What he's asking, really, is 'do we have to actually shoot anyone?'

Huruma's field, having sat small, expands virtually on request. Bristling whiskers turn into an invisible current that arcs high and wide through their surroundings, unfelt through the minds of her other teammates. She picks out each of their signature presences, one by one, committing them to immediate memory. As they move, her ears stay receptive to the words of their mouths and the shivers of mood.

"Incapacitate them. Permanently." Huruma's answer is swift, at the volume of a hiss. If these boys are not willing to save themselves, there should be little reason they jump to save others.

Knox doesn't need to correct Huruma's orders, she's got it exactly where it needs to be. Behind them, the sound of the van's engine starting and Jesse pulling out of the alleyway comes with a cut of headlights sweeping at their backs. The trek down the alley crammed between these two towering brick buildings feels longer than it is, a figurative five minute hallway if only in the way human perception slows things down as tension and adrenaline begin to take hold.

Jesse's commentary about a Mister d'Sarthe keeping the police off of their usual routes seems to have paid off. The street that the alleyway empties out on is devoid of traffic, and this late at night the presence of Messiah's operatives goes unnoticed in the shadows of the alley mouth. Lifting up his cell phone, Knox speaks quietly into it. "We're across the street, kill the lamps."

As those words are spoken, the street lights flicker out one by one, throwing the road into darkness, save for the vertical banding of illuminated windows in the tall CDC operations building across the street. Knox sharply nods his head, breaking into a sprint as he rushes across the street towards the eight foot high concrete wall surrounding the grounds of the CDC's central operations building, coming to a skidding halt some forty feet down the wall from the vehicle entrance, where a black and yellow arm-gate is closed, and two security guards occupying a glass booth are looking up at the street lights that have gone out, one of them on a land-line phone with a confused look on his face.

Knox makes a waving motion to the other three, calling them over to duck beside the wall with him.
page huruma=Huruma can obviously /see/ the two guards in the booth by the gate, and then beyond the wall there's a big empty area devoid of emotions and minds, and then on the edge of her senses she can pick up a couple people in what is probably the lobby. Front-desk types.
You paged Huruma with 'Huruma can obviously /see/ the two guards in the booth by the gate, and then beyond the wall there's a big empty area devoid of emotions and minds, and then on the edge of her senses she can pick up a couple people in what is probably the lobby. Front-desk types.'

Faron has a hard time actually booking it. Honestly, he's not in perfect shape, like the others. Surely the heavy armor and gun weighed him down as well. He does manage to keep up, though, as he moves beside Knox when he motions for them. He closed his eyes, sensing the mechanical workings of the gate innately. He shook off the feeling of overwhelmingness. They would take care of it, no problem. He needed to concentrate, despite his fear and worry. Indeed, Knox could probably smell the stench of fear. Does he need words of encouragement, or more fuel to his fire?

Is Perry supposed to crouch down when he runs? Not his legs, of course, but the rest of his body? He's only ever seen war movies, and even then he likes the parts with soldiers marching in unison rather than the real nitty-gritty of combat. He does his best to just imitate Knox as he scurries, pel mel, towards the wall, striking the wall with the side of his body and a dull 'thud' when he reaches it, unable to control his momentum yet. Yeah, it's amateur hour over here. Points for good honest can-do spirit, though.

Huruma comes up right behind Knox, practically in the steps he leaves behind in the path to the wall. She presses part of herself up against the wall, eyes roving upwards to the building's peak and then over to the others again. "Th'two there- a couple jus'inside- I do'no'feel anything different- they seem calm enough." Likely as they are desk jockeys, from the sound of it. "Unlike our pups."

There's a smile at Huruma's assertion about the pups, and Knox flashes a smile to the woman at his back over one shoulder. "Good fit, ain't it?" is his whispered response, enjoying both their eagerness and naivete as well as their fuel to his proverbial fire. In a way, it's an unvoiced answer to Faron's own personal predicament.

However there's something — or someone — missing from this equation. The last time anyone on the team saw Kristian Bender, he was getting his kevlar vest on outside of the van, then climbed back inside to retrieve something and never actually made it back out when they started departing. Here, croushed by the wall with just a four-man team, it almost seems like Knox has forgotten about his skinny, fauxhawked backup. Breathing in the muscle-shaking sensations of Faron's fear and tension, Knox tries his best to still his jittery limps that just want to move with all this excess energy.

Listening to Huruma's report, Knox gives a slow nod of his head as recognition. Turning the cell phone over in his gloved hand repeatedly, Knox looks like he's waiting for something, waiting for a sign on when to move. Before it can alarm the security guards too much, the street lights one by one come back on again, looking as though they had just flickered out briefly. The screen on Knox's phone lights up, message reflecting across his dark eyes.

Lifting the phone up to his ear, Knox's lips cannot help but find themselves shaped into smile by eager anticipation.

On the outside, the towering fifteen story CDC Central Affairs building seems dwarfed by the surrounding skyscrapers in the downtown Chicago area. Under the glittering shine of streetlights and stars from a clear sky overhead, this dimly lit building looks inoccuous on the surface, but somewhere behind concrete walls and glass windows lies what a group of people gathered on the streets of Chicago have come to circumvent, the development of a lethal virus designed to kill the Evolved.

Their approach to the building was a synchronized thing, swift in its efficiency for the most part. But it truly begins with the halting of the external security cameras, a notice coming across each of the darkly dressed infiltrators cell phones one by one from Rebel that the security network and telecommunications systems have been neutralized. Crouched down behind the tall wall blocking off the gated entrance to the buildings grounds, Benjamin Washington, Pericles Jones, Faron Mathers and Huruma are prepared to accomplish something that will, undoubtedly, bring a spotlight on their efforts.

"Rebel says we're good to go in, Kris," and perhaps in that is explanation for the young man's seeming absence, "they're all yours." And with Knox's one standing order, everything begins.

The sudden crackle-snap of pinkish-red energy inside the guard booth comes with a muffled scream and a gugrling choke. It looks like sparks of electricity, but the color is all wrong, the shade of diluted blood and milk with darker red edges snapping behind the glass.

A spray of real, visceral blood sprays across the glass window of the guard post, and a bare palm tracks red down the glass before the hard to see body slouches completely out of sight.

There's another crackle-snap and this one right on the sidewalk as Kristian Bender appears in a flash of vermilion energy, smoke rising off of his leather jacket in thin coils and blood dripping off of his unfolded butterfly knife, a streak of smudged red across one cheek. "I'll meet you on the fifth floor," Kris states with a flip-click of his knife closed, and then a crackle-snap as he disappears in a flash of sparkling pink-red energy like fireworks.

That is Knox's sign it would seem, because as soon as Kris disappears, Knox is boosting himself up to dash along the wall and then duck beneath the yellow and black arm blocking cars from entrering the CDC building's parking lot. Booted feet thunder into the twenty car lot, heading towards a manicured park space out front of the building, where green hedges, trimmed grass and flowering trees surround a brick courtyard and an illuminated fountain of geometric stone shapes en-route to the front of the building.

Faron hears the chaos just feet away from him. He couldn't tell what was going on from behind the wall, and maybe it was a good thing. As soon as he stepped out, following Knox, he glanced over at the booth. An almost instant gag reflex wracked his body, pulling him to a stop. /My…my god, what am I doing here?/ He stopped in his tracks, trying to stiffle his want to vomit. After a split second his sanity kicks back in. He needed to move. No doubt something was tripped in that excursion, so they needed to move, and quickly. He moved with his troupe, following Huruma. She could most certainately feel his anxiety, how close to tears he was.

Mein Gott…

Those were the first deaths Perry has ever witnessed in person. And he was party to them. He feels… very little. He feels only the absence of the feeling he thinks he should feel. He feels…

But he has no time for that. The metaphenomena of guilt have no place in the midst of a mission. It is time to be-in-the-world. It's time to blow shit up. Pericles Jones grips his weapon in both hands and dashes after Faron, keeping low in the dark. Within him is a need for resolve, and slowly that very feeling begins to flow into the chora prepared for it. Just as their team courses towards the entrance to the CDC. Though it should be anything but prepared.

Huruma lags a couple of steps when they start moving, virtually threatening to drag the 'pups' along by the scruffs. Thankfully, she does not have to, and therefore is left to the simple task of making sure that they follow Knox the entire way across the court. Huruma clips close behind, shadows of long limbs taking her over the gardens and concrete like a great arachnid in the night, skittering fast to shade. Still only the few people, so far as she can feel. As for what the boys are feeling-

-they had best get used to it.

Confusion has already set in to the guards in the lobby, and Huruma can feel their fear and anxiety throbbing like waves from their minds into her preternatural senses. Pointing to Perry, Knox motions to follow him, then points for Faron to stick with Huruma. This is obviously not far from where they're splitting up. Stepping out from the shadows of one of those flowering trees, Knox stays crouched as he approaches the concrete stairs going to the front of the building, all the internal lights off beyond the glass-walled facade of the lobby hiding the presence of the security team from everyone but Huruma.

"Perry," Knox sharply whispers to get Mr.Jones' attention, "I'm gonna' open the door," is an understated point, "then get the guards' attention, draw their fire. Pop 'em when they're visible." Nodding to punctuate his sentence, Knox creeps up the stairs, staying low and in the dark of the building's shadow.

When he reaches the glass wall and locked doors, there's no dismantling of the electronic locks. There's no technopathic mojo called down from Rebel to quietly open the entrance. Knox's plan requires that their presence be known, and when he clenches his fists together to give Perry that opening, there's no way the guards can miss what comes next.

Winding up and screaming, Knox lunges towards the reinforced bullet-proof glass facade of the lobby, slamming his fist against the two inch thick surface with only leather gloved hands. His voice reverberates off of the glass and his knuckles shatter the surface on impact. Glass spiderwebs out in a shower of tiny white shards as the wall bows around the impact of his fist like a crater. A ripple of shockwave fromt he impact rolls thorugh the glass wall before the entire thing explodes into the lobby and sends showers of green-white safety glass everywhere.

Like a large, wiry bulls-eye, Knox's attack on the entrance alerts the two guards sitting behind the brushed metal front desk, both of them popping up into sight with flashlights crossed beneath pistols, fear and shock stiffening their muscles and causing their hands to tremble. The first gunshot that goes off isn't Perry's, a round fired nowhere near Knox, whipping out the now demolished entryway.

Hopefully it's the last shot they get to fire.

Perry's on high alert, trying not to leave room for shock or any other interfering emotions. Knox gets to see a nod of understanding, of comprehension, and the lifting of a semi-automatic into ready position. Perry doesn't put an eye down the sights yet. He needs something to look at first.

Knox certainly gives the guards something to look at. It's all Perry can do not to get completely distracted by this display, as bad as a rent-a-cop himself. But the first gunshot makes the situation much too real to be ignored. Finding the targets, Perry lifts the gun to eye level, and fires a quick burst not at the guards, who are hard to see in the dark and the glare of the flashlights, but at the flashlights themselves. And then another. Sweeping back and forth between the lifted lights, so conveniently provided for Perry's apprentice marksmanship.

Huruma will only need to fire should Perry not aim true; if he does, she will feel those emotions fall off of her radar as if they were swallowed whole. "You, boy." No preamble, no warning. Huruma latches one hand into the fabric flesh of Faron's bodyarmor, practically dragging him along for a couple sprinting steps before letting go, getting him to follow her off to the left of the entrance that Knox has made.

"Downstairs. Go down first, I will cover you." Her low voice rumbling in his personal space comes as they near the door of the first level of stairwell.

Despite his obvious misgivings, Faron felt a bit used, even if he was just a lackey. "Hey now, you're the expert here. Like hell I'm going to go out there to become swiss cheese." Faron glared at her, but somehow, he knew he couldn't take on her strong personality. Maybe logic would work. "Side by side. You be the muscle, put a hole in anyone you see. I'll be able to detect any alarm systems they might have on them, they each bring out an electric signal. I can pop that guy while you take on the bulk of the group." Faron looked at her with a fierceness. He was getting serious. "You can't argue with that strategy. Besides, I barely know how to fire a gun, you already do, or so I presume."

Despite his obvious misgivings, Faron nods at Huruma. Slowly, he opens the door, knowing she could feel anyone who got close. He felt her behind him as he walked down the halls, letting his senses wander, hoping to detect any sort of alarm or machine nearby, something to give him some sort of semblence of where he was. "You know where we're going, right? Please tell me you do." Ron glances back at her while keeping his mind open.

The look that Knox sends back to Huruma over his shoulder seems to be playful, a flash of his brows showing amusement amidst the carnage at the choice of compatriot she's been given. Maybe it's something of a joke from Knox to Huruma, maybe he hopes she squeezes the weakness out of him like toothpaste from a tube.

Boots treading across broken glass through the lobby, Knox makes his way towards the security desk under the glow of the dim emergency lights sustained by the backup generator. The humor drains from his face as he approaches the desk warily, creeping across the glass-strewn tile floor to take in the view of one of the blue-shirted front desk security guards laying flat on his back, motionless in a pool of dark blood.

The whimpering he hears and the fear he senses comes from the one that survived. Curled up on his side, hands clutched at his chest and choking wetly from a gunshot wound that perforated his lung, this guard is lit by the flashlight he dropped on being shot, spun around on the floor and shining into his face.

Stepping around the body of the first fallen, what Knox does next is shielded from view by the brushed metal facade of the desk. His posture changes, one boot comes down in a stomp and there's a cracking pop muffled by thickness of neck muscle and cartilidge that is now broken. Huruma can feel that conscious mind flicker away from her mind, leaving only allies emotions in the lobby.

"Just follow your phones," Knox finally answers to Faron's stammering question to Huruma. Lifting his phone up, Knox waggles its glowing screen around in the air. "Rebel is giving us a live feed of the layout, Huruma and Faron, your phones should show the way to the backup generator. Perry," Knox nods his head in the direction of one of the elevators that should be out of service. "You're with me."

Rebel's manipulation of circuit breakers and electrical grids has a ding come from one of the elevators as Knox steps inside the sputteringly illuminated thing, looking back to Faron and Huruma. "You get to take the stairs, I think."

Faron blinks at Knox for a second then realizes what he was saying. He pulled out his phone, reading the screen. "…Okay, got it. Thanks." Now with a bit more determination, he moves to the stairs, following the floor plans on his phone. He let Huruma do the guarding, she seemed best at it. Now knowing where he was going, he led the two of them down the darkened corridors, hoping to sense something mechanical or at least electronic, so he could be a bit more useful than "point-man and target", but he seemed to exude a slight air of careful confidence, now that he was able to lead the two of them.

Perry is shivering from the adrenaline he didn't even know was pumping through him as he opened fire. He feels like he's walking underwater as he trails after Knox, needing to see what he's done, needing to honor- oh Jesus.

He can't look. Not at first. He turns away, one color draining from his cheeks, replaced by another, more sickly one. The crack of the last guard's neck, while its certainly a mercy, is, as a sound, stomach-churning. The young electrical engineer takes long, deep breathes as he tries to prevent something bad happening. He's not sure what - vomiting, faintness, crippling guilt. Just something bad. And, in time, it passes. He can't quite look at the men he's killed, though.

So instead he takes out his phone and flicks it open. Orienting himself in space. Orienting himself. He doesn't say anything, not trusting himself to avoid an embarrassing stammer. He follows after Knox without a word. He wanted to bid Faron good luck. That was his plan. But plans change. A lot of things change.

"Barely." Huruma paid attention, but only just enough. She pauses to examine the solid ceiling with a bird-like cant of her head, peering there for a moment before continuing onward again with Faron at her side. She allows him helm with the phone, though she stalks forward a few paces at a time, gun drawn, just in case. There is always a just in case. She moves down the primary corridor, and left around the next corner. Huruma's continuous movements a few feet ahead of him show him enough to keep him going, passing by unmarked, locked doors. One is labeled, though. 'Broom Closet'. Figures.

Watching Perry step in to the elevator as Huruma and Faron depart, Knox doesn't even need to hit a button and the doors slide shut and the light for floor 5 is illuminated. With Rebel steering this particular path, it affords the team's leader time to turn his attention to Pericles. "You did what you had t'do…" Knox intones in a hushed voice, phone gripped in one gloved hand. "I see that look in your eyes, see how pale you is," his brows knit together, "but you gotta' realize, these people…" there's a gesture to the closed elevator doors, "they're sacrifices for the better of all'a us."

As the elevator jerks to life and begins to ascend, Knox looks to his own muted reflection in the metallic interior of the doors. "They woulda' killed us if they had the chance, woulda' stopped us. They'd let this sickness keep on goin', let the monster's work done here keep goin' on. You can feel bad, I ain't tellin' you not to…"

Reaching out a gloved hand, Knox slaps it on Perry's shoulder and gives it a squeeze that is surprisingly precise in the measured force, despite what his grip could have done. "You jus' need to put it up, for later. Grieve for them dead boys when you get home, an' know that they died doin' what they thought was right, an' that's not a bad way to go down."

Admittedly, Faron's air of confidence petered down to a mere shadow of what it was. His face, illuminated by the phone, looked a bit confused. "…Um, Huruma was it? Do you sense anyone?" He suspected that was the case with her, that he could sense people, though how she did so was beyond his scope of ideas. "I mean, I don't exactly want to turn a corner and become swiss cheese, yeah?"

Perry nods. He had those excus- no justifications - on hand already, but they mean a lot more coming from someone else. It's easier to believe what others believe. Shared belief feels less like simple faith and more like agreed-upon truth. The grip on his shoulder ground him. The underwater feeling fades. "They died as men," he says, "Being. B- better than dying in a- a- bed, denying." Because denial is something Perry would never cleave to. No sirrie.

Perry takes the brief respite in the elevator to eject his clip and check the number of remaining rounds. He's not even close to experienced enough to just remember. Enough are left that it seems wasteful to switch. He drives the clip back in, takes the gun firmly back into both hands. "Let's make this worthwhile," he suggests to his reflection.

"If I do, they will b'dead b'fore you realize they are here." If anything, Huruma is extremely efficient. She disappears, peeking back around the corner and coming just inches from Faron's face. "We shoul'be almost there. Come on." And she moves on again, searching for their destination.

There's a chime from the elevator as the doors slowly slide open, splitting Perry's reflection in half as they move, revealing the spacious and open floor of a revonated office space. What was at one time likely a cubicle farm is in the process of being remodeled. Only iron I-Beams support the ceiling, along with three very visible concrete support columns reinforced with unseen steel mixed in with the stone. Hanging lights, loose wires, ladders and construction equipment litter the room.

It's fortunate— almost impossibly so— that the fifty floor where the demolition is to take place is abandoned like this. No walls, no furniture, and the concrete struts bearing the weight of the building so visibly exposed. Knox steps out of the elevator first, nosr rankled as he sniffs the air, treading acros the bare concrete floor, kicking aside an errant tape measure and soon turning his attention to the large floor to ceiling windows dominating one entire wall.

Turning to look out over the Chicago skyline, Knox's brows furrow and his neck cranes as he realizes something: Wasn't Kris supposed to be up here?

Down below the lobby, where Huruma and Faron wind thorugh maintenance corridors and past unmarked steel doors, their progress takes them past the ventillation systems, past maintenance offices unstaffed and strangely empty rooms devoid of furnishings and decoration beyond darkened glass. It feels haunting, like half a building, maybe that's why this place is being used as the front for virus development. Legitimate on the outside, something more inister within? Either way, it doesn't settle right with either Huruma or Faron.

But on their phones both a red flashing marker indicates that they've reached their destination. An unlocked metal security door closes off the generator room, noisy and cramped judging from the sounds rumbling on the other side where the generator operates.

How could Faron expect to get this close to a generator and not feel something? The powerful machine gives him a bit of a headache as they approach the door. "Um, yeah, we're here." she probably knew that from their phone, but he could certainately feel they were there. He had noticed a distinct lack of…well, anyhting when they navigated the corridors. The whole thing stank of something awful, and it gave credit to the reason why they were here. Thing was, what exactly were they making here.

Regardless, he wasn't here to question. He was here to blow things up. You could never know some alarms and he tried to sense something about the door, something that would scream "ALARM". Or at least try, seeing as how the generator seemed to be overwhelming his senses with the energy it produced.

Perry steps out of the elevator and, with a precision that was only previously pantomimed, slips off his backpack and kneels before it. He opens his jacket pocket and extracts the blueprint, unfolding it and double checking the charge locations. He nods to Knox. "Follow me," he says, trying to conquer his trepidation, his dark feelings, with a steeliness that, upon enacting, he somehow feels. At least for now. He makes his way to the first load-bearing feature, glancing about to make sure he's going where he ought to.

"Go inside. I will wait f'you." Huruma's tone simmers as she eyes the door to the cramped room; she tilts her head upwards again, gun in her arms. It is a testament to who she is, that she may hold a baby with the same arms, bounce her with the same hands now smelling of warm metal and faintly of gunpowder.

That there are alarms on the backup generator door should be a concern to Faron, but that they are disabled in a boon to the progress to be had here. The door is unlocked and security is disabled, all the touches of a technopath's assistance. It affords Faron ease of entrance into the large cramped reserve generator room, where the large, humming piece of machinery rumbles away noisily. It's not the most elegant piece of hardware, a diesel powered thing designed to kick on when primary power cuts out.

The small charges that Faron was tinkering with in the van should be more than enough to demolish the generator and cut the power to the building, and the thankful presence of flashlights should keep the unfortunate onset of pitch blackness that comes afterward from being entirely crippling. This is Faron's work to do, however, and with Huruma situated out in the hall on watch there is little for him to worry about, nothing obvious anyway.

On the building's fifth floor, Knox's slow progression behind Perry is hesitant. "Kris was supposed to be— " the second those words come out from Knox's mouth there's a loud crackle-snap of pinkish red light as Kris comes exploding into the room in mid-tumble, falling backwards and landing on one shoulder before being thrown by momentum head over heels before landing against a support column near Perry.

"S— sorry!" Kris blurts out, "Popped onto the wrong floor!" There's a noise of movement from the opposite end of the floor, from the north stairwell where the sounds of stmping feet coming up the stairs are approaching.

Knox's eyes go wide, picking up his phone and checking it for alerts and finding none. Nothing Rebel can do about this. Knox moves across the floor, diving behind one of the concrete columns as the stairwell door flings open and members of a private security company hired to protect the building come bursting in. The Stillwater Securities team roll in with the heave of a black plastic object that bounces across the floor.

"Kris! Basement!" Knox manages to shout, and in the same moment that Kris explodes into a shower of pinkish-red sparkling light, the flashbang that the Stillwater Security forces threw into the room detonates with a concussive bang and a blinding glare of light visible thorugh those windows from the street.

In the basement, Huruma immediately feels the emergence of a thinking mind when she hears a yelp from the broom closet down the hall and sees a flash of pink light from beneath the door.

Faron jumps at the yelp, looking back at Huruma to investigate. She would do her job, don't worry, he kept telling himself. Nervously, he set the charges around the generator, where he thought they would do the most damage. Then again, with even small charges like this, they could make a sizable boom. They needed to leave, and fast. Rubbing his head from being so close to the generator, he sits up, his job done. "All set, Huruma, let's go." Not even noticing she wasn't there, Ron left the room, closing the door behind him. Best not to leave anything to chance.

Oh no. This is doubleplusungood. Perry's 'man in charge' act drops with all the suddenness of Kris's appearance, though much less flash. Much much less flash than the grenade that clatters into view. It's a good thing Knox is here to actually lead by example, because Perry would have been caught dead to rights by the Stillwater Security forces. As it is, he finds his own pillar to duck behind, his gun clutched like a talisman. The grenade's explosion pounds through his head, a sharp pain resolving into a high pitched whine as his ears howl their displeasure. What are you doing to us? What are you doing?

Perry has no idea. He doesn't want to shoot, in case he needs to remain undetected. He doesn't want to stay here, in case he gets caught. He doesn't want to move, because he has no idea where to go.


Huruma takes her time in sauntering back to the broom closet, peering at the door before cracking it open. "Boo. Well, as long as she is here, she is going to have a little bit of fun.

Startled in his battle with a mop in the broom closer, Kris looks a bit mortified in the situation Huruma finds him in. Stumbling out of the broom closet, he hops with a bucket stuck on one foot, kicking it off to clatter noisily inside the closet after his departure. Smoke once more is rising off of his jacket and also off of his hair, skin reddened looking in the glow of the emergency lights. "C— Christ," Kris hisses, patting down his arms and chest, swatting at his fauxhawk and trying to make sure he's not on fire.

"Hey, oh— man, Huruma, Faron. We gotta' get up to the fifth floor. Security team's up there— Knox and Perry are… I dunno, I dunno, we gotta' go." Kris holds out one hand to Huruma, then looks past her to Faron as the young man is making his way out of the generator room. "Take my hand— take my hand and close your eyes. Trust me. I'm going to snap us up to the fifth floor."

Many stories up from the basement, Knox's vision is blurred, artefacts of double images and whining ringing in his ears has him stunned, while Perry's fear is making him remarkably strong, it is the lack of senses with which to put his strength to use that causes the most difficulty.

With both he and Perry blinded, all they can hear are the approaching bootfalls of the security team's approach, and blind scrambling accompanied by a wild swinging flail of one of Knox's arms does nothing. All Perry can hear from behind his cover is a soft snap and then a clicking buzz followed by Knox's howling scream as he is struck by the electric darts of a taser rifle.

Faron is initially a bit hesitant to grab the man's hand. What would happen to him if he "popped" with Kris? Regardless, he slowly grasps the man's hand, clutching his armament tightly with his other. He was remarkably tense as he would be teleported into utter chaos.

Perry flinches at the sound of Knox's scream, the natural empathy of a human hearing another human in pain. He bites his lip, hard, and grips his weapon with trembling hands. If they come for him… what will he do? Fight? He's not sure he's yet that brave. But he's killed. What will they do to him, if they take him? Moot point, really, being blind and nearly deaf (if only here were deaf enough not to hear the clicking buzz).

As Huruma's hand slips into Kris', he can feel himself calming down- enough so that his sheer panic- will no longer be such an issue. There is a readying click of her gun- she is ready to go- fire away.

Confidence isn't typically something Kris has in spades. Sure, he knows Huruma is an empath, knows she can sense people at a distance and make them afraid, but the more positive sides of her ability have always been a mystery to him. When she and Faron both take his hands, Kris clenches his brows and focuses up on the fifth floor, and in that instant both Faron and Huruma can feel a rippling wave of heat wash over them, like the tingling warmth of the sun on a hot summer day before —

Perry's vision begins to come back into focus, blinding white and blotches of color subsiding to a blurry reality with ringing in his ears dulling to the sounds of the security team shouting orders to Knox. The words themselves are too muffled but the tones are not. He can make out sixteen— wait, no— eight security guards after he stops the blur of double vision making things seem worse than they really are.

Knox is on his side, out in the open, writhing around on the ground as he is continuously tasered by one of the security team members. The other men, all of them dressed in gray uniforms with black body armor are armed, most of them have assault rifles while one is armed with the taser rifle twisting Knox into a spastic twitching heap of helpless muscle.

The sudden eruption of pinkish sparks not far away comes as Kris materializes with smoke rising up off of his jacket and singed hair and eyebrows, hissing from pain and recoiling away with peeling, sunburnt skin on his face. Huruma and Faron, whom are both in company with Kris in his appearance from sparkling light, seem no worse for wear at all, since they've only had to teleport the one time.

The security team wasn't expecting that.

Faron blinks at his sudden new placement. /What the…/ He immediately notices the security guards, or, more correctly, their, guns. Faron, almost petrified, suddenly snaps to action, darting behind the closest cover he can find, a column of concrete. His mind was a screaming mix of curses and a neverending mantra of "ohmygodohmygodohmygod."

Faron, peaking from cover, notices Knox in the middle of the room. Just laying there, out in the open. Keeping his rifle at the ready, he darted from cover to cover, hoping to god not to draw fire. Barely able to reach Knox and with a great amount of trouble, he tries to pull the man into cover.

His vision is back. Reinforcements are here. Perry's heart, already beating madly, starts beating to a less desperate, helpless rhythm. He pulls himself around the corner of the pillar, regaining his cover, and squints out at those eight figures. And that's when he properly sees what these men are doing to Knox.

The weak will always try to tear down the strong. Their resentment is such that they will never rest until the strong are utterly humiliated. They are barely men, these Last Men before him. Perry lifts his weapon and takes aim once more. This time he can see his targets properly. This time he means to kill them, and with killing intent, he pulls the trigger, aiming high, at shoulders and heads.

The moment that Huruma reappears, the pings in her radar clear like ringing bells, shadows in her gaze. Like buckshot, they are immediately riddled with flashbangs of fear, panic, terror, pockmarking minds like small bombs. She moves after Faron a few paces behind, taking this extra time to begin open fire.

Pushed to his limit, Perry Jones finds himself discovering a hidden reservoir of ruthlessness he was not yet aware he had. While gunshots ring out in the confusion of Kristian's teleportation, one of the security team goes down with a jerk of his head, blood spraying from the side of his face as he collapses to the floor unmoving.

To say that Faron did not discover his own bravery in this chaos would be short-selling the young man, running through the hail of Perry gunfire to drag Knox away from the men who were tasering him ruthlessly. Knox's weak and twitching body is pulled backwards by the young mechanic, and despite his tremendous strength, Knox himself is surprisingly light and wiry in build, not nearly as muscular as his bulky leather jacket implies.

Huruma's assault is what seals the deal, sending a wave of horrifying psychosis through the security team, and in this fear turns them unexpectedly against each other. Gunfire rips thorugh the fifth floor, shattering windows, ricocheting off of concrete as heedless spraying gunfire comes from the overwhelmed men gripped in the throes of panic.

More of Perry's gunfire devours the last of his clip, but also pulverives the throat of one of the guards, sending him staggering back towards the windows blown out by gunfire, legs tangling in an extension cord as he goes tumbling out the window, the cort unwinding in a spool of orange before growing taut where it is pinched bethind a fallen pile of sheetrock. The guard swings in mid-air from his leg-bound noose, smacking wetly up against a lower window.

Cowering away from the gunfire and looking at his heat-seared hands, Kris hisses heavy breathing out through parted lips, watching as Knox finally finds his strength in the euphoria fo fear provided by Huruma. The wiry man pulls himself up with Faron's help, then shoves away from the young mechanic, tackling one of the security guards into a concrete wall. The stone dimples in a shatter around Knox's attack, the same way the guard's spine breaks inside of his back and organs rupture in the sack of his stomach.

Picking up the guard's limp body, Knox lets out a howl as he swings the limp corpse by the legs, swatting another security guard like a fly out one of the windows, arms and legs windmilling as he screams for the entirety of his descent.

Dropping the corpse he just used as a weapon, Knox takes a knee and clenches his jaws, hands trembling still from the earlier electrocution. "P— //Perry," Knox splutters in the haunting silence that follows such a burst of violence. "Hurry up."

Faron twitches at the sight of Knox's rampage. What power! Ron was so inferior to that level of power. Still, he might have did his part. Rushing over to Perry, he decides that they need to get this job done so they can get out of there, and fast. "Where do the charges go?" His sudden demandingness is rather out of character, but it could very well be due to the great amount of fear he was trying to hide. He wanted out of the building, and he wanted out now.

Perry pulls himself to his feet, his head still throbbing, yet more adrenal shivers coursing through him. The empty weapon is tossed, skidding across the floor towards his backpack, freeing his hands to point to the load bearing columns. "In the backpacks," he states, voice flat, toneless, "Faron, a charge there. Ms. Huruma, there if you would. Kris - over there. When you're done, Faron, doublecheck them all." He's not so much giving orders as providing instructions.

Perry trusts himself, mostly, though he looks around for the blueprints - he dropped them at some point during the ensuing mayhem - and when he finds them, sprinkled with blasted concrete but otherwise in good condition, he stoops over them, brushing them clean and and smoothing them out. Doing his own doublecheck. Yes. Yes. This should work. He gets to his feet, going to retrieve an explosive of his own, to take part in this labor.

Fingers twitching and skin singed by his own ability, Kris seems reluctant to handle to explosive charges, but as he limpingly makes his way over to the bag the sound of distant sirens wailing across the night sky thorugh the blown out windows give him a little additional pep in his step. Carrying the shaped charge over to one of the columns, Kris crouches down and begins affixing it to the support column, hands shaking as he does out of pain more so than fear.

Huruma's silent, slkinking form treads thorugh the pools of blood left out by the guards, and her graceful strides over to one fo the columns has her crouching in one swift motion and — with a hand that does not seem unfamiliar with explosives — begins attaching the bomb to where Perry suggested. She is so a woman of many colors and stripes.

Hearing the sirens, Knox pushes himself up to his feet and shakes off the tingling pain from his arms as he walks to the windows, listening to the approaching sound with nervous anticipation. "Perry, when this is ready to go," there's a look over his shoulder, and Knox's voice is a touch sharper than it was before in the wake of his experience at the hands of the guards. "We're gonna jump to that building," Knox points out to another tall building a block away, "Kris— " dark eyes divert to the teleporter, "can you do it?"

He doesn't want to, that's for certain.

"Y— Yeah… Yeah I can…" is Kris' weak and quiet answer, touching his sunburnt-looking face. "Everyone should be okay, the— yeah… yeah we'll be fine." Knox nods slowly, then turns around to look at the explosives being planted.

"When we're clear, I'll have Rebel pull the building…" Knox finally adds, looking more than done with this place after the beating he took.

Faron nods in acknowledgement of Perry, grabbing a respective charge and placing it where he was demanded. Okay. Okay, good. He looked the charge over, acknowledging at its readiness. It was made to do one thing: blow up. And it did it well. He had to admire this sense of purpose. He checked over each charge as it was set, though with a bit of haste. He rushed back to the group. "Charges are set and ready to go." Faron nodded, ready to be done, as ready as Knox was to simply get out of there.

Perry's is the last charge to be placed. He considers it for a moment. It seems anticlimactic, the mere blasting of concrete and glass, after putting a number of living people down. Still… He walks over to join the rest of the group. "We'll be able to watch?" he asks, in the same sedate tone, "I want to see our lady faint."

Knox nods his head once, not quite managing to crack a smile to Perry's enthusiasm to watch his creation, watch the lady faint as he so eloquently put. "Yeah…" theres not much excitement in Knox's voice, more exhaustion than anything. Huruma's stalking approach from behind has her sidling up behind Faron, brows raised in assessing stare of his bulky frame before she slips past like a panther on the prowl, moving over to where Kris stands, resting one hand on his shoulder before upturning her gaze below partly hooded eyes to Knox, feeling his mental weariness.

Kris reaches out, taking one of Faron's hands and one of Perry's, waiting until Knox has placed a hand on his shoulder before closing his eyes and concentrating carefully as he stares out the demolished window to the distant building.

Teleporting one person is fine, teleporting two people is hard, but with sirens at their backs and time wasting, Kris is forced to push himself to his limits and teleport a full four people several hundred feet to the roof of another building. When the young man's fingers curl into fists, he breathes in one sharp breath, counting down in his head.


Behind the group, broken bodies and blood stain the floor, pieces of shattered concrete litter the ground and the wake of their destructive onslaught will only briefly stain this building. With their efforts here, the virus being produced by the CDC in this structure will be lost, and as Kris is counting down, Knox is preparing for the finale, sending a text out to Jesse, waiting with the van where the fuel-air bomb is ready.


Down on the street, the white van comes plowing through the alleyway they had originally emerged from, a cinder-block weighing down the gas pedal and a rig of an iron-shod rake and duct-tape keeping the wheel straight. The van crosses the empty street, and as it reaches the gatehouse that was attacked and plows through, comes rumbling up the step sand through the demolished front entrance and into the lobby.


There's a sudden flash of pinkish-red light and a noisy crackle of fireworks as Kris' power burns into existance again. For Knox he's felt this method of teleportation before and Faron and Huruma are just now familiar with it, but the sudden wave of heat that washes over Perry is a baptismal experience, like being rebirthed in a quick wave of fire as pin-prickling heat surges over his skin and clothing.

In an eruption of those heated psarks, Kristian and his entourage re-appear a block away from the site of the CDC building, and Kris' jacket bursts into flames the moment he appears. Shouting in surprise, Kris flings the coat aside, brushing himself down and hissing in pain, taking a knee and looking down at the blistering redness across his hands and face. It will heal, in time, peel like a sunburn, but too much teleportation and molecular rearrangement can be painfiul.

"Go," is Knox's stoic order into his cell phone, preceeding a sudden thunderous rumble that shakes the ground. It takes a moment to pick out the building from the others, but the shockwave from the blast is enough to shatter the adjacent windows to the CDC building. What comes next is a violent and bright fiery explosion from the fuel-air bomb on the lobby, sending a plume of white hot fire and smoke rising up through the building's floors, gutting it like a fish as windows explode outward, concrete shatters and the building wavers like a stack of tall coins, and then begins to fall inward on itself.

Floor by floor the weight of the CDC Central Operations building for Chicago is dropped down in a massive impact of its own weight and the power of a planned implosion. Flames from the fuel-air bombs deafening detonation rise up to the sky, cinders and ashes swirl on the wind that carries across the rooftop, and a sixty foot high cloud of dust and smoke ripples away from the building like the way water ripples from a tossed stone.

"There's your lady…" Knox offers to Perry in a hushed voice, watching the burning scraps of paper blown from the building rise up with smoke into the sky.

"…watch her fall."

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