Quietus V


barbara2_icon.gif edgar_icon.gif griffin_icon.gif heller_icon.gif ingrid_icon.gif

lene_icon.gif linda_icon.gif lydia_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif walter_icon.gif

Scene Title Quietus V
Synopsis Barbara leads a small group of Ferry survivors to a designated rendezvous point in the woods across the Hudson River only to discover that someone else has beaten them to it.
Date December 19, 2011

Near Pollepel Island

Ask anyone what the meaning of the world cold is, and the answer they give you will depend entirely upon the coldest they’ve ever been. New York is not known for its balmy winters; those who have lived there for at least a year can speak to both ends of seasonal extremes, but the night of December 19th is unlike anything any of the Ferry has experienced before.

Sleet and rain have given way to powdery snow that clings to tree branches like frosted sugar and twinkles in the moonlight now that the clouds overhead have opened into a sea of tiny but infinite stars. The woods are so deep, and otherwise dark, that Pollepel Island already feels like a memory of another life — gone is the wind, torrents of gunfire, and shrieking birds, replaced instead with the crackle of new ice splintering apart under their boots as this particular straggle of survivors makes its way toward the nearest rendezvous point.

It isn’t the fresh layer of snow that makes slogging through the wilderness seem like an impossible task. It’s the water freezing in their hair and their clothes, forming ice on the tips of ears and noses, and compounding the effort required to slog uphill.

Flashlights gripped in shaky hands illuminate a winding gravel path that leads to a crumbling, dilapidated barn covered in tendrils of dead ivy and the husks of last summer’s blackberry bushes. Easy to overlook or simply miss, which is why the Special Activities division stores two pickup trucks there in case of an emergency.

And this is.

Barbara leads the group of four along the path. She’s only been here once, but once is enough to know the way, and although she doesn’t have the key to the padlock on the front of the barn, she also doesn’t need it. The rifle she’s carrying will be enough to bypass the lock so she can creak open the barn’s old doors and gain access to the vehicles inside.

She is unique in that her mind is focused entirely on the immediate task ahead of her, if only because she’s the sole member of her group that isn’t thinking about someone else.

Barbara Zimmerman should have so much on her mind right now. Eileen. The others who have and will make it off the island. What government ambushes could be waiting for them ahead, how much they've been told, how deep all of the betrayal goes. The bird storm and who may not escape it. So many things should be on her mind.

Her grip tightens on her rifle. Instead, she has blinders. Tunnel vision. A goal. The barn. She's tried her best to keep moving this entire time, to not focus on who is and isn't with her. She has to stay this focused to stave off the cold around her. "Jolene," she asks back to the younger woman, her eyes still turned ahead. "Can you- do you have any… thing that can help tell us if anyone's around?" Both friend and foe. They may be past the line, but Barbara doesn't think it'll be that…


None of this is easy.

"Keep your eyes up and your flashlights steady." Squad leader, she is not. But she has had to lead. Despite her best efforts to be more pragmatic, more realistic, she finds herself slipping back into more comforting habits. "If we can just make it a bit further, maybe- maybe we can take a moment to catch our breaths." Assuming the cold doesn't catch up to them first.

Edgar shivers.

The sullen speedster has been on edge since his wife went missing and being so cold, he is helpless. Dead weight. Regardless, he trails behind Barbara, his teeth chattering loudly as he takes turns switching hands on the flashlight in order to blow warm air onto the free one. At the very least, he's hoping to keep them warmer than the rest of him.

He keeps glancing behind the small group. Maybe, just maybe, Lydia will catch up. Falling to the back, he motions the others forward. "I'll cover the rear," he utters, just loud enough for Barbara to hear. Though, anyone who knows Edgar knows that he's never one to carry a gun.

“With what, your bare ass?”

Vincent doesn’t have to walk. He hasn’t walked the entire way, as a point of fact — ghosting in and out for moments at a time, vapor a matte shade against the frost. But he’s walking now, the flashlight in his hand swung back around to Edgar’s middle.

He’s a stocky figure behind it, bound up in a kevlar vest under his coat, the faint stamp of DOEA still visible in white stencil at the breast. Frozen breath curls around his ears in an eddy after his full stop, snow catching in his beard like grizzle once he’s reached to tug his scarf down under his chin.

The last time they spoke, it was across opposite sides of an interrogation table.

“Keep moving.”

Barbara can hear this also. It’s probably fine.

Jolene can too, or should be able to, but she is too predisposed worrying about Gillian’s well-being to effectively function. It's only well after Barbara asked her the question that she thinks to answer, when the appropriate time is long since passed.

“No,” is her regrettable response. “I— I have…” she slants a look at Vincent over the fur-lined collar of her coat. “I have Vincent’s sublimation, um, Edgar’s speed… for what it's worth in this cold, and your postcognition.” It's with an awkward tension that Lene regards Vincent again, immediately looking away after a moment, only to fix her eyes on the ground in front of her.

“Nobody try to go more than— about sixty feet from me or I'll lose tether to your abilities.” Jolene hunches her shoulders forward, brows knit together in a furrow of worry, and mouth tucked behind the wool fringe of her knot scarf.

“How much further is it?” Lene asks of Barbara with a shaky uncertainty from both cold and nerves. It unsteadies both flashlight and conviction.

The answer to Lene’s question is less than 200 yards, but as the group crests the top of the hill, they notice two things:

The first is that someone has beat them to the barn and hacked the lock off with what looks like an axe, which has been discarded in the snow.

The second is that one of the doors hangs halfway open. No light leaks out from the gap, which means that whoever is inside either doesn’t have a torch, or they’ve turned it off.

Several sets of footprints wind around the side of the barn up to the doors and forgotten axe, although it’s impossible to know from a distance how many several might be, only that they’ve worn a shallow groove in the snow along the way and exposed freshly overturned dirt beneath.

Judging by the absence of tire tracks, the trucks at least must still be inside.


Barbara holds up a hand, slowing down her pace dramatically as she begins to realise the state that barn ahead of them is in. "Someone beat us here," she says in a low voice to the rest of them. Curses echo in her head, but she doesn't dare voice them. Her eyes scan the immediately visible area, taking the moment to weight her options and the possibilities.

This doesn't mean that Heller has beat them here, but they would be absolute idiots to assume otherwise. If they were lucky some of their own were inside, waiting for them. Failing that, perhaps someone had come across the barn even before now, which while like terrifying still mean that their only chances of escape - and heat - might be compromised, even with the lack of tracks.

And then, of course, there was the possibility that yes, Heller's men are waiting around the corner, ready to make sure they all stay cold.

"Jolene," Barbara says, looking over to the redhead and offering her what hopefully looks like a reassuring smile. "I need you to let me know if you sense anything, and what. I highly doubt we're going to be alone here." A glance back to Vincent. "Take a look around, and see what you can see." A look over to Edgar, and the shivering speedster gets a shake of her head as Barbara pulls out the pistol she had grabbed before going to meet with with Avi and the others in the castle courtyard, and offers it out between him and Jolene. "One of you, take this. I'll be fine with…" The rifle, which she holds up for emphasis. "Stay close."

Just in case

"It can be lethal," the speedster grunts in reply to Vincent.

Jolene isn't given a glance before Edgar reaches forward and grabs the pistol. There's no consideration for the ability mimic who, if needed, could turn into vapor just like Letter-vest behind him. Of the remains of their ragtag little group, only he and Barbara are vulnerable. Then he pulls back the slide and releases it to ready the weapon for firing.

"It might be Lydia an' the girl," he offers, except his expression doesn't seem to match the optimistic words. Still, he does squint his eyes to try to determine just how many tracks there are in the snow.

Lazzaro, who is busy sizing down Edgar Smythe, former prisoner and assassin, checks a look sidelong to Lene. Something in her avoidance blacks challenge in hard behind his eyes — some projected doubt or accusation burrowing inward until he catches himself staring at her, and hooks his scarf back up over his nose. The better to disguise the sudden difficulty he’s having with swallowing.

Smythe and his bare ass are taking the gun. Lene is about to lose a tether. Barbara is supervising.

With a bleak glance for Edgar’s optimism, Vincent vanishes against the snowscape in a snarl of black vapor, fleet as a very stout and ill-disposed bunny rabbit.

He darts for the barn.


Or— no. Vincent is followed by a sinuous tendril of vapor, unfurling and roiling with less ephemeral grace than the senior of this pair. Jolene mimics Vincent’s vaporous form to the best of her understanding, following his movements and path so as to better understand the why and how of the incorporeality she now finds herself in. She's a quick study, inherently, but this is still a first.

Vincent had met with an unfortunate fate on a solo rescue mission once before. Jolene may not have come back in time to save him specifically, but she's not willing to let history repeat itself.

Being shapeless allows the pair to fluidly roll into the barn without having to open the door the rest of the way and betray their presence. Inside, they find several things, only two of which they knew to expect.

The pair of trucks is still there, of course, covered in crinkled sheets of obnoxious blue tarp tied to the barn’s floor to protect the vehicles underneath.

What Vincent and Lene did not expect is illuminated in a series of bright snaps as two dozen sets of flashlights flick on. A full unit of soldiers in blood-spattered fatigues are waiting for them, some armed with rifles, others reduced to a service pistol, or a knife wrested from a fleeing Ferrymen operative at some point during the earlier chaos. One of them, a lithe olive-skinned woman with a headful of dark hair twisted into a messy braid, holds Walter Trafford’s sword at his neck.

Linda Tavara makes a short sound behind her teeth. “Stop right where you are,” she warns the pair of inky tendrils before they can snake too deeply into the barn. The soldier beside her struggles to keep his flashlight trained on them — and to keep his hand steady.

It’s been a long night for everyone.

Linda presses the sword’s edge against Walter’s throat, and the man’s jaw sets. He, like Ingrid Ryans beside him, and Lydia, and Tasha, and Griffin are bent at their knees on the floor of the barn, their hands fastened by their wrists behind their backs with zipties. Each member of the Ferry has a rifle aimed at the back of their head, ensuring their silence.

Colonel Heller emerges from the wash of soldiers, whose faces all look the same: gaunt, haggard, exhausted. He grips his service pistol in a hand that hangs loose at his waist.

Outside, a twig snaps off to Edgar’s left, and before he can dart a glance in that direction, a red dot appears on his chest. Then another. And another. They’re covering Barbara, too.

More soldiers come into view, stepping out from behind trees and deep forest shadows like a haggard pack of half-starved wolves.

They’re surrounded.

Move,” one of them suggests, pointing Barbara and Edgar toward the barn.

Barbara freezes when she sees the red dots, a voice screaming at her in her mind. An ambush. Of course. We should've turned the other way the moment we saw the state the barn was in. But at the same time, she knows, at that point, that it was already too late. It would've been too lucky for them to have been too preoccupied at the riverside when the dome went down and Eileen unleashed a torrent of beaks and talons.

She wants desperately to do something drastic, but she lacks any of the necessary faculties for that at the moment, knowing full well that Jolene and Vincent are still out there. Instead, she lowers her head and raises her hands up. She's not giving up, but at the moment there's little other options. SHe would have to think with whatever time she had left for it.

"Come on, Edgar," are the only words she mutters as she starts towards the barn, flanked by soldiers. The rest of the walk is spent simply staring ahead, as mad at herself as she is at the soldiers that have managed to catch them off guard.

"Yes'm," is the only sound Edgar makes as the piston is dropped into the snow and opts to rubs his hands against his coat, rather than holding them up.

Glances are passed to Barbara with every other footstep, perhaps looking for some sort of clue as to what she is thinking. He shivers as he trundles along and instead of needing one hand to hold a pistol or a flashlight, he's able to blow on both of his hands to warm them. It's working better than one at a time.

As they get closer to the barn, he rubs his hands together — no quicker than anyone else would given the circumstances. Friction is friction and it provides him with even more warmth. There's regret that he lost his mittens in the escape. They were warm. More regret that he gave his heavier coat away to someone who might have needed it more. It was warm. But the barn…

Taking a deep breath, his movements become a little more urgent as they close in on the jaws of the trap.

The first apparition at the door plunges over itself in place, churning into a column that resolves swiftly into the standing shape of Vincent Lazzaro. He’s hazy at the edges — whiffs of grey drifting off the square of his shoulders in the current of cold air from outside.

His eyes are dark, boot black holes in his head, no illusion of breath to soften the weary stiff of his spine.

He still has a flashlight in his hand, loose as Heller’s pistol. The business end is choked dim, no power to funnel out light. Here but not really here.


His voice buzzes hollow across the barn floor. This is fine.

Don’t mind the vapor swirling at Vincent’s feet, pooling in the uneven cracks of the floor, moving as though caught in a steady current. It’s just more of the same vapor from his hazy edges, sublimated fog filling the lower spots of the ground. Jolene tries to play Vincent’s angle, let him talk, let Heller talk, let everyone take a moment to assess the situation.

Lene has other things to consider while Vincent handles the material ones. She feels the pull strongest from the woman with the sword, something vacuuous and hungering, not entirely dissimilar to Gabriel Gray, and from that well of emptiness there is a deep trove of other abilities. Then there’s Walter, clearly burned out on his exhausting ability, a cheetah of the timestream he’d called himself once. Not a long-distance runner. Griffin’s ability is familiar, grasping, reaching, she understood that one well in her time, and it brings her comfort. Lydia’s is something else, mysterious, ink in water and drowsy like drugs, not helpful in this situation — much like Barbara’s mirror.

In the swirling current of sublimated black vapor, Jolene has to come up with a plan. If Vincent can’t win with words, it will take one ability at a time, in just the right sequence, or none of this matters.

No pressure.

Tasha’s small form is still but for the tremors from both cold and terror that run through her every few seconds. To her credit, there are no tears. The bright lights make her dark eyes squint, and it’s hard for her to make out those inky shadows that she’d recognize in a heartbeat — even with as fast as her heart is pounding in her chest.

Her gaze falls back to the ground in front of her, her brows knit as if in concentration — as if she could will her way out of this situation, save the others beside her. It’s only when her father speaks that her gaze lifts and seeks his form. She doesn’t call out, though a sharper breath draws her shoulders up and back down as the air escapes once again. Her lips press together, and it’s only now that Tasha looks like she might cry, as if she’d been resigned to her own death but her father being here, in danger, is more than she can bear.

Her teeth rake over her lower lip and she drops her gaze again, playing stranger to her father for now.

Fire reflects behind Lydia’s eyes despite the odd calm she manages to exude in the moment. Her mind remains open while she efforts to sense desires and means to make them happen; it’s far too great an effort without a medium to aid it. But letting her own emotions rumble into something different, letting them spiral into something far more concentrated won’t help her keep her wits about her.

Her long dark blonde hair hangs over her face while her eyes hone in on the ground beneath her. Weapons pointed towards her draw silence, yet she’d find it just the same in this current state, mind working around the problem to will a way out.

Green eyes look rather defiantly angry despite his predicament, but Griffin Mihangle also looks like he’s seen some better days. While the warm coat over his arms and back keeps some of the cold out, it’s left hanging open, the dark gray thermal shirt beneath it slick and black with blood. Tears in the shirt made by the medics offer glimpses at a sealed bloody wound, and in turn, a breathing tube that isn’t means to be permanent. Looks like he was either shot or stabbed or wounded in some way or another.

While the soldiers may have cleaned him and his fellow prisoners up, Griffin has still lost a lot of blood, and his breathing is still suffering for the hole in his chest. Along with the anger in those eyes as he silently watches Vincent, there is a look of fear, and a look of defeat, only enhanced by the dark, wet hair hanging over his face.

He did all of this. All of this is his fault.

But it will be worth it in the end — at least for the Mihangles it will.

The soldiers herd Barbara and Edgar into the barn, forming a blockade between the Ferrymen and the doors.

Before, they were surrounded. Now, they’re trapped.

“Lazzaro,” says Heller. This is the part where he’s supposed to raise his hand and order his men to stand down while they negotiate, but that doesn’t happen. The firearms remain trained on the hostages kneeling on the floor, and on the three operatives with their hands still free.

Heller’s gaze flickers across to Barbara’s and holds it. “Ms. Zimmerman, how nice of you to join us.” He reaches up and touches the tips of his fingers to a darkened patch on his uniform. They come away bloody. “I hope one of you will give my regards to Benjamin Ryans,” he adds. “Assuming he isn’t at the bottom of the Hudson with the rest of your Special Activities division. He’s a damned fine shot.”

On the floor, Ingrid chokes back a small sound at the back of her throat, earning her a gentle nudge with the end of a rifle. She leans into Walter and buries her face against his shoulder.

“Let’s not draw this out unnecessarily,” Heller says. He points to Barbara and Vincent. “You two. You’re only ones I care about at this point. Ferry Council and NYPD. So here’s how this is going to work. Cooperate with me and everyone else in this room goes free. Resist and you all leave, in body bags. Fair?”

Barbara is silent the rest of the walk to the barn. She knows there's nothing good about this situation, but she also knows that acting rashly now would just get them all killed. They are out manned, and even with powers, outgunned - and if Heller is the man she has heard he is, he probably has a plan in place to handle that matter too. So instead she just purses chapped lips, and listens to him, taking a deep breath.

"I'm sure he would love to meet you," Barbara offers back, her tone serious despite the sarcastic intent. "I believe you're one of the few who hasn't mistaken me for one of my sisters at first." There's no point in playing coy. She knows he's not an idiot. Her eyes flick to Ingrid and Walter, to Lydia and Tasha, and Griffin, Edgar, before moving to Vincent. She doesn't spot Jolene at first, taking a deep breath.

"You don't leave much of a choice," she replies honestly, hands spread out in front of her. She keeps her eyes on him, anger shouting in the back of her mind, something that briefly makes her wonder if this is what it's like to be Niki - and briefly makes her wish she was her much stronger sister. She doesn't have intention of resistance, but she doesn't have intention of compliance either.

Not yet.

"Let's not draw this out unnecessarily," she echoes. "What do you want from us?"

Out of the wind and into the shelter the barn provides, Edgar is looking around and behind them before he focuses on Heller, his men, and the gun pointed at his wife's head.

"Lydia!" is blurted out before any look she gives him can stop him, or even he can stop himself. But once it's done, he clamps his mouth shut and grinds his teeth angrily. At a normal pace. It might be just the anger rising that makes his skin feel hot against his collar but still he's feeling a bit better about his ability.

There are words exchanged, but the former carnie can't seem to hear them. There's a bloody hand and its owner going wonk wonk wonk. Barbara is beside him also going wonk wonk wonk but they all sound underwater. All of his focus is on Lydia.

A pulse of pitchy vapor mixes Vincent’s altogether less cooperative form into volcanic shades of grey, further muddying his outline. He’s hardly moved within that veil — mouth shut, ears open. His shoulders are open too — to the room, and to the possibility of administering some freedom of his own; dislike is baking itself into the set of his jaw behind his scarf.

But Barbara is — ostensibly — in charge, and Lene is here somewhere, along with his daughter.

He turns his nose to the sound of Edgar’s voice when it blurts through the bullshit, and takes a good long look.

“He’s going to go.” Warning muttered under his breath, to himself and not to himself, sounds overloud in his own ears. Looking back to fore is a struggle, magnetic resistance in dread.

Is this how it happened? Dread coils in the back of Jolene’s mind. Is this how it went? She wasn't even born yet. Did we stop anything? The pool of black vapor at Vincent’s feet swirls in frustration, turbulent in the ways air pressure isn't causing.

What would mom do?

Give them what they want, to save the others. Jolene doesn't like the answer.

What would dad do?

Do something stupid and get probably killed. Equally unpalatable.

What do I do?

It's the question Jolene has struggled with her short adult life. In the insubstantial heartbeats between mist and meat, she realizes the answer.

Do something stupid to save the others.

In an eruption of black vapor Jolene explodes up from incorporeality into a column of a person directly in front of Vincent. She's there only for a moment and then she's gone in a rush of displaced air. Not vapor, just gone.

She appears a heartbeat later behind Linda Tavara with a wild-eyed look, hair desheveled, and dressed in an entirely different set of clothes. She reaches up and grabs Linda by the sides of her face and lets out the same horrified and truly primal scream that Tavara does as she turns her own aura absorption ability on her.

Flesh blackens around her hands, Linda’s skin cracks and flakes like parchment, eyes boil first with light and then with black smoke and pulpy, dry-rotted flesh cannot hold Walter’s sword and the blade falls from her grasp.

Jolene Chevalier was never like her father; one ability at a time, never together. But as she devours not only Linda Tavara’s aura she is consumed by the auras of all those Evolved Linda had eaten as well.

Today, she does something stupid.

Today she saves the others.

A kinetic wave pushes out from Jolene, indiscriminate and violent. Sudden, as all this that happened in a blink can be. It throws friends aside, enemies aside, dirt into the air, tears tarps from vehicles, blows doors off hinges and glass out of windows.

All except Vincent, who just gutters like smoke in the wind.

Then, overwhelmed by the unmitigated horror of Linda’s ability, Jolene collapses in a convulsing heap on the floor.

Tasha’s dark-eyed gaze flickers up and from point to point, like she’s trying to connect the dots to find a way out of this. Unlike the others held captive in the room, she has no ability to call on and no weapon to fight with. Her shoulders hitch upward with a stifled sob of hopelessness and she looks down again, only to miss the cloud of black vapor that’s Jolene moving forward.

It’s the scream that draws her eyes up again; she might have screamed too at the horror and violence Jolene unleashes on Linda Tavara — a woman Tasha already had reason to fear. The blast though rips away from her any sound that she might have made as she is thrown. She lies, stunned, for a moment, blinking away the sting of the broken glass and dirt, the jar of her body against the cold ground. The power of that blast and the collision with the ground is enough to pop the plastic lock on her zip-tied wrists — somehow her mind catches on that detail, that her hands are free.

She recovers, and quicker than the nearest of her enemies, whose rifle beckons on the barn floor. Unlike Jolene, Tasha doesn’t think but reacts, a bloody hand suddenly grabbing the weapon — one much like one she’s used before, been taught to handle by Jensen Raith. Her angle isn’t ideal and she doesn’t have time to find a better one. There are only a few seconds between grabbing that weapon and firing at Heller — not enough time for fear or sense to prevail over whatever it is that guides her now.

Lydia’s eyes lift at the sound of her name, and the fire softens some. With weapons pointed at her, she doesn’t call out, holding her peace while there’s even an iota to be had. But that hint of peace dissipates as quickly as it’d come. The violence of the waves that span through the area, send her powerfully backwards. With her hands ziptied behind her back, she has nothing to soften the blow, but neither does the man behind her who seems to break some of her fall.

The ringing in her ears following, coupled with the dazed feeling in her brain doesn’t subside quickly. She twists around on her shoulders, leveraging herself into a roll to move, and, if she’s at all able to kick the gun away from the man that had trained it on her. “Edgar?” she calls, but it’s not loud thanks to the feeling caused by the wave and its impact across her body.

Though he may be in shock from having a collapsed lung and all of the blood loss that comes with it, Griffin still can’t help but turn and look on, horrified, as Jolene appears and grabs Linda and suddenly gross shit starts happening.

And then, the kinetic wave happens. The injured man lets out a shout as he is sent tumbling away from Jolene, skittering across the floor like a bunch of (bloody) twigs blown in the wind, coming to rest halfway underneath a nearby vehicle.

It takes a moment for him to regain his sense of equilibrium; then, the lanky man with a hole in his chest scrabbles back, pushing himself further under the vehicle. He doesn’t have any access to his abilities right now, and he really just kind of wants to lay down, so he’ll do exactly that under the safety of a big vehicle. Green eyes stare out, wide, at the scene.

Who does Griff get to go home with today?

Tasha’s shot catches Heller in the same shoulder than Benjamin Ryans’ did, and he staggers backwards several paces, thumping against the side of one of the trucks. If she’d aimed a fraction to the left, she might have hit his heart and sent him all the way to the barn floor. If she’d waited a second later, his focus might not have been trained on her and he could have lost her in the chaos and confusion erupting in the room like a gas leak from Hell.

But she doesn’t, and so he doesn’t. Heller returns fire, snapping off two quick shots with his service pistol. The first misses Tasha and hits Lydia’s thigh as she’s swinging up to wrest the rifle from the soldier who’d been holding it to her head a moment ago. Lydia’s leg buckles and goes out beneath her.

The second punches through Tasha’s skull and travels through the left side of her brain. It happens so fast that the last thing the girl processes is the crack of the first shot, Lydia’s scream, and then—


The soldiers stunned by the blast are pulling themselves together, scrabbling to retrieve weapons and help one another to their feet. Displaced hay and snow floats through the air, obscuring their line of vision, and everyone’s ability to differentiate between ally and enemy.

There are only a few more moments for the Ferrymen to act. Even with Lene’s distraction and Linda no longer an active piece on the chessboard, such as it is, they’re still outnumbered — and outmatched. Walter uses his sword — thank you, Linda — to cut through his zipties before he cleanly and efficiently liberates Ingrid and Griffin from their own binds.

Absolutely none of this probably matters to Vincent. His daughter lies motionless on the floor of the barn with an entry wound on the left side of her forehead.

Keys!” Walter shouts, and tosses Barbara his set to the truck on the right. Edgar gets the set to the truck on the left. Ingrid reaches under Lene’s arms, hauling her to her feet as best she’s able, mumbling something wetly through her tears that sounds like it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.

It’s not okay.

For several moments, all Barbara can feel is anger, fury. She had her doubts about negotiating with Heller. But if there had been a chance for all of them to walk out of here alive, she had been willing to hear out the offer at least, before chaos broke out. Keeping everyone alive, everyone safe - it was something ingrained into her from her days as a safehouse operator, and even now that had been her goal, rather than retaliation. There would've been time for that later.

So by her, what has just transpired is in no way okay.

But there's no time time to be stunned, to yell, to chastise. There would also be time for that later. This recklessness guaranteed not everyone would walk away, but she would be a fool not to act on it. She manages to catch the keys as they come sailing to her, darting to one of the trucks. Door pulled open, she slides across the front seat and practically slams the key into the ignition. It's turned with almost enough force to snap the key in half, looking back over her shoulder.

"Get in!" she shrieks. The sight of one of their own lying motionless on the ground doesn't escape her. She would be having words with Jolene later. "Grab everyone!" That way, they can bury anyone who isn't making it home, at least.

The crimson blossom forming on Lydia's skirt registers just before the kinetic wave blasts Edgar off his feet and onto his back, winding him. But only for a heartbeat and then he remembers his wife is hurt. He springs back to his feet and then he's gone, leaving a blur and a wake of air where he was.

When he comes back into focus, his fist is punched through the chest of the man that held the gun to his wife's head. He glares into his victim's eyes before ripping his hand out again, the warm blood giving him at least one limb that can go at full speed. For now, Heller is left for someone else to deal with, because Edgar is gone again.

The keys are caught on his way past somewhere, snatched out of the air and he appears again over his wife. Gingerly, he picks her up and runs toward the truck, holding her head to his shoulder, smearing her long hair with blood.

Vincent’s on Heller in a seeth of vapor, one hand twisted for the man’s gun, and the other his neck, thumb spiked into the bob of the bigger man’s throat, rocking him back into whichever truck. In the beat they’re locked together, Heller’s the only one privy to the look on his face — desperation stung wet into his eyes, spittle flecked wild with fury through his teeth. Too little, too late.

He vanishes.

The better part of Heller’s gun wielding arm vanishes with him — ice like obsidian hissing and sputtering at the stump, flashing into black steam around the first dribble of blood. He’s left a matching track across the Colonel’s neck and jaw — the vague claw of his fingers mapped out in ruin.

Vapor roils in Vincent’s place — a noxious coil that’s already striking for his daughter’s fallen form. He slings Heller’s wanking arm out of the smog and into the bed of Barbara’s truck as he drives himself down to his knees.

Low enough to gather Tasha gently in his arms, awkward, gorilla care taken to bring her up out of the straw. Not so different from any of the other hug’s they’ve shared recently, really.

This time when he goes to smoke, he takes her with him, and he stays gone.

The Ferrymen are on their own.

Lene is unresponsive as Walter carefully lays her out in the bed of the truck. Her legs and arms twitch violently, back spasms and eyes roll around languidly and half-lidded. Sparks arc off of her body and down onto the bed of the truck, the radio pops and crackles with audible static, a half dozen abilities abortively fire-off as her mind attempts to handle the sudden influx of memories from the digestion of all of Linda Tavara’s past conquests. It’s the measure of Jolene’s hubris, in her “understanding” of Linda’s ability she didn’t understand the consequences of even briefly brushing it. There is nothing brief about what is happening here.

« — she can — see yo — » Half-heard voices crackle and pop over the radio, « — she — hea — you» useless static blaring. The truck’s headlights flash on and off, windshield wipers flip back and forth streaking blood in red arcs in their wake. «At th— r — d sky, run — oward — he gunfi — » The radio crackles, layers of music and static atop one another.

In the bed of the truck, Jolene lets out a keening whine and clenches her jaws shut, rolling over onto her side in her fitful thrashing. She is unaware of what is happening around her, of her malfunctioning ability, of how helpless she is. Of how guilty she will feel later. If there is a later.

Lydia screams as the bullet sears through her leg. The sensation feels unlike any she’s experienced as it slices through her flesh in a cross between a stabbing and radiating pain. The scream itself echoes in her own ears in a haze that finds relentless thrumming over all her senses. The pain changes almost instantly, away from the sharpness of contact and into something constant through her leg. Her face contorts with it, letting the sensation overtake each of her senses while it does.

It isn’t until they’re almost at the truck that her mind realizes that Edgar has her. Red continues to bloom across her skirt and her body trembles against him. She manages a tight smile that comes across more as a grimace, “I’m alright, darling,” her voice croaks despite her efforts to soothe.

As his wrists are freed by Walter’s sword, Griffin scrabbles out as well as he can, wincing at the effort. He has two holes in his chest right now, and all of this action isn’t doing a thing for his health.

It is with a resigned fascination that the negated telekinetic watches the scene unfold before him, even as he makes his way to the truck after Walter, keeping low. Looks like he’s leaving with the Ferrymen. Gotta keep up appearances, after all.

Wincing, Griffin climbs into the bed of the truck alongside Jolene and Walter, clutching at his side as he does so. He’ll help tend to Jolene as they flee — if they flee. He spares a brief glance toward Heller, before he turns his attention toward the young woman, frowning. Sorry about all of this…

Heller is— screaming. Which, a tiny little voice in the back of Griffin’s head thinks, might be the appropriate response to having your arm separated from your body. He only gets a glimpse; his soldiers are on him like ants all over sugar in the next instant, covering his wound — is it even a wound? — with a dripping jacket, and ushering him to the back of the barn.

Bullets ding the side of Barbara’s truck as rifles discharge into the dense, hay-filled air. One blows out her passenger side window the instant before Walter clambers through it. Ingrid is already in the back with Griffin, Lene’s head resting in her lap as she fishes a needle of Adynomine from her coat and injects it directly into a vein in the redhead’s throat. Her fingers stroke through Lene’s hair and along her cheek, the very last thing Lene remembers before the blackness takes her too.

Edgar must clear pieces of shattered glass to make room for Lydia in the front passenger’s seat of the other truck, but once she’s inside and the door yanked shut behind her, the ignition is easy enough to find, even in the dark.

Flashlights cut across his vision and shine too-bright in his rear view mirror. They’re running out of time.

Floor it!” Walter shouts at Barbara, because he’s always wanted to say that.

Barbara has never been so ready to follow instruction in her life. Walter's insistance tells her we're clear, and even if they aren't there isn't anymore time. Her foot slams down on the gas pedal, tires spinning for a moment before the truck lurches forward, barrelling into two of Heller's men taking aim at her and other occupants. One is knocked aside, while the other caught and dragged underneath as the truck tha-thumps over him.

"Get down!" she shouts back, to anyone who was thinking of doing otherwise - losing people to a stray bullet or to being thrown from the vehicle now would just further compound an already unsustainably bad night. As if to give emphasis to that point, the car gives a slight jump as she hits a hard turn, trying to put as much distance between Heller's men and them as she can.

The echo of Heller's scream in the wake of Vincent's… attack should bring her some sort of solace, some sort of satisfaction, for everything that has transpired tonight and all the people they have lost.

It does not. Nothing will.

This night will haunt her dreams almost as badly as the golden eyes do.

It's a quick maneuver to settled Lydia in comfortably. Glass swept aside, wife settled in place, key turned in the ignition. And…

Edgar hates driving. He's actually never really learned how. All of the driver's licenses he's ever been in possession of were either forged or stolen. Skinny pedal on the right is pressed to the floor with his foot and the truck's rear tires spin. It skids from left to right, winging another gunman before the speedster gets it under control. They roar out of the barn, following Barbara and the rest of them. His eyes don't leave the path, not even as he speaks.

"Lydia," his serious tone isn't one that's heard quite often, seriousness happens mostly in grunts or yes sir/ma'ams. "There's no one else with us, we don't have to follow them no more. Not if y'don't want. They got you shot, we can just run. I don't give that much of a care, not for them."

The bullet wound in her leg continues to throb, turning into a dull ache as her body tries to compensate for the pain. Movement, even the jerks of the vehicle, certainly put it on edge, jostling her as her skin pales. Her nervous system has kicked in, pumping adrenaline as she puts pressure on the wound. Her eyes glisten with unshed tears that threaten to fall, but never make purchase with her cheeks.

She focuses her energies on peace and control, attempting to have no connection to the metal embedded in her leg. But the flashes of emotion from the shooter cross over her consciousness in strange sequence that hardly makes sense. Powerful mediums always do their work. This one, however, proves hard to shut off, especially with its connection between Lydia and her assailant.

The words though bring her world back into focus, and this moment. It’s only then that she realizes her hair is caked in blood. “Edgar,” she murmurs softly, brain parsing all of the information it has received. “We need,” but the assertion meets serious questioning that reflects in Lydia’s dark eyes. What do they need? A family? That doesn’t seem like something easily provided.

She presses her hand harder against her leg. “We can’t hightail it. Not right now.” She cringes. She’s normally so stoic, but getting shot has an odd way of crushing that emotional facade, particularly when the bullet remains lodged in her leg. “Darling,” her voice rasps, it’s smoothness lost around pain she aims to suppress, “this isn’t just about us.” Her breathing tenses and she allows her eyes to lid. “Not just our lives. Our very existence. We can’t… abandon everyone…” Friends or not. Caring or not. “Freaks,” circus or otherwise, “need to stick together.”

As the gunfire rings out and destroys a window, Griffin instinctively ducks, covering the back of his head and clenching his teeth. He stays down, at this point, weak as he is from blood loss and the collapsed lung that isn't allowing him to get as much oxygen as normal. He clenches at the sealed wound at his side, eyes narrowed as he finally has time to fully grasp the weight of this situation — a situation that he created.

The people he is with don't know that they are fleeing with the monster who did this to them in the first place. They don't know that the negated telekinetic, wounded and breathing rattling, labored breaths from the efforts of simply climbing into the truck, is the one who brought the illusions down. That he is the one who caused the dome to go up. That he is the one who tore them down.

They don't know that he did this. And he'll gladly keep it a secret to the grave.

Tires gouge shallow tracks in the snow. Branches snap. The barn’s doors are torn from their hinges. Barbara’s windshield has blood on it, and none of it belongs to the man in her passenger’s seat, who’s gripping the dashboard with white knuckles like his life depends on it (it does), or the three figures who bump and rattle in her rear view mirror. Ingrid clutches Lene’s unconscious body to her and leans into Griffin for support, trusting him to take care of them until the two-truck convoy can rendezvous with the other survivors, if there are any.

She has no idea how misplaced her faith is.

Another glance in Barbara’s mirror sees the shape of the barn, retracting, smaller and smaller until the soldier’s flashlights are gulped up by the dark by the trees. By the time Heller’s forces can reconvene and hustle to their own trucks, she and the other Ferrymen will have a lead too wide for them to close.

In the other vehicle, Edgar and Lydia are alone with the sound of each other’s breathing, and the faint patter of their heartbeats, which is louder in their own ears than the sound of snow falling softly on the windshield.

As the empty road opens ahead of them, so does a whole new world of possibilities.

They are among the lucky few.


A roar like that of a tornado rips through the empty concrete walls reinforced with steel, howling through the enclosed space as if trying to tear everything in it to shreds. Flickering light dances up the walls, shifting shadows of a man cast against concrete, a man dragging something heavy behind himself, towards the source of the light. Sometimes the collision of matter and air sounded like the seashore, sometimes like the gnashing of teeth. Always loud. Not even the music playing over his headphones under the containment suit could block it all out.

Still falling
Breathless and on again
Inside today
Beside me today

A black, gaping maw of nothingness writhes, churns, rips at the air in the center of the room, as if trying to expand, trying to grow, trying to pull in more and more… A loose screw twists in the nearby scaffolding that supports the metal walkway out to the yawning vortex. It tugs at the air, pulls at the heavy suit that protects the man headed toward it, that wraps him head to toe. He knows its desire to devour everything better than anyone, as he moves carefully, twenty-pound steel boots keep him weighted to the ground as he hauls his heavy, plastic-wrapped package closer. A steel tether hooked to a caribera at his waist keeps him further anchored to the wall across the room, just in case. Just to be safe.

For the nothingness wants to devour everything. Its creator most of all.

Around, broken in two
Till your eyes shed
Into dust

This community once had many members, but every day they seem to lose more. Some to age, others to injury, to depression, but most to disease. Every week a few bodies are added to the pile, wrapped and sealed for him to dispose of, to throw into the abyss with the rest of the survivors' garbage. Only two have the special yellow seals, double wrapped. Just to be safe. He takes care of them first.

Always first. Always careful. Always makes sure the howling wind from the depths of the void doesn’t tear his suit after before he moves on to the rest. One bag at a time, hurled unceremoniously off the edge of the metal walkway into the howling abyss; all of it shrinking, disappearing, crushed by the devouring maw of nothingness.

Like two strangers
Turning into dust
Till my hand shook
With the weight of fear

As he bends down to bring forward one of the smaller bags, toward the threshold where the field begins to pull, he feels something he'd never had before— a pulse. Something deep within him. It seems to pull from within the pit, drawing his eyes up to its infinite darkness, to the lightning crackling around its edges. The lightning around the vortex's edge glows brighter, flickers to life in dancing quality, arcing and snapping out to the walls and the walkway. It's bright enough and sudden enough to cause him to startle. But then, as the lights deepen, dim, darken, he is transfixed. As they start to strobe, it feels as though the vortex is trying to say something, and he is transfixed.

I could possibly be fading
Or have something more to gain
I could feel myself growing colder
I could feel myself under your fate
Under your fate

The electricity takes on a purple hue for a moment, the roar becomes a scream and something explodes out of what has only ever devoured. First, it is a shoe, smoldering and blackened, then a series of concrete heaps, then broken glass, then several twisted and unrecognizable pieces of metal. A severed arm comes next, fingers curled and smoke rising off of its charred surface.

But then, an unconscious young man in tattered and scorched clothes covered in mild burns is expelled onto the walkway with a resounding clang.

Moments later a woman, with tangled blonde hair trapped in a ragged heap of heat-fused metal and armor, leaking some kind of mercury-like fluid from its plates. Her hair is singed, her skin pink with burns.

It was you
Breathless and torn
I could feel my eyes turning into dust
And two strangers

Then the maw collapses in on itself with a riotous crash, lightning rippling over its center before folding away into an infinitely small point in space as its creator feels a tightness come over his chest, a warmth run down from his nose. He can’t touch the blood that dribbles down his face under the shield of his biohazard suit's mask, but he knows it’s there.

In shock, he stumbles over to the intercom, slams a gloved hand against the call button. "This is Ruiz. We have a breach in the disposal room."

Turning into dust
Turning into dust


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