Salem, Part II


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Scene Title Salem, Part II
Synopsis The Suresh Center discovers itself to be a target of extremist response, but as with all things New York, the truth lies deeper than that.
Date February 11, 2011

The Dome: Roosevelt Island, Suresh Center

Conservation has been key, with the Suresh Centre being maybe the last true stronghold of the Roosevelt Island portion of the Dome's scope, in contrast to the humble chapel at the very other end. Their resources allow for electricity in the form of back up generators, and they have enough intelligent minds running the place to know how to make the best use of it. Curfew is lights out, most of the wings that aren't needed by the homeless and the injured are shut down completely. The cafeteria is opened and running from 9 am through to 10, again at 1 pm for a brief lunch, and then 6 pm through to 7: 30 pm, and then thrown into gloomy disuse the rest of the time. Curfew means lights out.

It's dark, and quiet, but not everyone is asleep. Those who are here because they have no where else to go sit in the large foyer, sometimes alone, or in twos, or a small circle that chat quietly about themselves, life outside of the barrier.

There aren't any sirens for evacuation or any kind of drill anymore. But when the sound of gunfire distantly peppers in the night from somewhere beyond the partially collapsed Queensboro Bridge, and an explosion and burning flames begins to make orange and grey out of the norther landscape in the distance past the hulking shape of the bridge, it acts a little like it. Uneasy, the sign of distant chaos has people getting to their feet, or curiously coming down from where they've sequestered themselves to see if there's anything they should— or even can— be doing.

Huddled, people listen, and wonder if it's started. The break down of order.

"Mmnh— possible infestation of lice… might need to, mmnh… introduce natural predators to balance out the ecosystem in lieu of exterminators." Down one darkened hall of the Suresh Center, Doctor Jean-Martin Luis does not sleep. Brown loafers scuff across the tiled floor, a white labcoat perennially worn over his button-down sweater that has been snugly pulled over his more appropriate work attire. In the two weeks that the dome has been up, Doctor Luis has had a grand total of three hours of sleep a night. It is beginning to show.

"Hnn— remember— no wait. Possibility of insect telepath residing amongst the refugees. Will need to remember to do a thourough blood screening and psychological evaluation next time they ask for pillows of blankets." Drawing fingers over his lips, Doctor Luis halts in the four-way intersection of one of the halls, looking out into the foyer of the building and its large, tall glass windows.

The worsening health of his ward Julie has been a matter of considerable concern. This, coupled with the lack of any central administration or security here at the Suresh Center has left Luis understandably shaken up and stressed. The Retriever units are all out now, scattered across Queens searching for the potential propogation source of the dome, leaving a slimmer security profile at the facility than normal.

"Ex- excuse me." Doctor Luis begins shuffling up to one of the refugees seated in a circle, quietly talking. "Have you seen anyone in the last few days here with a penchant for winged insects?" One of Luis' hands comes up to scratch at the back of his head. "Alternatively, an affinity to honey?"

He needs sleep.

Claire Bennet's kept to herself mostly after helping the injured to the Center. She's worked especially hard not to draw attention to herself. The burned and torn clothing from the first days chaos, long since replaced with clothing a little too big, A gray sweatshirt, jeans and a black hoodie. It keeps her warm. Long dark hair left loose so it might help hide who she is, obscuring features when her head tips down as she dozes.

A part of her takes the risk of being there, hoping that the chaos of the situation keeps a blind eye turned to her. Claire had been tempted to leave, but she stayed.

Her head comes up at the sound of gunfire and voice. Fingers brushing at the corners of her eyes. She's been there awhile, so Claire unfolds herself from where she is huddled, and slinks out of her little corner to hear what's going on. Hands tucked into the pockets of the hoodie, she makes her way to a spot not far from one of the groups.

FRONTLINE officer Jameson Jones may be a familiar face to some who keep up with the news, but he was still a stranger to those gathered at the Suresh Center when he brought in an elderly man who'd fallen and broken his wrist. Weary from his day's efforts of keeping peace and looking for the man he'd seen in his vision — as if he could find him based on the appearance of arms and fingernails alone! — JJ had agreed to rest until daylight at the urging of some of the staff there. But the explosion and fire outside looks to be changing those plans.

Standing from the couch he'd been lounging on (napping, really, but he'd deny it), the young man moves to the windows to peer out at the flames and smoke in the distance. Pulling out his cell phone he begins to type with dexterous thumbs, hoping to pinpoint the locale. To no avail — the signal isn't good, and the message fails to deliver.

"Dammit," he breathes and turns to the corner he's stowed his coat.

The staff knows about Luis's proclivities. They are well aware of his more… fragile nature when it comes down to stress. It's why Brennan's ipod was drained dry on constant replay of lady gaga. Because music soothes the savage beast or the experimenting scientist. For only so long.

He, in tandem with Odessa, were on the hunt for Luis when they heard rumors of his rambling both verbally and physically. Not that he didn't have a right to be concerned about Lice. Brennan was damned sure there were some breeding cases, and pretty sure that he would need to shave his head and be deloused by Michelle if - no, when they got out of this dome. France. He'd promised her France and by god, he was going to give it to her.

At spotting the the other physician, Brennan's halting, about turning, pointing to Luis. 'Can someone please stop him? Gently, please" Where's Odessa?

Cell phones make great makeshift flashlights. Odessa's been using hers to prowl the second floor, where her office is, and where she's been sleeping because the numbers don't represent safety to her, but ways for her enemies to blend in. She hasn't been, however. Sleeping. The sound of gunfire outside, and flames illuminating her office through the window have dashed any thoughts of actually attempting it just yet. Her fingers press to the glass as she watches orange tongues lick at the darkened sky.

Then, she's answering Brennan's unspoken summons, after a fashion. Those uninformed might think she's a teleporter, but Odessa's merely done as she is wont to do, and stepped out from the stream of time to put her in front of Doctor Luis, her hands gently resting on his shoulders with a soft expression. "Docteur." One hand comes up to his face, bracing against his cheek as she locks on his eyes to make sure he's listening. "You need sleep." Never mind the gunfire and the explosions. Incidental.

A look is angled over her shoulder briefly, a small tug of Odessa's lips is meant as a greeting to Doctor Brennan. Here I am~

For two weeks, Brand has been doing what Brand does best. Avoid notice. Skulking around the island, filching here, standing in line there, passing by un-remarked or unseen. He's emerged from his hidey-hole and stolen his way back into the Institute. The light guard/security was easy to pass, even without his Ability. After stopping by the cafeteria to get some more food(and stash some extra) he's back in the main corridor.

At the very least, everything that seems to be happening outside seems to be happening far away from th Suresh Centre.

For a few more seconds.

The growl of an engine would be the contractors that patrol the southern most end of Roosevelt Island hopping into their truck in response to whatever's going on north of the Queensboro, and the last thing JJ might see as he turns from the wide glass windows that show off the land spanning out from the facility would be the rear lights glint red.

The subsequent explosion shakes the ground.

Which is the least of their worries when, before many people can even blink, the windows all shatter into fragments when the truck is thrown from the concussive force of the bomb it was rigged with, tossed through the air as easily as a child's toy. Upside down and flaming, its rear end slams into the massive windows as the vehicle is thrown through the face of the Suresh Centre, driving straight through the middle of the biggest circled gathering. Limbs and bodies are crushed beneath the immense amount of blackened truck, and by rights, Odessa and Dr. Luis should be amongst them.

JJ is thrown forward, something sharp and painful dangerously dug into his back, only felt in the wake of registering what just happened. Fire fans furious and brightly orange, and from where Brand is entering the space, he can feel the heat of the burning vehicle against his face. Those fortunate enough to remain uninjured shriek and scatter back from the upside truck, feet sliding on broken glass.

Confusion is apparent in the wrinkled countenance of Doctor Luis as he appears like a spliced in frame of bad film editing out of the foyer and in the reception area in mid conversation. " — have a collection of beetles that I am particularly w— " jarring disonnance from his relocation has Doctor Luis turning about in a confused circle, eyes wide and hands grasping out as if to try and find something to anchor himself on to. That all of the windows of the Suresh Center have either fractured or simply blown inward at the force of the explosion has Luis' hands lifting up to touch at his cheeks, then down his face, neck and shoulders.

"What— what was— " Turning around one more revolution to spot Doctor Harve Brennan right nearby and out of the same blast radius, Luis splutters a few breathless noises as he looks past the doctor and into the lobby, where broken glass glitters on the floor, burning paper falls like leaves through the air, and moaning cries of pain echo through the empty space.

Thin, wide lips open and close in wordless movement, and the old doctor's hands tremble in the air as he tries to process what just happened, and what he failed to experience while he was momentarily outside of time. "Where— where did the truck… go?" is the best he can manage at the moment.

The explosion throws Claire to the ground, instinct has her curling into a ball, hands over head. Being near the group, she gets to see first hand look at the bodies being crushed and the twitching of the dead and dying. Blue eyes are wide as she stares at it. This is the second time she's been in an explosion.

Karma maybe?

The regenerator rolls to her feet ignoring any pain from debris that's lodged itself in her skin. Much of the smaller stuff will be shifted out of her skin by her own ability and left as bright red bits on the linoleum floor. Other stuff can wait a few as she looks for survivors.

The heat from the burning flames is bad, she puts up an arm as if to block it but that doesn't stop her from moving closer to see if anyone can be moved out from under it, before the fire gets worse. Steam seems almost to rise off the skin of Claire's hand as she searches for those lucky… individuals.

It's the sudden blast of sound and the juxtaposition of heat and cold that JJ notices first even as he goes flying. The pain that follows brings a gasp as he sprawls, fingers curling against the floor as if for a handhold. Instead he simply draws together little handfuls of glass beneath his sensitive fingertips. His dark brows knit and he turns his head to look over his shoulder, straining for a view of his own back, a shaking hand rising from where he lies to feel gingerly, tentatively, for whatever it is — he has enough sense not to grab indiscriminately and yank whatever it is out, at least.

Brennan was not expecting that, moving forward across the floor so that he can help with Luis who's not at his best. But there's explosions, glass and windows shattering and he instinctively turns his back to the windows. He stumbles a bit against the a wall, more out of surprise than anything else, hands up over his head.

When the initial blast is finished, the roar fading, he's lifting his head, scanning, trying to take in who all is hurt. The most obvious being the individual's who have been struck under an vehicle that was launched on top of them. "Christ. Odessa. Luis, Start … start getting people away Send them tot he auditorium" No windows, safer there, right? "I'm getting help, I'll be back" He points to Claire then to JJ. "Help him" The guy with the thing in his back, you know.

Brennan is issuing orders to her, but Odessa isn't there. Not initially. Luis, disoriented but otherwise unharmed, appeared in the reception area alone.

Then, Doctor Price suddenly seems to drop out of nowhere, stumbling into and clutching the back of a chair in a white knuckled grip. She did not fare so well as the man she protected. In fact, she's not in much better shape than JJ, aside from the fact that she didn't end up crushed or on the floor amidst broken glass. Though… the blood on her hands tells a different story.

"I think," Odessa gasps out, her jaw open wide as she gulps in more air and settles into shock of the moment, and strain from dragging Luis out of harm's way without actually taking him with her when she side-stepped the inevitable, "that I have glass in my back." A pained groan rumbles in her throat and rolls past her teeth. "A little help?"

Sure enough, the back of her grey tank top is quickly becoming a deep shade of crimson from a piece of window, or windscreen, or something heavy and fragile except when it cuts lodged near her spine.

Luckily for Brand, his skulking activities have put him far away from the largest mass of refugees, and therefore the victims. The heat, the sound, the shockwave is enough to drive him backward to the wall where he clings and crouches down. His cry is soundless, repressed behind an irrational effort to hide from the explosion itself. That desire only serves to shove him deeper into a black hole of unimportance.

Flying glass slivers patter over the wall, bouncing off or lodging into Brand's thick winter coat as he cowers, and when at last it all ends he rises up to stand again, shielding his face from the heat with a gloved hand. His mouth contorts downward, but his eyes are mildly glazed. The blood, the carnage, it all reflects red and white in his eyes as he looks over the sea of injury and terrorism. He says nothing - for a moment he is frozen like an animal in headlights.

Some hear Brennan's sentiment, the majority of the mass slowly beginning to trickle for the auditorium, a wide open space in the very heart of the ground floor. Some have a different sentiment to wanting to go further inside the building right away, whether because they linger to help the injured or are simply more content to slink up against the walls and try to be small and umimportant. The murmur of fear fills the area, in the utter silence in the wake of explosion.

Suddenly, light.

In a blatant disregard for energy conservation, the bright lights of the foyer suddenly switch on in startling illumination, unkind against haggard faces and the blood smearing the floor, bringing the horror all up into detail before Brand's glazed staring. It makes the outside seem much darker and harder to see, while making them feel somewhat exposed against whatever eyes might be observing the windows from beyond. The whine and buzz of electricity makes people pause, others flinch.

The overhead speakers crackle to life, and a voice speaks tinny and in surround sound.

"Good evening!" is pretty pleasant, a masculine voice, lightly affable, one with a slant of mysteriously ambiguous European to it. Slovak. "Hello, and good evening. I am glad to have your attention. My name is not important, but please know that I intend to speak for humans and humans only. If you too are like me, then you will have nothing to be afraid of. For those who are not, I feel you have quite a good reason to be afraid, unless you choose to cooperate."

Standing helplessly still, Doctor Luis takes a moment to squint against the lights, eyes blinking rapidly as he looks up to the ceiling at the sound of the voice. Despite the carnage around him, Luis seems like an unintentional island in the storm, one that is also unfortunately belligerent to Brennan's request to move anyone. A number of uppers in his system to keep him awake and attentive have done little for his ability to focus.

"That— the intercom is not for public use," Luis stammers out at the ceiling, angrily. It's after a few moments of accusatory staring up at the ceiling with fingers flexing open and closed as if in test of his motor skills that Luis realizes what was just said over the intercom, and fear replaces indignation.

How did they get in?

How many of them are there?

Is Julie safe?

Too many thoughts race through the old doctor's mind, and as he takes one experimental step forward across crunching glass towards the lobby, Luis is starting to try to more lucidly get a hold of things. Brennan was talking to him earlier. this much he can understand. He can see Odessa nearby, hunched over a chair. There's another, injured, man not further from her, laying on his side and wheezing wetly. The plainclothes FRONTLINE operative is addressed with a sudden snap of Luis' attention.

"Do something!" Comes with a wave of one shaking hand, and the doctor's spluttering words come with a thicker than usual French accent. He hasn't yet realized that JJ is injured, that level of lucidity may take a few more moments to settle in.

She never hears Brennan over of the sound of fire's snap and crackle, or the moans and cries of people. Claire still manages to end up next to JJ, about when the lights come on bright, making her cringe against the brightness. She ducks her head down, squinting blue eyes as she attempts to move the guys heavier form.

Luis' rant pulls her attention up to the old doctor, brow furrowing a bit. Claire doesn't stop pulling at the FRONTLINE soldier. A wedge of glass glints from where it's lodged in her shoulder, the pain it causes ignored in favor for what she's doing. The rest of her clothing has dark patches, where blood has seemed into clothing.

"Come on." Claire's voice is rough as she speaks softly to JJ.

To Luis barking at him to do something, JJ is oblivious; there is very little but starbursts of pain that seem to flare even brighter when the lights come on. His face is pale, the freckles across nose and cheek standing out more from his wanness and the sudden flood of light. His one hand holding himself up shakes, and he brings the other groping hand back before Claire's voice registers.

Pale green eyes meet hers; she can see the pain and fear there in his eyes as he flicks a glance to where the Slavic man is shouting, but he manages to nod, giving her his hand to help himself up, wincing as that shifts whatever it is wedged in his back as he staggers to his feet.

Those eyes turn coldly on speakers demanding their attention, and he coughs, the sound wet, weak. His mouth parts as if to toss a rebuttal toward the terrorist, but apparently he thinks better of it, lips pressing together as he swallows back words and possibly blood.

With no immediate help coming, Odessa begins to try and reach one arm around to where glass protrude from her back. The movement is awkward, and exquisitely painful as muscle and skin tugs and pulls against intruding shrapnel.

When the voice cuts in over the speaker, the attempt to treat herself is aborted. Odessa's head snaps up and she whispers the name that comes to her mind. She sucks in a deep breath. "Doctor Luis!" she bellows with the full force of the air in her lungs, attempting to bring him back to the here and the now. "Snap out of it! For Julie's sake! I need you to help me now."

The carnage is terrible but, and this is the real tragedy, Brand has seen the like. Worse perhaps. Say what you will about xenophobic racism, at least its an ethos! His period of paralysis is short-lived, and in short order he's slinking along unobtrusively. About to pass by Obessa, in fact, when his sense of compassion gets the better of his sense of caution. HE steps away from the wall, and with effort draws himself back.

"Stop moving. You're just going to cut yourself up. Hold still and let me." Its not so much that he becomes suddenly visible, its just that he seemed to have been right in the background. Unnoticed, just kind of unimportant. Until he's standing there beside her and talking. "I'm Brand. I've done this before." Is he lying? Hard to tell with the tremor in his voice and the roar of flames and pained screams from the truck victims. As least his hands appear steady.

Tick tick tick tick. There goes the speakers, the terrorist making his gloating demands. Brand frowns, darkly. "Monster." Is the only word that comes out of his mouth. He keeps his hands steady, slowly but firmly drawing the largest shard from Odessa's back with exaggerated care. Trying not to cut her, himself, or worse yet break any of them into smaller pieces inside her. His gloves help him get a grip on the flat sides of the blood-slick glass.

"…please take out your Registration cards, that would make the process go so much smoother, and once you are on your stomachs, you may place it in front of you for easy reference," continues the voice, terribly familiar to Odessa, and maybe familiar to a handful of others. It will ring familiar to Brennan, after some realisation, and then to JJ as well even in the midst of the terrible pain. To Claire. To anyone who begged a ride off the friendly man who piloted the dark little boat between Queens and Roosevelt Island.

Michal Valentin sounds like he's having a pretty good night, all things considered. "I don't necessarily advise for the so-called Evolved amongst you take stay standing, but know it won't very much matter if you cannot prove your own humanity. Now, on the count of three— "

Some of those in the foyer are complying, confusedly, Registration cards shakily taken out. Some of them— irregardless of what it says on their card, go to duck, to flatten themselves on their stomachs as if being arrested, though the foyer is clear of anyone making them do so save for the voice on the intercom and the darkness beyond the windows.

"Jeden, dva, trui— "

Muzzle flashes indicate a firing line somewhere outside and in the distance, and bullets splinter the remaining windows, punching through the people who did not get down fast enough. The reception area is not entirely spared, with windows blowing in at errant gunshots, punching holes in the walls nearby. It's only a few, noisy seconds of unforgiving firing, but it could sound like it's going on for eternity. By the time the world is quiet again, it's filled with soft groans, the tinkle of glass, the shuffle of retreat as people who can sink deeper into the facility.

A bullet whips by Doctor Luis' head, buzzing noisily in his ear. The confused old doctor, shaken by Odessa's attempt to wrest his drugged focus and then the blare of voices, gunfire and confusion has little recourse but to duck around the same moment when Brand is tugging on the piece of glass embedded in Odessa's back. Dropping to a crouch behind the half wall below the windows, Luis' hands cover the top of his head, even as chips of glass rain down to glitter like water droplets in his curly, gray hair.

Once the adrenaline starts flowing properly, once the shock of his temporal mislocation wears off and he starts seeing things clearly again, Doctor Luis does what many might say the French excel at: Retreat.

It isn't a cowardly thing to do, it's wholly practical given his advanced age, lack of superhuman ability among other things. What he does manage to do, as he moves towards the back of the reception area, ducking behind the front desk wood flinders blowing past him as pieces of the desk are torn out, is point an accusing finger towards the bloodied, stumbling, and clearly regenerating young woman. He knows who she is, knows her face from the DHS records, from Doctor Gregor's journals and rambling obsessions.

Doctor Luis curls one finger towards himself demandingly of Claire while he can meet her gaze from around the corner of the reception desk. Come here, it sternly requests.

He'll sacrifice everyone in this building if he can get Claire to Julie. It's the closest thing he has to a plan, and his trembling hands shaking from adrenaline and stimulants are of no use to Odessa right now.

"Shit shit shit…" The single word whispered over and over again by the regenerator. For one she doesn't have a registration card. Not really. "So screwed." She glances at the windows, unable to see out of them, but feeling very exposed.

She doesn't lay down, hooking JJ's arm over her shoulder, the glass jarred in her shoulder, there is a wince and the glass falls from her shoulder to shatter bloodily on the ground as she pulls the injured man away from the truck.

Out of the corner of her eye, Claire sees Luis motioning. Brows furrow and there is a moment of hesitation, but another flying bullet convinces her to go that direction. Relative safety. "My kingdom for a gun right now." She murmurs, only JJ can hear that though.

The accented voice finally registers in the pain-addled brain of Jones, and he narrows his eyes, jaw setting angrily before he whispers, "Fuckin' boatman," to Claire, his bloodied fingers still gripping hers as he steadies himself, then lets go of her swiftly wiping his hands on his jeans. "Sorry 'bout that," he mutters. Not like she has to worry about blood-bourne precautions.

But then they're being told to get back on their bellies, and he groans as his knees bend to comply, his back rigid to try to avoid more shifting of shrapnel. He doesn't tell Claire to get down however. There's more important information to give the regenerator.

"In my waistband, under my sweater," he whispers to her, not looking back and keeping his eyes straight ahead. And there is the telltale bulge of his revolve there. "Just don't check out my skivvies. I got a girlfriend, yo." Liz will be happy to know the cut-up ham in him hasn't been fatally wounded.

"Liar," Odessa breathily responds to Brand as he lays his hands on her to pull the glass from her back. The startled cry that issues forth is part from the pain, and part from the continue gunfire, and its proximity. "Get down," she hisses as she heeds her own advice. Mostly. She falls to a crouch, bloodied fingers braced against the floor to keep her from outright falling to her hands and knees.

"Valentin!" The woman drags a hand across her head, pulling the fringe of bangs away from her good eye, leaving red on white strands. "«Let's talk cooperation!»" Odessa's Russian is stilted, but in a sea of other panicked voices, she wants hers to stand out. Especially when she's waving a proverbial white flag.

The longest shard is drawn out first, and dropped. Then the next largest. Odessa is relatively glass-free in short order - at least around the spine! "Okay, you got me…." Brand is reaching for a finger-sized sliver when Odessa goes down. He follows, avoiding the rapid-fire lead. He jams his hands against the wall and digs in his toes, hovering his muscled frame just above the sea of blood and glass on the floor.

His mouth gapes openly as Odessa calls out a name, and then yells in Russian! "You know this guy?" He blinks and looks out toward the window, then back to Odessa. He frowns, and begins to skitter away. "You just get him in here." He dashes around something or other, and lets his Ability spring back to to the fore.

Brennan's jog around the corner to get help had been halted by the now center stage act of Valentin and the demand for registration cards. That, combined with the sound of the bullets fired outside brings back memories of news reports from Brooklyn. A library, execution of individuals for being evolved.

It also makes Brennan wonder if Valentin was responsible for the burned woman. He's peering around the corner, trying to keep an eye on things, his cellphone out in the hopes of reaching someone, one of the PMC's somewhere on the island to hopefully bring about re-enforcement. Unluckily for him too, his wallet isn't on this floor, but back up, in his office.

Despite Odessa's voice bleating thin above the lower sounds of murmured groans and whispered fear, the scuffing feet of retreat, it doesn't seem like Valentin hears her. Whether that's because he can't, from where the intercom relays, or maybe he's not even in the building. Either way, her bid for either allegiance or negotiation only earns her some looks from those around her.

"And of course," he continues blithely, "if one of you happens to be the Dome creator and such, then you can of course turn yourself in, but animals do not know bravery. I do not expect much."

There's the match of movement up ahead, now, outside. The men that let loose rifle-fire into the front of the Suresh Centre stroll across the grounds, a motley collection of men in streetwear, only a couple wearing some sort of kevlar and body arm, and all of them are armed. There are, perhaps, seven in total, but out of them all, only two seem to be calm and collected about what's going on. The other five follow in formation but look terrified about whatever it is they got themselves into. But it's too late to back out.

One of the two most militant stop, observing where the truck's path blasted through the windows. He gestures from them to stop before he unclips a canister from his vest, and throws it inside overhand.

It doesn't explode. So there's that.

It does expel a smoggy, thick, yellow smoke that is quick to disperse through the foyer, oil and cloggy. It doesn't sting overmuch, obscures by nature of what it is, but that isn't the purpose. Skin contact is all it needs to turn powers off, let alone inhales. Wisps drift around the corners. The Non-Evolved present, putting trust into their fear, remain lying down and submissive as the seven approach. Luis has since disappeared back behind the desk, unseen.

"Lucky you I'm not looking for a guy right now. Just drag me down." Claire murmurs, even as she goes for the weapon in question. Hand sliding around to be inconspicuous, curling fingers around the grip to remove it. "You shouldn't lay down," she hisses softly, hunching down .

She didn't miss the message behind the words spoken over the com system. "Who knows what their going to do?" Claire studies JJ, looking briefly concerned and a touch scared herself. She can't just lay down. If she can, the fugitive plans to get out.

Of course, that's about when the canister bounces in. JJ can see the terror in her features as Claire stares at it. "I'm sorry." She says and she pulls away from the FRONTLINE soldier. "Sorry." Is said again as she abandons him. Even as she feels the tingle of the yellow smoke over her skin she's scrambling away from it and the men. Negated and no registration, she is good as dead.

Claire can't stay there.

As the canister rolls, JJ's eyes widen and he growls at Claire even as she apologizes, "Go." He can't flee that gas, not in the state he's in. He can barely hold himself on his hands and knees.

And she has his gun now. Not that his hands would be able to hold it steady enough to shoot, but he might have been able to cause some chaos, buy some time.

He clears his throat before lifting his head. "Let's negotiate," he throws out, his voice raw and rough with pain and exhaustion. "My power might be useful to you, and I'm what you might consider high profile. Jones, FRONTLINE. Think we can strike a deal?"

"Shit. Shit. Shit!" Odessa throws both hands out in front of her, toppling her balance so she falls over onto her backside. And then she's simply gone.

At least until she's got one arm wrapped around one of the more frightened men's shoulders, and a knife stuck in under his arm, where the armour doesn't cover. Past skin and muscle and to the axillary artery. This is why Odessa Price has never seen anything wrong with bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Without the shrapnel in Odessa's back, blood flows freely from the wounds, and she's starting to look a little pale. A little woozy. It accounts for the fact that she's only felled one man so far, when on any other day, she'd have seriously entertained the notion of leaving the room with a view of all seven dropping to the ground.

"Let me teach you a thing or two about aggressive negotiations, FRONTLINE boy." There's a grunt of effort that punctuates the way she twists the blade and holds the man tightly to her as a shield. "You put down your weapons, or I fucking kill the rest of you. Bleeding out isn't fun. Ask your buddy here."

As the terrorists approach, Brand is scrambling around the corner and into the corridor leading deeper into the facility. He looks back over his shoulder toward the wreckage, the pool of blood and fuel as it spreads over the marble floor. He fumbles, awkwardly, in his pocket with one hand. The other yanks down the lever of a fire alarm box, setting off the alarms and associated lights and sprinklers and whatever. That will give them a harder time burning the place down at least!

He spins around, and finally frees from somewhere in his pack a flat black military pistol - an M9. He looks at it carefully, finding the controls he's explored. Ensuring the safety is off - he knows a round is chambered. This might be the second time he'll fire a gun, and perhaps the most important. He tucks it close at hand, but concealed as he looks back in time to see the canister bouncing. Tear gas? Maybe the sprinklers will help.

His eyes widen as he sees Odessa start taking hostages. Adrenaline spikes, and his Ability tears at its traces. His heart roars - everything is hinging on the next few minutes!

Brand has done what Brennan was going to do when he saw the cannister dispense it's noxious and yellow smoke, not his first time at the rodeo with regards to it. His hand reaching for one, he ceases, dropping his free hand and then glances around the corner again. Odessa is taking hostages and he can't say that he's disappointed but actually the opposite.

And JJ is sending claire running and Brennan is more than glad to extend a hand to the woman if/when she manages to get near, ease her around the corner and out of sight of the people who are attempting - it seems - to be taking hostages. "Don't suppose you have a gun on you, do you?" the front desks are empty and short of locating a security guard, he doesn't have a gun on him and a general idea of where Valentin might be hiding out.

Holy shit. That happened fast.

Water sprays down silver, immediately doing something to thin and dilute the smoggy yellow that was otherwise filling the foyer. The six remaining soldiers pause when the Evo lady takes down the seventh, who is collapsed on the ground, bleeding freely and gasping like a fish. On his level, the scattered non-Evolved who imagined they might get out of this alive remain on their stomachs, hands on their cards, quickly getting soaked through with water that puddles on the slick ground.

Two of them look at each other, and then, unabashedly, they raise their guns and open fire. Pistols thunder fire through the foyer, but even moments before triggers were squeezed— Odessa is gone.

Where'd she go.

"Mutants. Hey, let's see some ID!" barks one of the terrorists over the wailing sirens, pointing his gun towards where a group of three huddle to the wall, hands empty of cards. Two more, glancing uneasily towards their dying comrade, start moving through the surrendered, toes of their boots nudging at the ID cards.

"Get out of here," one of them— presumably "human"— is told, and the woman is quick to get her feet under her and flee for out.

When properly motivated by a seige, Doctor Jean-Martin Luis can perform great feats of mobility, which largely amounts to continuing to run once he finally spots Claire moving in his limited field of vision behind the desk. "Miss Bennet!" Luis hisses as he scrambles from behind the security desk, bare hands trembling as he skids through an open doorway on his loafers, stopping beside Doctor Brennan. "I need you to come with me immediately before this situation escalates any further!"

Luis' eyes wildly flick up to Brennan, then out the door to the commotion of the sprinklers kicking on, water raining down from above and matting his hair down to his head. Emergency lights flash on the red fire alarm boxes high up on the walls, illuminating Doctor Luis and his consorts with a repetitious orange flash. "Please, there is someone here in this facility who is very sick, but the regenerative properties in your hemoglobin will allow her some semblance of mobility. She will be able to defuse this situation if— if we can just get her up and moving."

Luis' motivations are entirely more selfish than defusing this situation, saving his little girl seems to have become convenienced by the emergence of Claire Bennet into the facility. Though her status as terrorist, murderer and fugitive seems to come secondary to his own personal pursiots. "Doctor Brennan, I will need your assistance while Doctor Price— "

Luis looks back out the door to Odessa, staring vacantly for a moment. "Um— pre— presumably delays them?"

Already a dull ache is spreading through Claire's entire body, feeling off as her ability starts to fail her. She manages to snag Brennan's hand using the momentum to get her around the corner, until her shoulder connects painfully. There is actually a small sound of pain in the girl's throat as she does.

Then she hears her name being spoken and she can only stare at Luis for a moment, before brows dip down. A fine sheen of sweat starts to prickle across her skin and her cheeks flush as her skin threatens to warm with fever.

"What?!" She was going to give Brennan the gun, but now she's rethinking this. Fingers tightening around the grip. "No!" she growls out. "I have to get out of here." She glances at Brennan and starts to try and move past them down the hall away from the crazy old man. "It won't help her, just kill her in the end anyhow."

JJ blinks as he's called out and lectured on how to negotiate; he'll keep that in mind the next time he trades in his power and can pick up one that allows him to frolic through time and space like Odessa can. For now, words are all he really has. Even if he could fight, he's in no condition to. As he twists one arm behind himself to reach into his pocket for his ID, he searches out the eyes of the closest man checking IDs.

"What if one of these 'mutants' you just shot has the ability to get us out of this bubble? This isn't going to solve anything. The sooner you're off 'Mutant Island' with us freaks, the better right? Let me help. My power can help you. I can tell you if any of these people is responsible for this thing, and if not, you can let them go," JJ suggests. It's a lie, of course, but the precise manner of his ability is hardly public record. "I just need to … see their cards. Let me help."

Trace evidence of Odessa's path exists if one looks for it. A tacky red handprint left on a wall, smeared downward. Droplets of blood on the floor - both her own and that of the man she killed.

The six remaining men freeze in place. "Everybody up off the fucking floor and get further into the building!" The temporal manipulator stands amongst the debris of the broken front windows, the monochrome grey colour scheme of her hair, tank top, frilly skirt, and four inch heels is broken up by the spatters of brilliant red. Her arms are extended, palms out toward the men, knife presumably tucked away and obscured by the hem of her skirt of the line of blood down her leg is anything to go by. Her head is bowed, stance shaky, but she holds. "Move," she emplores the civilians in a quieter, but demanding voice.

The tableau is set, the frozen terrorists with there weapons up high. The six terrorists. The choked out grenade sizzling softly in a puddle of water. Frightened civilians running. This is where Brand comes out of the corridor, his face as white as death, adrenaline fully pumped and his Ability going full bore (barring any gas effect). He's like a white hole, his Crypsis forcing away all attention. He's unobtrusive, a gap in awareness.

Until he meets the first terrorist, not but a few feet from the corridor. His left hand yanks the rifle from his frozen hands, and his right draws out the gun from hiding. He fires, once - right into the killer's meaty thigh. Brand is no marksman or doctor - he isn't aware of femoral arteries or femur splinters. A 9mm round slams though - and his Crypsis falters. He cannot go unnoticed when being so blatantly agressive, but still it does its merry best. Attention is drawn to Brand, but at the same time his Ability is trying to force all the focus away from the young man to anything else. The gun, the corpses, the pattering water - but the threat draws them back. Its a internal tug-of-war that is almost painful inside the subconscious of the witnesses. Their nascent memories of Brand's features are ripped apart even as they form, to be refilled in later by what subconscious inklings of fearful role models the watchers have.

Regenerator, the woman that he's grabbed the arm of and brought around the corner to relative presumed safety. Who's telling them that no, no, Julie - he supposes - would just end up dying in the end. But the antagonist is likely up on the second floor and and his taunting not ot mention motives, is what he was going for. "Second floor, is where we have to go, either way. Means you" He clasps Claire's hand, interlacing fingers. "WE're going that way anyways. Valentin is there, likely at the nurses station. Luis, we'll argue about this on the way up since that's on the way to her. Are you sure that whatever this girl can do, will get Julie well enough for her to use her arsenal?" There's a stairwell here, and that's where they're heading, a pleading look to claire to please not take off.

JJs words make one of them stop and listen, disgust carved into his expression. The young FRONTLINE soldier can probably see the decision being made before it happens, before it ever has to happen — the rifle twitches, prepared to slaughter JJ like a dog even with the promise of help.

And then they freeze.

Blood spatters up from where bullets imbed into time-frozen muscle, the blam of gunfire drowning out the wet impact of bullet and flesh. Time frozen, the terrorists don't even flinch as critical injuries are blasted into their statue-still bodies — but that doesn't mean it's not horrific, warm blood spitting back at Brand as he clumsily tries to finish them off. Most of those in the building do as Odessa urges — they run, squirreling into secure offices, the auditorium, the lecture halls until the place is nearly empty save for Odessa, JJ and Brand — and of course, the six terrorists.

"Stop it!" shrills a voice, someone rushing Brand to grab his gunarm, the violence and drawn attention cutting though the hazy effect of his power. "Fucking— you're no better than them!"

With the antagonists on ground floor stalled, the group clustered away from the foyer are given time to convene. The staircase that leads up to the second level is silent, unguarded.

"No, no, no, no…" Luis murmurs hastily as he hustles along after Doctor Brennan, turning to wag one finger in Claire's direction. "I understand about your viral infection you received while overseas. I— we had some dealings with Doctor Dmitri Gregor, you see. Regretful what he did, but unfortunately I cannot change the past, you see. But Doctor Gregor suffered from the same advanced malaria that you presently do…"

Down one of the wet corridors, Luis motions towards the stairs, trying to shout over the sound of the alarms and sprinklers. "We have a store of antimalarial prophylactics from Gregor's supply here. I— I'll be abe to manage infection with that, possibly also devise a means of long-term treatment and— possibly a cure. Julie is dying," Luis states sharply to Claire, "she's just a little girl for God's sake."

Then, remembering that he was making promises, Luis turns his attention back to Brennan. "Julie was exposed to a cryokinetic and a telekinetic during the riots, she should still have those abilities in her system— " and Luis hesitates, jerks and turns towards Claire again. "She's a mimic— mosaic— similar to a man you yourself know. Peter Petrelli." Luis' brows twitch, one corner of his mouth raises. "It's more… complicated than that, but— she will replicate your regeneration once she is exposed, giving us a window of opportunity before we will need to apply treatment."

Backing up along the stairs, Luis looks back towards the noise of the carnage on the ground floor. "She'll be able to stop this." Or at least that sounds good.

The hand he grasps and laces fingers with is hot to the touch, skin clammy. Claire is obviously running a fever now, tiny microbe are attacking her negated system already. "Oh… no no." She tries to tug on Brennan's hand, but in her weakening state, the regenerator can't break the hold.

A part of her just wants to lay down and curl up in a miserable ball. "Look… whatever it is you seem to think I can do… I can't." Another futile tug is given, before shoulder slump… and she looks miserable. Her stomach feels a little off, churning unhappily, making her thankful that she hasn't really eaten much lately. "Not anymore."

Of course, invoking the name of a man that terrifies Claire has her stopping completely in her tracks. Paling… or maybe that's the malaria, as she doubles over in an attempt to empty her stomach. "Possibly cure?" That finally sinks in once the muscles of her stomach seem satisfied. The fact that she hasn't pointed the gun at them is either a testimate of her condition or that she's actually listening

All JJ has are words, but they're the wrong ones. His eyes close, but nothing happens — the gunshots are not aimed at him and he finds himself still breathing — if shallowly. "Jesus," he whispers, opening his eyes to squint at the frozen horror in front of him. His ID is grasped in his bloody fingers and he moves to his knees, reaching for a wall to help himself stand.

"Find Valentin," he gasps to Odessa, even as his hands slide on the wall, leaving a garish Freddy Krueger sort of fingerpainting.

One man is spared by the refugee woman's morality, and the hand on Brand's arm. "Go," she demands of them both, a glance slid to JJ. A subtle nod of her head.

The sound of heels on hard floor and over debris is dulled by water and tackier pools, splashing up to stain silver satin. Pale grey frills made darker from moisture are bunched up on the left side, knife procured from a dark leather sheath made to wrap around mid-thigh. The unwounded (and unarmed) man is wrapped up from behind in a gross mimcry of a lover's embrace. The tip of the knife is poised too close to the man's left eye for comfort when his world resumes once more.

"Don't move," Odessa murmurs sweetly into his ear. A river flows down the bridge of her nose, dropping pink off its tip where blood is washing away from her hair. Slept-in eyeliner and mascara run darker in the ravines of scars across her face. "You have two choices. Or," her voice lilts up there, so sultry in tone like this were actually an arrangement of a romantic liaison, "I can start removing parts of your body that you'll find rather inconvenient to live without until you decide to tell me where he is.

"This one's a bitch." The knife draws closer to the man's eyes. "Trust me," purrs the girl with one eye, "I know."

The young man, righteous with his pistol and his stolen rifles, is stopped before putting a bullet in the last terrorist. Brand turns his head, and addresses her - the identifiers of his voice blanked out, his words stripped of context and tone. "They murder women and children for being born different. I strike back against them to protect you." He shrugs her off, but Odessa is there. He surrenders the last man to her. "I'm going after the leader." What did someone say?

Second floor. Right. There's already a group heading that way, and so he moves to join them. He'll even hand out some of the rifles he pulled from the Humanis First members. They probably have full-ish magazines.

There's a plan. The regeneration will keep this… malaria in check. "Mish had Malaria" It just pops into his head. He's had experience with it before and that makes the regenerators issues obvious. If the negation gas touched her. "Gas doens't last long, it'll wear off soon" The stairwell bangs open, he's shuffling them in - old man and young woman - and they head up. "You want to live, miss, then we need to do this. If we want others to live. Julie's a living miracle and you'll get to see first hand what she can do, especially for a child" He's swift, pausing only to pick up claire with an arm under her knee's and shoulders, making short work of the flight of stairs they need to take, hoping Luis can keep up. Getting to what they need, past the nurses desk though, may be an issue if what they need is past it.

Silence, upstairs.

Silence apart from wailing fire sirens, of course, making it difficult to detect anything threatening beyond the stairwell. But the nurse station is empty, even as sprinklers rain water down upon unprotected electronics that render the intercom tech at the desks unusuable, as well as the abandon radio receiver that the group can spy discarded. For all that Valentin got so much glee for calling the "animals" cowardly, he doesn't exactly seem to be up for doing it in person.

But someone had to set this up, and that mystery is solved soon when a dark shape huddled in an office doorway draws attention to himself by opening gunfire towards the stairwell, a thin, reedy looking man who looks more panicked and jittery than he does confident and militant. The bullets miss, rain down plaster, and he's absolutely no threat in the face of the group come to meet him — even if half of them are made up of sick Claire and Luis.

Down below, the man in Odessa's grasp is frozen. Not literally, anymore, his breath rattling reedy in his throat and unable not to stare at the blurry grey that suggests itself to be the point of a knife. "Boat," he spits, finally. "Docked at Queens."

"Not this malaria she hasn't." Claire sounds worn out, run down. She's like a heater, held there with little protest, head threatening to lull over to thump against his shoulder. There isn't much she can do in this situation. At least, til the gas has run it's course. "It's mutated… incurable." Cardinal will not be happy with her, being carried in the arms of one of the Institute's people. Hell, her father will not be happy with her.

There is a tick, as her brain rolls this around in her head. "I need to leave." Panic zips through her, but the malaria keeps the fight out of her. Not to mention… where is she going to go anyhow?

"Recording," JJ mutters, spitting out a mouthful of blood as he struggles to keep both his footing and his consciousness. Green eyes glare at the man with equal enmity. One hand grips the wall while the other slips into his pocket to pull out his cell phone. His shaky hand and one-thumbed typing makes it an arduous task; especially as he glances up every few seconds to be sure Odessa has the situation handled. Valentin (Boat runner) HF. Do Not trust. This goes to the few contacts he has

"Where's their base?" he hisses. "Tell me, or she'll kill you." It's hard to threaten, but he wields Odessa as the weapon he doesn't exactly hold. His eyes flick to Odessa to try to impart the absolute necessity of getting this information, but suddenly the pain and wooziness drives him down to one knee.

Odessa gasps delighted in her hostage's ear, her own gaze wide and alight with glee. "Thank you," she whispers. Then, she plants a kiss at that place where ear meets jaw, relishing in the fact that she disgusts him by virtue of her genetic make up.

It's okay. He disgusts her, too, by virute of his being a massacring, ignorant fuck. "Tell the nice FRONTLINE man what he wants to know, won't you?" Odessa coos, nuzzling deceptively sweet. But the look she shoots Jones, where the man she holds can't see it, shows she isn't faring much better than he is. But she stays standing. For now. If only because she has a sturdier body to lean against.

More people with guns. This is just one person and his aim seems to be errant, more that of someone scared than actually aiming which is really in Brennan's favor. Claire is unceremoniously plopped down, making sure she's at least on her feet, can lean against Luis and get to where they do once skinny scared guy is done spraying them down. He doesn't notice Brand making his way to join them - such is the nature of the teenagers ability being what it is and he removes Claires gun, giving possession of the young woman to the old man.

Now it's Brennan's turn and these days at least, pointing, safety, and shooting isn't so much an issue for a novice at weapons. Actually hitting the target might and trying not to be some idiot in a movie and instead a guy with a DoEA badge, a Dr's license and a great desire to see his wife and children again, he's poking his head around the corner, half of him exposed, both hand pointing to try and steady the gun and firing it off at the man the moment he see's him.

Thou shalt do no harm. Likely violated - if he actually hits someone - but he could say, beyond a doubt, that it was in self defense and that of others. "Get her to Julie, I'll follow"

Many bullets pepper the walls, the plaster, the ceiling. One, though, nestles snug into the terrorist's chest, blowing him back from the doorway and disappearing out of view. There's a clatter of a dropped weapon, a low moan of pain. Then nothing at all. Sprinklers are beginning to die, petering out into trickles where once it was a shower of silver. A Slippery When Wet sign stands with appropriately against the nurse station desks.

The water down below wans as well, and in the distance, everyone in the Suresh Centre can hear the explosions from norther Roosevelt Island.

"Fuck you," hisses the terrorist being repulsed by Odessa, just as the sirens cut out, and both levels are thrown into darkness once more when the generator is switched off by some pragmatic individual who had fled the scene just minutes ago. "D'you hear me? I hope you both fucking burn."

The shooting has Claire cringing, even if the negation is bound to wear off soon. She's hoping sooner then later. All she can do is let fingers go slack, relinquishing her firearm. Letting Brennan have it. What is she going to do, fight him for it? She just doesn't have the energy at the moment.

She's at their mercy, letting herself be drawn away further into the Center by an old man who wants to save a little girl. Claire thinks he's truly crazy. She wouldn't want to wish her disease on any kid.

A worried glance is thrown upward at the sound of more gunfire, and JJ's eyes narrow. He pushes out of that kneeling position. "We'll see if he'll be more talkative later. Or maybe we can find a telepath to poke around his head, see what we can find out that way," the young man suggests.

"If you can hold him," he suggests to Odessa coolly, "I'll go find something to restrain him. You can shoot out his kneecap til then, if you like though."

Odessa's eyes squeeze shut, one visible and one not, with the effort it takes for her to freeze their prisoner in place again. One hand makes a gesture like coiling an invisible thread (or maybe a rope) around her hand, holding it fast in her fist. Her hold on the man is relinquished and she shoves him to the ground. Which is awkward and stiff with him being frozen in time like that.

Then, Odessa tumbles to the floor after him. Cutting through the Achilles tendon is cruel, but in her mind, it's better than a gunshot wound. And with him in stasis for the time being, they're spared the unpleasant screaming. That… will just come later.

Laying on her back in the puddle that has formed from the dying sprinklers, Odessa turns her tired gaze to Jones. "I think we both need doctors," she tells the FRONTLINE officer weakly. Her pantomime grip adjusts, as though she were losing her grip on that invisible tendril. She'll hold on, for now.

Blood slivers like veins through the puddling water on the foyer ground. Not only from the respective wounds of JJ and Odessa, but the dead around them, those unlucky enough to get caught in the Humanis First execution from the destructive firing line. Abandoned Registration cards lie amongst glass and gore both.

It's a long way's a way, or may as well be, where Michal Valentin abandons the radio on the low table in his boat's cabin, where the vessel nestles up close to the Queens foreshore. The cellphone in his own hand is nattering enraged, female and British and cursing like a sailor despite the fact it's he who moves across a deck in still water. Whatever tinny-voice rant is carrying on is closed off with a snap shut of the phone itself. He'll just tell Mayes the signal is bad, here in the Dome.

In reality, the only thing that matters is the inside, and by the time the people limping away from the events of tonight see the new day darker with smoke than it was before, they'll probably have to agree.

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