Signs Of Life


ethan_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title Signs Of Life
Synopsis Rescue, recovery and discovery occurs a handful of days after the Dome's downing.
Date February 23, 2011


Snow and ice have only melted so as to conform clingier to the shapeless rubble of Gabriel's last place of employment, it slips wetly beneath his feet as the serial killer treads cautious over the ruins. They have yet to bring the dogs, the audio equipment and the heat sensors to some cheap, looted supermarket in Queens, but Gabriel knows it'll only be a matter of time until they do, until they have to. Signs of life in more publicised places draws the all-seeing media eye, as unblinking as the moon that hovers now, free of clouds. A starry night, cold, deserted.

He's better than a sniffer dog, than heat sensors and imaging. Standing still, then, and attempting to block out the edges of minds fuzzing around the periphery of his two hundred foot range of effect, Gabriel sends a psychic radar out for any signs of physical life beneath the rock. Feeling silly, unsure.

It's just it's—

Been a while.

And the place is a wreck. And people are dead.

The proverbial blip blip on Gabriel's psychic radar goes off deep into the rubble. Deep under there, someone is alive.

Where the janitors closet used to be, under several feet of ground up Patel Brothers a little tiny heart beats quietly but steadily in the midst of all the stone and curry.

A quiet breath drags in despite the obstacles currently delivered to breathing. Dragging in the breath below the dripping frost, the breath is exhaled. There is a subtle shift in the mound of sheeprock, plaster, and concrete.

Distance and placement is intuitive, vague and subjective, susceptible to error. Gabriel crushes the impulse to physically approach and stand over the spot he senses the living body beneath, to get a closer, more accurate reading— and instead falls into a crouch in animal instinct to make himself smaller when a shift of rubble does this for him. Sharp suspicion. People can be tough.

Not that tough.

But while he's here…

Rebar within reach is scraped up, dragging along loose rubbled concrete as Gabriel gets up to stand, monitoring in blipping flashes the body beneath the crush, moving in circular trajectory around it with his fist clasped form around the length of iron, its jagged edge.

There's another stir and then… nothing.

The breathing continues on, shallow and quiet. It's ragged but continuin on. Every now and then the breathing and the heartbeat are more faint. But still there, if only just there. For a long moment there's nothing. Just the faint bleeping blips that someone is alive within the rubble. And then there's an explosion of activity.

But as far as explosions go, it's kind of like pop rocks instead of a nuclear blast.

A muffled 'raaaa' seeps out from the rubble. It might be loud from where it is originating, but from the surface it's faint and distanct. A long piece of rebar protruding from the mess shakes a little as if being pulled deep in the wreckage.

Tree climbing animals do it like this — poke a stick into a hole in the tree and allowing the ants to swarm over probing twig, and then you get a tasty snack. If you like ants. Gabriel moves forward at that shiver, dropping his own weapon in favour of placing both hands on the rebar and preparing to breathe deep the trapped-animal hysteria of the victim on the other side of it, let pretrernatural strength flow through his muscles, drag them free of the rock and take a look at what's on the other end.

The tiny twinge of anxiety, inundated with other emotions that go raaa doesn't do much to help Gabriel, his hands slipping off the iron and staggering back with a small landslide of pebbles and plaster and melting ice. His eyebrows dip to convey more indignant surprise than an exclamation poinr.

That muffled roar sounded vaguely familiar.

Below the mass of debris that separates the roaring creature and Gabriel, the trapped whatever seems to be getting a little angrier. The rebar shakes a little more, a little violently. Quaking and jiggling like the cartoon bar in a jail scene. Where the cartoon criminal shakes the bars and they actually wiggle.

Wriggle wriggle.

There's another feral cry stirring and beating against the shit piled up that used to be Patel Brothers. But the tantrum doesn't last over long and as abruptly as it started it ends, a complete silence falling over the ruins of the Indian Specialty store.

And this is where he digs, supposedly. Gabriel spends a few seconds glancing around, before approaching.

Chunks of wall and ceiling are handled away from the spot of activity, quick to coat his hands and his arms and his chest in fine grey dust, matching the way age-silver spangles through his dark hair, through the grain of stubble on his face (because he went grey for some mysterious reason). Brick tumbles down beside him, tile scattered aside, ceiling lifted and frisbeed off to the side. Loose gravel is dug into with his hands, removed, fingers numb in the chill that winter lays on brick in fallen slush and unrelenting air, steam on his breath as he works.

The digging process takes some effort. And time. White and grey dust flinging around from the flakes that Gabriel tosses off. When his dig starts to go a little puppy style digging is when he finally hits paydirt. Or hand-dirt.

A finger twitches against Gabriel's hand, the hand raising and instinctually grasping Gabriel's forefinger. Much like the muscle reaction an infant has when a finger is placed in their palm. Grasping the finger a weak pull is delivered to it before the hand releases completely. The digging doesn't last much longer after that.

Ethan is pale, his cheeks sunken in, dark bags resting under his eyes. Stubble over growing on his features, the man's eyes narrow and close tightly at the sudden exposure to light. He's shirtless, covered in superficial cuts and bruises along his body. There are a few more grievous injuries, but they seem as if they are starting repair themselves.

The man lies their limply, eyes cracking open. Weakly craning his head back a dry croak is let out from his throat. Hand dropping to the side. His eyes look up at Gabriel blankly, as if seeing things that aren't there. Or seeing nothing. Frost is gathered around him, though there is no signs of hypothermia, no shivering, no blue around the lips.

Well then.

Curious, unhopeful search veering off into suspicion and murdeorus motivation capsizing back into the search for a friend has Gabriel unhesitating by the time he can spy Ethan beneath it all, gripping elbow, upper arm to drag him out from the crush of the rubble. Mouth slightly parted and dark eyes wide, he scans Ethan's features, automatically checking pupil reactions, focus, although he lacks doctoring and tests, hand movements, little torches.

"Ethan," he growls, a hand gripping onto his shoulder and giving him a sharp jostle. Occurs to him after you're not meant to shake collapsed building victims, but a roving glance at his injuries betrays it doesn't matter.

A light murmur of protest leaks out of his lips as he's jostled. Kind of like the noise a sleeping teenager makes when someone tries to stir them at 7 on a saturday. One hand comes up to weakly bat at Gabriel's wrist. The half naked man slumps somewhat in Gabriel's grasp, head lolling to the side as if threatening to fall off his neck and roll around like the great pumpkin.

The man's too dry tongue crawls out of its hole, it feels like it is too big to stay in his mouth. So he's just going to air it out for now. For a moment another noise is made. MMwgh. "Sylar." He answers, the single word is slurred. Difficult to say. "Sy-larrr." Maybe if he tries it more it will sound better. "Silir. Listen." His head dips forward, his hand that wasn't busy scraping at Gabriel's hand comes up. Something he had been clutching this whole time. An SLC test kit. The results shining bright red. SLC positive. "I can't die.." He confesses, with a delirious sort of creaky laughter. It only lasts for a moment.

"Feng can."

It's Gabriel's pupils that dilate, glancing for the SLC test kit and holding there, his hands frozen in their grip on Ethan's cold flesh. Mouth shut and breathing through his nose, knowing that overwhelming rush of chemical adrenaline and gnawing, agonising envy and jealousy that almost makes the edges of his vision hazy and black. Hunger tastes like metal in his mouth, the slurry sound of the name ringing sharp in his head, but he's had some practice at denying it. This. Enough that he does not, even as it catches him so unexpectedly.

Ethan's Evolved.

And can't die.

That Feng's dead doesn't even blip on Gabriel's radar.

"You still look like shit," he dismisses. Tries to. "We need to get out of here. The Dome went down. I'm going to use Wu-Long's power." It's a kindness, that he even gives warning.

Ethan's weight slops over, leaning into Gabriel heavily. The kit is dropped as his hands try to climb Gabriel's wrist loosely. Holding onto him that way. Gripping the wrist, Ethan pulls some. But it doesn't help him much. His eyes flit around as a lazy smile creeps up his lips. "How is Wu-long?" Ethan asks groggily. Trying to force himself up somewhat.

"How long have I been in the office?" He asks, peering down at himself. "I think I had shits." A light sigh is dragged out.

"I'm thirsty."

"Days." This delivered a little stonily. How dare Ethan be alive after days of entrapment! Gabriel only shuffles back to allow attempts at getting up mostly just to watch to see if he can — he didn't bring water, or tools, or food, or medical supplies, and so can offer nothing in his crouch save for a waitful, assessing stare.

As Gabriel's wrist is pulled away, Ethan's body lurches forward to try and find that support but it's gone. So Ethan slumps forward. Legs going under him, his body crumples like a strange caterpillar, flopping onto his stomach, Ethan crumbles to the side. The soft of his side goes to rest heavily against a protruding spike of rebar with a particularly sharp end.

But even though Ethan's momentum at the sharp side should cause another small cut, nothing happens. The bar just prods into his side like an annoying finger. His hand flings up to grasp at it and push away some. A little groan coming out.

"Can y'get Feng out.. we need to 'ang 'im." Holden murmurs as he collapses in front of Gabriel on his back, arms spreading out as if casually lounging.

It smells like smoke and poop out here.

Gabriel isn't planning to find Feng's body. The building pancaked beneath them seems like sufficient monument.

Scoping a look up and down Ethan's fallen form, Gabriel's eyes trick on over towards where rebar should have stabbed the man and failed to, and a sliver of ivory shows as Gabriel's lip curls. He leans and grips onto Ethan's ankle, and slurry rambling is cut out by the time they are both converting into strange inky energy, pulling away from the site of the wreckage.

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