brian2_icon.gif deckard3_icon.gif tyler_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Scene Title Surrealism
Synopsis Deckard meets Brian on Canal Street, only Brian is apparently already cheating on Kameron with Veronica and pretends to have no idea who Deckard is. Then Tyler shows up and things really get weird. Really, really weird. And violent. And then even more weird.
Date February 27, 2009

Canal Street Market

Day or night, Canal Street is busy in Chinatown. Perfumes, purses, produce, pork, and poultry are all sold side by side in busy open storefronts. One entire portion of the street is dedicated to nothing but jewelry stores catering to various price ranges. Box vendors sell all manner of sizzling foodstuffs to passing pedestrians, some of it identifiable, some of it better left unexplained. The ambiance is one of business and pleasure.

Up and out of the cab, Brian swiftly makes his way around the back of the taxi to open the door for his date. The young man is dressed in a black suit over his white shirt. No tie is worn. He is clean shaven and looking much more slick than the counter part he is merrily unaware of ever looks. Opening the yellow door, the man flourishes a hand before reaching down to help the woman out of the vehicle.

"Hungry, baby?" Brian gives a mischievous grin as she goes to exit the vehicle. Going for his wallet the Agent pays the driver in full before returning his attention to the woman. "So, where to?"

Veronica chuckles and shrugs a bit. "If you are," she says. "Dim sum or buffet or sit down?" she says, pointing to the various little eateries along the street. Her eyes sweep the street curiously, taking in the tourists and the locals, the difference between them as obvious as the overstuffed bags that the tourists all carry as they bump into other people on the crowded sidewalks. She drops a fiver in the guitar case of a busking musician, who looks homeless from the looks of it. "Been here before?" she asks Brian curiously.

Unremarkable from behind, Deckard is a tall, wiry man with a narrow, angular countenance and a nice overcoat. Nice in part because it's new. New in part because he bled all over the old one, which wasn't actually that old on account of the fact that he bled all over its predacessor too. Black over black over grey, aside from his height and the fact that he doesn't look particularly healthy, he'd blend in a lot better if he wasn't wearing a patch of black leather over the socket of his left eye. Pirate or Bond villain, take your pick.

It's comfortable enough out that his jacket is open, which leaves room for the the butt of a handgun stored in a shoulder holster beneath it to expose itself occasionally at the behest of strong breezes and impolite pedestrians who shoulder past without so much as a muttered, 'Excuse me.' He's too interested in metal flip lighters to bother paying them much heed, though. Not, at least, until a familiar face glimpsed near the street prompts him into a distracted half-turn after Brian and Veronica.

Tucking his hand into Veronica's as they walk he gives a little shrug to her question. "Up to you." He says distractedly on where they eat. His eyes are wandering the place. Not only does it seem familiar, something in the back of his mind screamed that something important happened here. His eyes hover for an extended amount of time on an auto shop, his grip on Veronica's hand tightening as a flash of undecipherable memories flood through his mind. He can't help but stare for a bit, his pace slowing somewhat.

Veronica, wearing a trenchcoat over jeans and boots, has a certain way of walking that suggests she has no lack of confidence, despite having never been in the city before. She glances up at Brian when she feels the squeeze of his hand. "See something?" she murmurs quietly, her eyes skimming the auto shop. She pauses, then turns to look down the street, chattering as he stands looking. "Yeah, we really do need to get the car in, or maybe sell it. It's stupid to keep it in a parking garage if we can't drive it, and at New York costs? What the hell is a catalytic converter anyway?"

There's a flicker of blue around the region of Deckard's head — almost not worth mentioning at all. The reflection of some over-enthusiastic neon sign screaming about noodles across the street reflected off the gleam of his eye. He sure does pick Brian out of the crowd pretty quick, though, brows adopting a puzzled level when he takes in Veronica at his side. She's hot. Also, definitely legal, unlike most of the jailbait he's been raking up around the city lately.


The lighter in his hand is glanced over one last time, his wallet is withdrawn, payment is made, and he's on his way for the pair, heedless of their distraction. "Hey. I've been trying to get ahold of you. …Weren't you with some blind chick like a week ago?"

"You ever come near her again…. I'll kill your whole family… Then I'll come for you."

It's the type of dream that makes it real hard for him to decide whether or not it was a dream he had recently or a flicker of a memory from his life before. But it's so vivid..

The butt of his gun smashing powerfully against an asian man's head..

The worst part was that it was him making that threat. Blinking out of his sudden daydream, the young man looks down to the woman babbling about cars or something. He has no idea. "Huh?" He answers dumbly, trying to rewind and figure out what she had said before. But not much comes of it. "Oh right. Yeah, I have no idea—" But he's interrupted by a very non-feminine voice belonging to a pirate.

"Excuse me?" Brian asks, looking up at the man addressing them. What is this? A test? Part of his training? Did someone know about their mission? Or was it just an honest mistake? "I think you have me mistaken for someone." Brian says politely, tugging Veronica into him so that she too is facing the newfound pirate.

Veronica's brows knit together as she turns around to face the tall one-eyed man, eyes flicking from him to Brian. "A blind girl?" she says, and gives Brian a suspicious look, looking the part of the girlfriend who's just been told her boyfriend's been sighted with some other woman. She glances up at the tall man, her dark eyes flicking left and right across his face as if to read his face, his one-good eye. "Ah, that's probably it. You do have one of those faces. You know. You look like a lot of people. Good little boy next door looks. In fact, haven't I always said you remind me of my first boyfriend? Maybe that's why I like you so much," she chatters, veering to one side of Deckard, tugging Brian along with her, to keep him walking. She points down the street. The far end of the street. "That place looks good," she says. Like one can tell from this far away — all that can be seen is a blinking neon dragon.

Deckard tries to laugh it off, only…laughing it off isn't really his style and he has less than usual to laugh about anyway, so. He gets about as far as some cinching at crows feet and scruffy laugh (frown) lines carving in around teeth bared into something that might pass for a smile (assuming the bar is set low enough.) Ha ha, yes. He has an eye patch. It's like he's in disguise. Hilarious. Asshole.

His right hand claps to a hard stop at Brian's shoulder when the couple tries to veer past. He knows a Brian when he sees one. The kid's idiot bones are better imprinted into his memory than most. "Look, Brian," he punctuates the name with a narrowing of his eye at Veronica, as if to smother her presumption that he's just some random one-eyed crazy guy making conversation on the street, "I'm not going to get in the way of a good di…date," his attention then sweeps unwisely down the length of Veronica's legs, "but we're going to have a problem if you don't get back to me soon, okay?"

"Watch a lot of youtube?"

Bringing a hand to his forehead the young man looks rather discombobulated for a second. The hand gripping Veronica's relaxes a bit. He casts a confused expression from Deckard to Veronica, and for a moment looks like he's going to be sick. Veronica starts leading him around though he stops dead when the hand comes on his shoulder. He looks about to speak, but then his lips pucker up tightly once his name is mentioned. His gaze goes to Veronica for a moment as if asking what he should do in this awkward situation.

"My name- I." The young man mutters, slowly looking up to him. "I think you're very confused." Winters says, glancing to Veronica once again as if for approval.

[OOC] Brian says, "aaa"
[OOC] Brian says, "the first part isn't said"
[OOC] Brian says, "it's a memory"
[OOC] Brian says, "let the record reflect this"

OOC Deckard Note: So let it be written. So let it be done.

Veronica nods, frowning at Deckard, as if he was crazy. "You just have one of those faces," she assures "Winters," then turns narrowed eyes on Deckard. "His name is Garrett," she tells the other man. "Please, you're disturbing him. You're scaring us," she says. "You're obviously mistaken, he just looks like someone you know. But it couldn't have been him. We just got back into town from being away for a month. He wasn't even here two weeks ago." She tugs Winters again, away from that hand, if Deckard lets them pass. "If we see anyone who looks like him, we'll let him know… to contact you." Well, at least she's trying to be helpful.

The brunette glances up at Deckard. "What's your name, so I can pass it on?"

Nose rankled irritably, Deckard glances rapid-fire over Brian's face, trying to discern why the hell he's being such a dick. All the looking over at Veronica Fulk is doing isn't helping matters, either.

The broad of his hand splayed out of its initial contact, the older man lets it slide down slack off Brian's jacket after another awkward series of seconds spent waiting for an explanation. "Deckard." Eventually, his eye lands back on Veronica, and with a bristled clench of his jaw, he moves to step all the way around her, hand trailing lightly around her ass as he goes. …Perhaps in the biggest creep move he's made to date. "Hope she's worth it."

Frowning deeply, Brian immediately agrees with the name given him. "Garrett." She could have chosen a better name, that one does not suit him at all. Narrowing his brows his eyes follow Deckard's movements as the man moves around him and— aaaa—

Eyes going wide down at that hand, Brian doesn't hesitate. She's his fake girlfriend, but she's with him all the same. And even if his memory is sketchy, he does remember that the female you're with is protected. And so it is that Brian launches himself into a haymaker of a punch directed at the side of Deckard's face (not the broken side.) It's his first time to use his brand new secret agent training in action, and despite having a very angry scowl-y expression on his face, he's kind of excited. Stepping into his assault, the man immediately drops into his guard just after making his strike, his other arm moving out to gently guide Veronica away from the man as if protecting her.

The small brunette twirls around to face Deckard with a gasp, looking shocked and offended by the graze of his hand. As Brian/Winters/Garrett throws a punch she cries out, as if dismayed, tugging him back. "Leave him alone, Garrett," she says, her eyes narrowing as they fall on Deckard once more. "He's not worth it," she adds, though her free hand slides to her waistband as she steps away. The street is not quite so busy as some of the shops have begun to close for the night, but there are enough people that a true scene isn't a good idea.

Mmmmm whacha saaaay.

Mmmmm that you only meant weeeeell?

Odds are what's going to keep this from becoming a scene in any true sense of the word is a time constraint. That is to say, the fight only lasts about as long as it takes Brian's fist to contact the side of Deckard's head halfway through a reflexive jerk in the opposite direction. Stylish new pain meets the drab, hollow ache of yesterday across the bridge of his knife-scratched skull, and the old man is out. Like a light.

He hits the ground accordingly, and stays there, comfortable enough on his back with a few people staring open-mouthed on the sidewalk's perimeter. Someone thinks to take a camera phone picture.


Bringing his fist back, Brian looks at where Deckard should be and then slowly down to the man out on the ground. Brian actually gives a kind of impressed look at his fist. Mouthing the word 'wow'. He waves it around a bit as if to get the pain of punching someone that hard off of his hand. Looking off of his fist down to the downed Deckard he winces a bit this time. He didn't mean to hurt him that bad.

But finally he looks back to Veronica, who is either going to be pleased or pissed. He's betting pissed. He takes a step away from the man he just laid out, normally he would help him up, but uhh.. are you supposed to do that with someone you just knocked out?

"Shit, Br-Garrett," she says, with a quick glance at the man on the concrete, hoping he didn't catch her slip up on the name. After all, they were going to use their normal names, their badges have their normal names, she had to think on her feet, dammit. "Hitting a half blind man, what's wrong with you!" she says in a plaintive imitation of the typical annoyed girlfriend.

A little Chinese woman points her finger at the man. "I see everything! He had it coming to him! He was touching you!" she says, pointing at Veronica in an admonishing way. "Don't you yell at your nice boyfriend. He did the right thing!" She heads back into her shop, slamming the door.

"Jesus," Veronica growls. "Let's go," she adds, tugging Brian's arm and hurrying away before anyone gets too good a look at them.

It doesn't take long for Deckard to come to. A minute. Maybe two before one of his hands twitches and he blinks hard. The concrete isn't iced over, but it is cold against the back of his neck. Someone's standing over him, face a blur of pale flesh and dark hair. He grunts.

Real discomfort doesn't settle in until he pushes himself up into a slouching sit. Pain plays hot to cold, dull to sharp, back and forth across his brain while punch to the head and empty eye socket seek to establish dominance over each other. Whichever wins, he loses, and he's slow about the process of putting himself back up on his feet. Nobody helps him. Miss Swan said he was getting grabby, after all.

"I-He touched you." Brian retorts as Veronica goes to claim his arm. Backpedalling the man's eyes rest on Deckard as he walks away. How does he know him? He knew his name. They must have known each other before… And he punched him. He could have found out more about himself. Found someone who knew him. But then again, his former life abandoned him after all, not the other way around. Anger rises up in him as he looks down at Deckard, finally turning himself around to walk along side Veronica.

"See? I'm a nice boyfriend." Winters says in agreement with the little woman to his girlfriend. Walking a little more swiftly with her to create a larger gap from them and the scene of the crime, Brian plays the one eyed man's face and voice over and over in his mind.

Veronica walks fast enough that they get a decent distance between them and Deckard, but her head is held high and she looks here and there at the shops on the street to make it seem that they've done nothing wrong. Her voice low, she says to Winters, "Did you really not know him? That could be a problem. I'm going to have to file something about that…" before continuing her constant chatter in her "street voice." "Wow, look at the silks in that shop! I'm going to have to come back when they're open. What do you think about that for a table runner?" she says, tapping the glass of a window as she passes by.

The white Jacob's Steamers Carpet Cleaners van that very slowly drives by is just one of many vehicles struggling to get close to Canal Street. With the marketplace itself closed to vehicle traffic, it leaves the van parking on the street corner not far away in a more traffic-friendly section of Chinatown.

The van itself would, on any other day, go unnoticed. As Brian and Veronica try to distance themselves from Flint Deckard's prone and battered form, the sound of shouting in Cantonese blends in with the other voices on the street. But the one man, shouting in English, seems slightly more haggard than the others, "Stop! Please! I— I just need more time! I— " Wrestled out of the back of the van by two Chinese men in leather jackets, the tired and strung-out figure of //Tyler Case could be any other poor white kid in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Stop! Fuck! Come on, guys! I — Just — Help! Fuck!"

Tyler's cries for help are rewarded with a swift punch to the stomach, sending the man doubling over. As he and his captors circle around th evan, it's clear his hands are zip-tied behind his back, and the two rough-looking men dragging him away from the van lead him arm-in-arm into an alleyway.

'Anger,' would also accurately describe some of what Deckard's feeling while short term memory slots itself back into place. A hand lifted to scrub grit from the side of his face and the back of his coat, he has to turn his head a little further than is strictly comfortable to get a bead on the source of Tyler's shouting.

Flint watches. It's what he evolved to do, isn't it? Remaining eye too blue against a backdrop of loud neon and market stalls, he finishes off with one last sweep before he turns his head to lift a brow after wherever Brian and Tits McGee wound up.

"No. I didn't know him." Brian almost growls defensively. His arm slipping around Veronica's waist, instinct, trying to make it look 'natural' though it all feels unnatural. Something about pretending makes him think everyone is aware that he is pretending. He pulls her in a little closer to him. "Yeah that would be a good.." Trailing off, something in the reflection of the glass gets his attention.

Swinging his head around, Brian narrows his brows. "Baby.. I think that's my cousin-brother." Brian murmurs, his attention goes to the Chinese taking the man out of the van. "Should we become the dashing heroes and gain his trust?" He asks softly, hesitating on actually moving in. There's a lot of shock in this guy just popping up out of nowhere.

As she follows Brian's gaze, she shakes her head incredulously. "Fucking crazy night," Veronica mutters, nodding to Brian, as she nods down the alley, indicating they should head in. "We better hurry, before they get him into the building. That's bad news," she whispers, moving into a jog and then a spring, her hand drawing the gun from her waistband, though keeping it hidden within her coat. Her other hand pulls out a cell phone, as they approach the van. "Let him go," she demands, her voice ringing loud and clear.

When Winters and Sawyer decide to make the move, cutting across the street and around the front of the van, they notice the driver's and passenger's seat thankfully unoccupied from the window. Peopl eon the street look away when the pair go rushing into the alleyway; old and acclimated residents of Chinatown know to turn the other cheek when Triad work is present, espescially with Chang-Ye's regime. But when people brandishing guns go charging in alleys, it's a sure sign to shuffle on and pretend nothing is happening.

No one sees anything.

No one hears anything.

The gunshot that comes when Veronica rounds the corner into the alleyway is loud enough to be hard to ignore. A bullet whizzes past her cheek, punching through long locks of her hair to puncture into the right-front fender of the van with a hollow clunk.

The Triad thug that fired at Veronica lets his free arm unwind from around Tyler's, and the other man holding Case swings him around and throws him to the ground, also reaching for a gun. "Qu nide!" One shouts in Mandarin, and it's true that fuck off translates rather clearly in all languages.

Released and thrown to the ground, Case slams hi sback on the icy alley, his hands crunching beneath the small of his back as his feet kick and scrape, trying to push him away from the gunfight, "Stop! Stop! Holy shit!"

Deckard the one-eyed pirate patch douchebag sees. He stays where he is, some distance off to the side of the alley's mouth, and so theoretically out of easy trajectory of any bullets that might come flying out of it from any one of the multiple guns bristling just inside. The dance of Brian and Veronica skeletons around the van is observed with some thinning around the flat press of his mouth; his head tilts after some shouting in a language that isn't English.

He doesn't lift a finger.

"Right." Brian says in response as he crosses the street briskly at Veronica's side. He starts to reach into his coat to pull the gun out from his side as they move into the alley. Though his eyes spring open widely, shock flooding on his features as a bullet fly by Veronica's beautiful cheekbones. The quest to draw his gun is abandoned as one foot presses off strongly. Practically leaping into the woman, his arms are flung out into a full fledged tackle.

Aiming to take her out of the line of sight, behind the corner to protect her. He may fully tackle her, but it is not his attention, a simple dash to take her out of harms way. He says nothing, not even a yell or a grunt. Once he tackles her to the side though, he finally goes to draw his gun. And then chooses to speak. "Should we just start shooting?" He asks, junior partner to his senior.

Veronica crouches behind the van, a bit winded from the tackle by her partner. "Yeah, I don't think they're inclined to listen to negotiations," she hisses in a whisper to Brian, leaning to the side to shoot at the thug who shot at her, aiming for his gun hand with the first shot, to rid him of the weapon, and then a quick second shot at his chest, carefully avoiding Case of course. "Fuck, Goodman's gonna kill me," she says with a growl in an aside. Because what's a gunfight without banter?

Five more rounds explode out of the alley just as Brian tackles Veronica, all of them plunging into the side of the van with varying degrees of hollow report. All the while, Tyler Case struggles to get himself out of the line of fire, scrambling up to his feet once his back as hit one of the rough, brick walls.

When he turns to run, one of the thugs spots him scrambling away with his hands bound behind his back, "Naozhong— Feiren!" One thug slaps the other on the side of the head, pointing towards Case. It's about that time his hand holding the gun erupts into a shower of blood, flesh and bone. The scream pierces the alley like the bullet did his hand, and his Glock clatters to the ground as broken bones and shattered fingers recoil, sending the man staggering for the moment it takes for the other bullet to punch into his chest.

The caliber of a Company-issue pistol is unexpected, easily having the stopping power of a .45, but with considerably less kick, likely thanks to what looks like slatted gas vents on the overly long muzzle. The other thug is simply dumbstruck, and when his partner's hand explodes in a shower of gore, he blindly begins firing into the mouth of the alley, bullets chipping brick and ricocheting off of the street.

The passenger's side window of the van explodes inwards, the side-view mirror shatters, three more bullet holes punch into the door, all while he runs down the alley towards Case and away from the Veronica's dead-eye aim.

…Cool. A hand dissolves into a blaze of static debris, the blast that accompanies dispersed gasses enough to have Deckard's ears ringing shrill despite the distance between him and the intrepid duo ahead. He flinches, inevitably, but keeps put, intent on staying long enough for this to make sense. Somehow.

Sticking close to Veronica, he allows her to do most of the shooting at first. After all it's his first shootout. Well, the first one he can remember, at least. When Veronica lets a shot off Brian winces, his hands almost springing up to his ears to cover him from the noise. But then he would look weak. Can't have any of that. Especially not when the objective of this mission is: A) Impress hot partner B) Rescue that guy. Lowering his hands, Brian presses his back against the surface.

Bang.Bang.Bang.Bang.. There, a pause. Springing out into the mouth of the alley, Brian raises his gun at the retreating triad. Holding the gun steadily with both hands, he takes a shaky breath as he stares down at the Chinese man. The triad gives him a look that most resembles a deer in the sights of a mac truck, driven by a drunk deer-hating, carnivore. The time that Brian receives that look and the time that Brian pulls the trigger seems like eons.

A few hours pass until Brian finally squeezes off the trigger letting out a shallow exhale, his lips practically quivering as he squeezes off the bullet. His aim suffered from his nerves, despite all the training, it's hard to pull a trigger on another human being. It's only luck that the bullet goes straight through the man's head.

The gun lowers as Brian tries to steady himself, his eyes going a little wide at the man slumping to the ground in slow motion. In another life, a life he doesn't remember, his stomach went tight and he felt like he was in hell after shooting a man. This time?

He likes it.

Half-rising from her crouch, Veronica glances at Brian, seeing he has the retreating figure in his sights. "Good, cover me, I'm going for Case," she hisses to him. She begins to move, some glass from the broken windshield falling off of her like rain from a tree, as she moves. She's quick and quiet, perhaps unnoticeable to someone running the other way.

As she passes the man she already shot, she kicks the gun away, just in case he's not dead — it slides halfway across the street so he'll have to do some crawling to get to it. She shoots at the second thug as well, in case Brian's shot didn't do the trick — and as long as Case is not in the way, as she hurries to where Case is trying to stay out of the gunfire.

"Jesus!" Case screams, not even looking back as blood spraying across the ground as the second Triad hits the alley, dead. He stops in his tracks now that the gunfire has died down, turning around to spot Veronica, hands still bound behind his back, "G-Get out of here— go, run!" Tyler's voice cracks, lips parched, hoarse from whatever ordeal he's had to endure since being wrangled by those two. "Leave me alone!" Is his final plea, turning to try running again, sneakers slipping on the ice, causing him to lose traction and falter for a few steps before his shoes find purchase on the patches of pavement in the uneven ice.

As Tyler tries to make a break for the T-junction at the end of the alley, shouting can be heard down the street. While most people who live in Chinatown turn their heads and look away at the violence, the other Triad members who populate the crowds outside are undoubtedly calling their friends, and while they're running away from the sound of gunfire now, they'll be back.

'Cool,' does dissipates into slack-jawed 'holy shit,' when Brian takes a shot that brains a guy and doesn't even flinch. About as much help as any wooden, sign-stamped post around Chinatown, Deckard stands all glowy-eyed and stock still some thirty or forty feet behind and keeps on watching. Only slowly, slowly stock stillness is shifting into a reach that loosens the .40 under his coat out of its holster, hardly making a sound.

Lowering the gun, Brian watches the man's body twitch as Veronica puts another bullet in it. He gives a nod as Veronica runs down into the alley. He watches her go, his feet slowly backing up. He's not exactly sure why he is backing up, in his head he's still watching the man fall down once the bullet was lodged into his brain. But for some reason the gun is going back into it's holster and the door to the van is being opened.

When he wakes up out of his little trance, Brian finds himself kicking the van into reverse. Maybe it was the shouts, or that Case was running from them. He obviously didn't want to come with them. That was problematic, they didn't want him as a prisoner after all. Making him a friend would be much more beneficial. Pumping the gas, Brian wheels the vehicle around to take the van around the block. Take him to the other mouth of the alley and hopefully cut Case off. And say 'hiiii'.
You paged Kain with 'I dunno how far you're gonna get brian in your pose, but Decks'd probably try to shoot some of the tires out.'

"Look, we're trying to help you, and there's more coming," Veronica yells to Case, her run turning to a full-out sprint as he tries to escape the alleyway. She gains some ground when he struggles, slipping on the ice patch. So there might not be more coming this instant - he doesn't know that. "I hear them," she says, with a nod down the alley to the Cantonese calls. "We're not going to hurt you."

She is closer… closer…

When she's within a few yards, she leaps, intending to tackle him, pinning him if she is able, so that she won't have to harm him.

"No— " Tyler hisses, "No— Look I — you don't know what you're doing!" His strangled words come too late as Veronica tackles him. Without his arms to steady himself, the young man stumbles back, smashing into the wall even as more gunfire sounds out. This isn't from the Triads, no, this is coming from across the street. The loud staccato of semi-automatic gunfire and then the pop of screeching tires as Winters finds two wheels on his van shot out.

He only catches Flint Deckard's face out of the corner of his eye through the driver's side window, gun out, before he drives the van with two flat tires in reverse, swerving on grinding rims to block off the end of the alley Case was trying to escape.

"Stop!" Case screams, struggling still with Veronica. He's like a slippery fish that she tries to grip in both hands, grabbing at his shirt, tugging at his jacket, finally grasping the plastic zip-ties that keep his wrists bound as the van comes screeching up just a few feet away.

Guns, vans, corpses, too much.

For a moment, as close as she is to him, Veronica can see Tyler's irises shift color. The outer edge of his irises bleed with a deep crimson that veins out into the whites of his eyes. He whimpers, muscles tensing, before there is an abrupt discharge of static electricity into the air, followed by the crackling pop of red lightning that harmlessly explodes out of his body.

The energy jolts all across Veronica, tingling her skin, bolts shooting out to strike Brian's van, and the man in the driver's seat. Tyler shakes and convulses, jaws clenched, beginning to foam at the mouth from what seems like an epileptic seizure. If that couldn't make matters worse, even as these static red volts of electricity arc through the alley, things get worse.

Brian feels a throbbing sensation in the back of his mind, followed by the dull, static ache of something similar to being drunk. Veronica, however, experiences something all together different. Her mind reels as her body lurches. Skin liquefies for a moment as bones bend in inappropriate directions, and her flesh mounds up over her right shoulder. There is — horrifyingly — a press of a face bulging out from the skin of her shoulder, mouth open, pressed against the flesh beneath her jacket as if someone was trying to escape her boy.

In that same moment, she feels tug of her flesh peeling back painlessly, revealing equal layers of fresh skin beneath, before a gelatinous mass of protoplasm sloughs off of her body and out through spaces of her clothing, coagulating on the alley as an equally horrified looking, and stark naked Veronica Sawyer.

Worst of all, she can see herself, through twinned pairs of eyes. Her brain throbs with pain, doubled senses, doubled everything.

And out of the passenger's window, Brian can see that she just replicated, and he feels suddenly detached from his own ability once more.

"Damn it." Brian manages to make it around anyway, flat tires and all. Too bad for Mr. Case. Deckard's already running away, magazine dropped out into his waiting palm to allow for a fresh one to be jammed up in its place. It's purely by chance that he glances back over his shoulder to check on the progress of any pursuit in time to catch the horror show of mismatched bone and tissue that Veronica has become. There is nothing particularly sexual about this form of asexual budding. Maybe fortunately, the mess of her is vague and distorted at best through so much wall and distance, but the general idea is there while Flint keeps walking backwards. He doesn't take speed up again in earnest until he trips over someone's parked bicycle and a fresh bout of adrenaline shocks up his spine. Flint Deckard didn't live this long to become something out of a Salvador Dali painting. He's off, boots tracking out a life-or-death rhythm across Canal Street that he's way too used to hearing lately.

What the fuck?! Why is the pirate all of the sudden shooting? Shooting. He punched him, that's no reason to get out the firearms. Brian goes to take his weapon back out again. Taking aim out of the window, at where Deckard was. But he's already running off, already gone. Giving a grunt, Brian returns his attention to the task at hand. That is until, he is overtaken by lightning. Throwing up his arms as if to defend from it, he tilts back and gives a groan and then…

Nothing. As if he was back in the facility. Back before they let him use his power. Nothing. No ability. Brian's jaw starts to slack, what. And then his eyes catch the threesome of Case, Veronica, and Veronica. Only one of which is naked. Oh, bitch, no.

Kicking the door open, Brian holds his gun down at his leg as he stalks over through the alleyway to the three prone forms. His eyes set on Tyler, he will get his ability back. Though he is temporarily distracted by the naked form of Veronica laying on the ground. They knew a little of what this guy could do. Hopefully they could fully explore it.

The surrealism of the moment is too much for Veronica. She shakes her head, trying to clear it of the hallucination and pain. Somewhere in the recesses of her mind, the logic makes itself known, though as she stares at her other self, it's hard to grasp onto the logic. She does, however. "Don't kill him," she mutters to Brian, struggling to her hands and knees. She pats down Tyler's form for any weapons, as he convulses beside her, then pins his hands to the side, waiting for the seizure to end, so as not to harm him.

"I don't think he meant to do it; fight or flight or… steal someone's fucking power. God, is it always like that?" she asks, regarding the duplication ability. She's still pale, looking rather nauseous as she straddles Case. "We need to get out of here. Give her your coat, and call for a company van to get here ASAP."

Tyler continues to convulse on the ground, and as Veronica tries to hold down his restrained arms she finds that she's grabbing blindly at the ground. Her hands fumble at the alley almost four feet away from her — somehow the mental command to grab Tyler just — oh god she's focusing on the wrong body. She can control both!?

Tyler's legs kick, and another arc of red electricity jumps off of his body, this time striking the wall of the building nearby, followed by another bolt hitting Brian with no effect. There's another crackling, sputtering spark of light that courses through Veronica, a rolling wave of crimson vertigo that seethes through the already confused woman's mind.

Three more bubbling mounds of flesh rise up off of Victoria's back, sliding out through her skin in some protoplasmic and viscous form before quickly 'cooling' and solidifying into another pair of her, each of them making the same grasping hand gestures at disoriented angles as if they too were trying to ineffectually grab at a Tyler that isn't there.

All of the Veronicas have a different sense of equilibrium, each of them feeling up as a different direction due to their physical orientation. It makes the clothed Veronica's head spin, her stomach wrench into knots and blood rush behind her ears. It's like being in a tilt-a-whirl that's going nowhere and everywhere at once. Eight eyes all looking at something different, and she has no idea how to make it stop.

Case rolls onto his side, spitting up something frothy and white onto the ground, crawling up onto his knees before slamming his shoulder into the brick wall, even as Brian is out of the Van. Case sidesteps, legs shaking as he moves through a swinging door into the back kitchen of a restaurant, shouting cooks and screaming wait staff moving out of his way.

Around the mouth of the alley, six Chinese men with guns quickly come into view, one of them leveling a pistol, firing, and—

Veronica feels the bullet pass through her head, an unjacketed round parting through gray matter in a numb sensation of pressure before the back of her head erupts in a spray of blood. Her vision blurs and goes back, and a deep, sucking ache hits her in the chest as she watches herself die.

One of the naked clones falls to the ground, unmoving, even as more bullets spark around the alley. The first Veronica, the one still clothed, hears one round whip past her, hitting the other side of the van as Cantonese and Mandirin blend into a cacophony of confusion at what the Triads see.

Between a rock and a hard place.

The rock being a bunch of triads with guns, and the hard place being four naked versions of his partner at his feet. And there goes his ticket to getting back his ability. Which ranks pretty high right now in his list of priorities. But just above getting his ability back is protecting Veronica. Or at least one of her.

The knife slipped into his ribs as the word 'Vanguard' reverberated in his ears. And the sudden blackness, and the horrific pain of death, the blinding pain…

Not now! Not Now!! Shaking off the unwelcomed memory Brian raises his gun as he approaches the naked targets, Case slipping off into a kitchen like they hadn't just killed people for him. Son of a bitch. Raising his gun, the Agent unleashes the rest of his clip into the mouth of the alley at the six men. In the same moment his free hand is swinging down and firmly grabbing Veronica by the arm. The clothed Veronica.

Yanking her to her feet, Brian proceeds to drag her swiftly away from the gunfire and into the kitchen Tyler had just disappeared into. The replicates are still in the alley, discombobulated and helpless. But if he doesn't get the one out, they'll all be dead, and more importantly, the chance of getting his power back will be gone.

Veronica's hands are over her eyes, trying to block the images that come at her from all angles, like trying to watch several televisions at once and understand what is going on. Tears are streaming down her cheeks from the pain that blossoms through her body, the referred pain from another person's death, a person who is her yet didn't even exist more than three minutes ago. It's too much to comprehend, and her body revolts, emotionally and physically. Her feet don't seem to want to move, and Brian has to drag her as well as chase Case through the chaotic kitchen of the Chinese restaurant — luckily, she doesn't weigh very much.

Brian's cover fire and the sheer confusion of a handful of naked women lying in an alley sends the Triads who responded to the sounds of gunfire scrambling. As Brian drags her back to the van, there's a noticeable sensation in the air as both he and Veronica begin sputtering with red electricity. Case is nowhere in sight, but it's erupting from inside of them, before blossoming out in a static discharge.

Brian's cover fire and the sheer confusion of a handful of naked women lying in an alley sends the Triads who responded to the sounds of gunfire scrambling. As Brian drags her back to the back door of the restaurant, there's a noticeable sensation in the air as both he and Veronica begin sputtering with red electricity. Case is nowhere in sight, but it's erupting from inside of them, before blossoming out in a static discharge.

The moment that happens, the other Veronica replicants just turn off, she loses connection to them in an instant as though parts of her own consciousness just blacked out. The copies go limp, collapsing to the ground in drooling, lifeless lumps of meat.

Still struggling to get Veronica through the door, Brian leads her inside, and he can feel a tingle in the back of his mind, the presence of other duplicates across the city, the warm comforting notion of his other selves. But, horrifyingly, the bodies in the alleyway begin to dissolve — that doesn't happen to him.

Meat slides off of bone, flesh bubbles and fizzles, bone begins to soften and turn porous, crumbling away until the duplicates of Veronica become so much burbling red-brown molasses on the sidewalk, like cherry cobbler dumped out of a glass pan.

The one in his arms, the one who's still clothed — at least she seems fine.

In the kitchen, cooks are ducking behind tables, hands covering their heads. There's doors open everywhere, one leading to stairs going up, another to the diningroom floor. Screaming has erupted into the restaurant as well as out on the streets. Shouting in unrecognizable Chinese cries out from the alley — There's no telling which way Case ran, he's like a slippery little fish.

Looping his arm around Veronica's stomach, the man holds the flailing, weak, sobbing form of his partner close to him as he swings his gun around at the various workers jumping around away from his gun. There's more triads coming from behind him. There's no way he's going to be able to track down Case while dragging around Veronica with him. "Where did he go?!" He cries out vainly, taking a random step in a direction that doesn't really matter. His mind swims. His power is back, but the mission. The reason he's here. It was so close, he could just reach out and take it. It's practically been handed to him!

His grey gaze wanders down to the woman limp in his arms. Leave the girl for dead and get Case, or get her out of there and abandon the mission. For a moment, he is pretty sure he knows what Veronica would do in his position. He would be left for dead in a heartbeat. His grip on the woman has lessened. His eyes still searching for any clue of where Case may have fled. He has to make a decision…

The door swings open as the triads finally catch up. Guns held up, the men stalk forward to find, absolutely nothing. Brian is already outside and finding a way back to Dorchester Towers.

He's one slippery fish.

February 27th: Domestic Bliss

Previously in this storyline…
Be Unrepentant

Next in this storyline…
Good Cop, Hot Cop

February 27th: Fluids
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