The Battle of Breakneck Road


angela2_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif griffin_icon.gif hannah_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif joshua_icon.gif

lashirah2_icon.gif monica_icon.gif mynama_icon.gif nick_icon.gif peter_icon.gif raith_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif samson2_icon.gif

Scene Title The Battle of Breakneck Road
Synopsis Having caught wind of a prison convoy making its way north along Breakneck Road, the Ferrymen of Pollepel Island make a desperate bid to rescue some of those taken on the eighth as the convoy passes its Hudson River stronghold.
Date November 21, 2010

Breakneck Road

Snow can be either a guerrilla's best friend or their worst enemy. Those waiting in the clustered trees on the side of Breakneck Road do not yet know what it means for them except for reduced visibility and the kind of cold that permeates even bone. Even the lone falcon circling above the ridge that overlooks the Hudson River has to strain the string of dark shapes winding its way along the road that runs parallel.

It's supposed to go two ways, north and south, but military barricades in both directions have ensured that the convoy has both lanes available to it to accommodate the boxy jeeps accompanying the trucks loaded with prisoners taken into custody during the events of the eighth and the dark days that came immediately after it.

Those sitting on the metal benches inside the very last truck are unaware that they bring up the rear. Also a mystery is their final destination, but the faces of their companions are not. It's been an hour and a half since they left New York, and while an hour and a half might not be a long time, it's long enough to form a basic understanding of their situation and the people they're with.

Up ahead, Hannah Kirby squints against the glare of the approaching headlights, barely visible through the drifting snow. It fills the air and undulates across the road on the other side of the trees where she and the rest of Ryans' team are positioned. The convoy has to rumble by and then come to a stop before she can even think about using the shotgun she cradles in her arms.

Ensuring that Ryans is able to make this move is the job of Raith's team, much further up the road and concealed by a thicker copse, branches weighed down by ice to the point of nearly breaking. Eileen's breath leaves her nose like mist, and while it's cold enough that the act of filling her lungs causes them physical pain, she isn't making any noise except for the occasional creak of leather gloves or rustling wool. Her hair and her coat's fox fur trim, both brown-black, ripple against her pale throat and jaw, set into motion by squealing wind.

The copse does exactly what it needs to, even if there isn't much to be concealed from, just yet. There will be soon, and Raith will appreciate the cover they provide then. Everyone with him will, even if they don't care for the amount of time they had to prepare. Raith would have preferred grenades. And better visibility. They'll deal. The ex-spy is bundled up as much as he can be, in the heaviest, lightest colored clothing he could cobble together on short notice, scarf wrapped around his neck and face and a small pull-over cap on his head. And, perhaps because being around his brother-in-law has been bringing back some old habits, those round-lensed sunglasses he wears so often in warmer weather, even if he doesn't need them. Maybe he shouldn't wear them at all, with visibility the way it is. Maybe he's fine.

Sitting and waiting isn't something they've been doing for long. Just a few minutes, long enough for him and his direct compatriots to have time to find a hiding place and set up their weapons, with Raith sitting behind the M1919 machine gun removed from the door mount in the helicopter, just to give them as much firepower as possible. But it's not the machine gun that Raith is immediately concerned with handling. Rather, it's the small electric plunger in his hands, connect to a long (and now snow-concealed) wire that snakes away from his team up onto the ridge, connected to all the TNT they finished planting just minutes earlier. All it'll take is one notice over his radio, and the government convoy will have front row seats to the best light show on Breakneck Road.

Chomping on painkillers and spending a couple hours icing her noodle was good enough for Huruma to be able to keep her word and go along with this; under the cap, and the neoprene mask that covers her lower face, neck, and ears, she does still have a bump- but the niggling pain comes secondary to her concentration on the task at hand. She's tucked away with the rest of the front team, in fur lined coat and limb-to-limb. It's very cozy where she crouches, the strap of her AA-12 wound around her torso, the monstrous shotgun cradled in her arms.

For today, the gun is essentially her best friend. It came in so usefully in China, she's willing to test it out on government issue vehicles here. Just in case it comes off as too much too soon, Huruma does have a few pistols bundled with her.

This situation brings back memories that Peter Petrelli never actually had of his own. Crouched in the snow at the edge of the copse of trees, Peter keeps a pair of binoculars trained up over his eyes, dusted faintly with white flecks of snow like his dark hair and the gray wool fabric of his jacket. The coat is vintage, very vintage, borrowed from the possessions of one Nicholas Ruskin. Bereft of winter clothing himself, Peter had taken up the winter-heavy Nazi officer's jacket that Nicholas had brought back from his journey into the past.

Deja-Vu is a powerful thing with Peter, given his prior occupant's memories still lingering like the smoke-stains around old picture framed removed from a wall. With identification pins removed from the collar, the heavy greatcoat just looks warm and distinctly stylized rather than openly facist. Beneath the jacket, the velcro straps and thick, stiff ceramic-plate padding of light body armor makes him look bigger than he really is, thicker.

"They're almost in range," Peter quietly offers back to his team-mates hidden in the copse of stick-bare trees. When he lowers the binoculars, Peter's dark eyes narrow and his eyes shut, concentrating on something at a distance, a relay that no radio can supplement well.

Eileen, the voice echoes in the consciousness of a nearby bird perched up in the snow-laden branches, We're in position and ready to go.

They should know where they're going. Joseph is, at least, a little certain of this. Normal prisoners should have some idea, something concrete beyond notions and rumours and imagination. There isn't anything normal about this, unless that it is something of a consistency with how Humanis First! did things is normal — like then and now, he's even in the same clothes he was in when he was captured; soft plaid, denim, cotton. He's also a silent presence on the truck, as if silence is similar to dignity.

Maybe it is. He could be trying to reassure those in the truck, maybe summon up a prayer, but he's not being a very good spiritual leader right now, he'll be the first to admit. He's never been arrested before. Nothing worse than a parking ticket.

And he's cold.

There's a clang from somewhere near the back of the truck, one of the prisoner's restlessly bumping toe of his boot against the edge of the bench. Just to confuse our readers, another J name: Joshua, as he's taken to introducing himself, seems infinitely restless with his new position in the world, all shaven head, burly shoulders, intent stare. "I'm hungry," the young man announces, complains, whatever, thoroughly bored in the kind of exaggerated manner that may mask some fear. Or it may not. It's difficult to tell. If there's isolation, wherever they're going, Joshua is likely to be among the first to be hauled off to it, brimming with attitude.

Attitude that's flattened into surly sullenness through the duration of the trip, ever since his ~idea~ about everyone rushing to the left side of the truck to tip it was veto'd on account of stupidity. The centripetal force, I'm telling you!

Through their incarceration, Monica has really tried to be the optimistic one with all the hope of being about to break out or get set free or something. But now, in the back of a truck heading to no one knows where, cuffs around her wrists… well, her mood has dropped significantly. It's hard to say if she's really given up or if she's just facing the reality of their rather ugly situation just now. She sits next to Griffin, her hand holding onto one of his as they ride along. And she's been silent pretty much the hole ride, Joshua's banging and complaints not withstanding. Plus, she's cold, too.

This is not the first time during this ordeal that Mynama has been thankful for her coat. It's served as a pillow, an extra blanket, and now, sitting in the back of the truck, is one more layer to guard against the cold. Still, the garment was designed for autumn, not winter. So while warmer than her fellow inmates, Mynama is still cold enough to be just that much crankier.

She snaps her head up when Joshua bangs his foot against the bench and frowns. "Oh," she says, sarcasm already dripping from her accented voice, "Let me pull a prime rib out of my ass for you. And a blow torch while I'm at it." Rolling her eyes, the teen slumps against the wall of the truck, letting her long legs stretch as far as she can without invading the personal space of the person across from her, her cuffed hands limp in her lap.

Lashirah hasn't said a word since getting smashed upside the head at Gun Hill. But her eyes are bright, intellegent still… and they are watching. Those watching her very closely would have noticed when they were cuffed for this 'transport', that she smiled just a little… She's been watching not her fellow inmates, but their guards. Watching for a mistake. And maybe, just maybe they've made the first one. She however stays quiet in her jacket, conserving her energy.

Griffin rests with his head back against the wall behind his metal bench, his eyes closed. He managed to stay as clean as he could while in the prison cell, but— well, circumstances here were far worse than Moab. He's still got his clothes on from the eighth, which still contains the dried blood stains of the men he killed. It was also rather difficult to keep clean when two women can see right into your cell. Still, he did his best with the sink.

That doesn't stop him from smelling less than desirable.

He doesn't know where they're taking them. He's somewhat cold, with only the business suit, and he looks rather tired. More jail. More imprisonment. Maybe he deserves it. Gotta love that healthy sense of self loathing that he keeps to himself. His hand squeezes Monica's, green eyes turning toward Joshua and his whining. However, he says nothing, retaining his stony silence to match the woman whose hand is clasped in his.

As he crouches off the side of the road, hidden by the scenery. Benjamin Ryans' can't help but again realize the irony of him being there, had things gone differently, he might have been one of the men protecting the convoy… or had been one of the people that did the raiding on the 8th.

Honestly, he likes where he is.

He's dressed as he always does in these missions, duster and fedora firmly in place as it should be. Hand guns are tucked in various places on his person, three in all, with a rifle in his hands and a webbed vest of ammo. He's hoping that there are people on that transport that can handle a firearm, since they will need the extra firepower. The rest of his outfit, the dark gray knit sweater and jeans, is the symbol of his new life.

One of a fugitive.

"Almost show time, ladies and gentlemen," mist obscures Benjamin's vision briefly, snow crunching under his weight where he crouches, every time he shifts his weight. His feet are numb from the cold of sitting there and he can't feel his nose. The last is remedied when he pulls his rust brown scarf over his nose, hand holding it there, while the other continues to cradle the rifle. "Remember. Hannah and I will be covering Jaiden and Nick, while they get the back of the trucks open and get people out. Hannah watch around the right side, I'll take left side. Should keep them from sneaking up on us."

"That them?" Nick asks those he crouches with, narrowed blue eyes peering from under his black tuque in the direction of the headlights, then glance at the rest of his party, to listen to Ryans' remind them of the game plan.

The man holds a rifle in his gloved hands, though he has pistols in his belt for back-up, being much more at ease with small sidearms than the large weaponry. For now, big guns look more frightening — it's hard to miss a rifle while one might miss a gun in his hands, and that could be a point in their favor when the guards are taken by surprise.

One gloved hand reaches into the pocket of his heavy wool peacoat to pull out a pair of bolt cutters, ready to sprint for the trucks to break open the padlocks as soon as the diversion brings the convoy to a halt.

"Got it," Nick says to Ryans, giving a nod, and glancing at Jaiden. "Be ready to rock and roll, mate."

Cold is always an uncomfortable thing when you're from a normally temperate or desert-related country, like Australia. Sun and heat you can get used to, but cold?.cold always was one of the things Jaiden really never?y'know?enjoyed. Two hours of preparation wasn't much, but thanks to some judicious planning ahead on his part, a pistol and an MP-5 semi-automatic along with ammunition (and buckshot for Huruma, apparently!) was available in his ever-present backpack. With the world going straight to hell, it's nice to have a few cool metallic objects for safety. The guns aren't the only thing in there; a set of dark clothes and a heavy black overcoat were donned over some light body armor to help hide a bit better in the woods surrounding the road. Safety Orange he is not wearing because the last thing Jaiden wants to be is a target for automatic weapons.

A set of bolt cutters dangles from his belt along with his ever-present tool pouch which may come in more useful than he may think, and as he grips the pistol, with the safety on for right now, he prays that no-one gets hurt. A giant 'bubble' of water, jabba-the-hutt sized and covered in leaves to make a fair impression of a small hill waits patiently behind him, ready to come into play whenever necessary. He swallows nervously, the pit of his stomach a nice-sized knot hanging out right above the dinner he'd had a few hours before. At least it's not coming up. A small glance to the picture of Delia he keeps in his breast pocket soothes him a little, and with a sigh he waits for the signal to go in. His thumb clicks off the safety on his mp-5 and the water shivers expectantly behind him at Nick's words. "You know it, mate." There's even time enough for a grin.

The convoy blows past Ryans' position despite the amount of snow and ice on the ground. Either the men behind the wheels of the vehicles have faith in their tires, or getting to where they need to be is more important than taking safety precautions against the weather. Between Pariah and Messiah, there have been too many terrorist attacks for the big men in charge not to anticipate an ambush, and while this might not have been the Ferrymen's modus operandi in the past, November the eighth has changed everything, including the rules of the game it's been playing with the government since the Evolved first became public knowledge.

Eileen's falcon, snowy white and not the silver and slate gray of the Peregrine she usually favors, cuts through the building storm with purposeful thrusts of its long, tapered wings and banks a sharp right, plowing into the wind. If it was clearer out, it might be able to see what Huruma can sense: There's another presence in the trees that flank the road, an emotional tumult of negative feelings held together by the same predatory instincts that keep her focused. They aren't alone out here, and while she might not be able to determine whether or not what she's feeling will be friendly towards the Ferrymen hiding in the forest should their paths happen to cross, it's clearly looking for something.

It's also very hungry.

The empath does not have very much time to reflect on what it might be. An explosion rocks the earth, loud enough to be heard from miles away, its echo drowned out by the deafening roar that follows it. Thirty sticks of dynamite bring several hundred tons of rock spilling down the ridge and across the road ahead of the convoy. Tires scream, metal crunches, and while the landslide doesn't cause a wreck of epic proportions, not all the trucks are able to stop in time, and there are at least two bumpers that collide when the convoy screeches to a halt.

"Shit!" comes from the front of the last truck, driver spinning the wheel in his hands in an attempt to prevent a collision, narrowly succeeding but at the cost of sliding partway off the road, its rear tires hanging off the edge a few feet from where the embankment steepens and drops off into the river below.

"Idiot," Hannah mutters under her breath even as, at the front of the convoy, the first soldiers are hauling themselves out of the now idling jeeps to get a better look at what it is they're dealing with, and although radios are out, not even Raith's team is close enough to hear what orders are being barked over the military's frequency.

The prisoners in the back of the last truck, however, are audience to the conversation happening in the front.

"What the fuck was that?" their driver asks the soldier in the passenger's seat beside him. "Rockslide?"

"Maybe," the soldier responds, popping out the door and coming into full view of the team at the back of the convoy, less than one hundred feet away. "Maybe not."

A little more dramatic than Raith wanted, but hey, it does what it needs to. A few moments pass before he allows any of his team to do anything, and when he does, it's still with specific and direct orders. "Huruma, calm them down a little," he says, "Make them lose focus, then both of you spread away from me, five meters, stay behind cover." Harder to get them all with one grenade if they spread out. "Petrelli, in exactly twenty seconds, make the closest ones let go of their rifles. Huruma, one second after you see those guns drop, grab the terror dial and crank 'em up to eleven. Three seconds after they drop their guns, we drop the hammer. Go."

Huruma takes instruction well enough, hoisting herself from her location and slinking off as soon as Raith's voice points a hand. Her gaze is on the men trolling out of the vehicles, and she begins to slowly put out that requested blanket of calm; shaken out in the air and drifting gently down over them, light as anything. The only thing that she responds with verbally, is a very curt and quiet warning.

"Neutral party at eight-o-clock." Eight is- the woods parallel to them, exactly where she felt that tingling and familiarly predatory storm. To her, it's enough of a warning she can stand to give right now. She has more important things to take care of, in the form of getting to point and being ready for when Peter moves on the convoy.

Tucking the binoculars inside of his jacket, Peter's brows furrow as he looks down to the soldiers beyond the woods trapped by the landslide, his ears still ringing from the percussive resonance of the falling rocks, screeching tires and shouting voices. Being in this jacket, being in this weather, it beings back feelings that were never his to begin with, feelings that belonged to a man who saw the worst of two world wars. Throat tightening, Peter extends his consciousness outward, feeling the different limitations to Kaylee's brand of telepathy from that of Matthew Parkman's. Ultimately it's the same framework, just a different chassis.

For now, Peter seems willing to follow Raith's directions— is thankful for the directions. His psychic orders would not have involved dropping the firearms.

A psychic pulse goes out, a throbbing beat of metal energy that radiates from one mind to the next, a compulsion that coincides with the notion Huruma is empathically forcing upon them: Everything is okay, everything is alright, calm yourselves.

And most importantly: Lay down your weapons.

Joseph is near thrown forward — less out of the momentum of braking, more due to his own inattentiveness. He isn't tossed to the floor, however, simply jolted and startled out of his reverie, black eyes blinking and wrists caught all awkward in handcuffs, partially raised as if to defend himself from something unknown. "Everyone okay?" his voice projects thinly through the back of the truck.

Though he'd been opening his mouth to maybe snarl back at Mynama— or hit on her, who knows— the conversation, as it were, is veered as off-course as the trucks. In turn, Joshua is swifted to brace himself — and one might expect him to instantly start up again. What's the hold up, learn to fuckin' drive, etc, but instead, he is unusually quiet. Tendons stand out at the back of his hands, metal creaking a little at his wrists, uneasily shifting where he sits.

All the noise and the trucks halting suddenly makes Monica sit up straighter all of a sudden. Alert. This could be good for them… or bad, it's hard to say, but when opportunity knocks… Or knocks you around, as it does them in the back. "Oh, I don't know about okay," she comments, sort of dryly, to Joseph's question.

When they come to a halt and there's this talking and climbing out up front, she stands to move to the back. To start kicking at the doors. It isn't so much that she expects her strength to be enough to pop them open, but maybe it'll annoy the soldier enough to open them up. She's never been know for her particularly well though out plans, but she really can't just sit there and wait for whatever's going to happen to them blithely.

While effectively braced, Mynama's head knocks against the side of the truck when they come to such an abrupt halt, and so she spends the first few seconds wincing, breath escaping her with a slow hissing sound. When Monica starts to kick at the door, she opens her eyes to stare, her brows furrowed and twisted upward. "You ever stop to think that maybe we're wherever they're taking us?" she says with a slight shake of her head.

Then again, if Mynama is acting the rational one, maybe there is something wrong.

Lashirah shifts her weight as they bounce to a rough stop… and grins WIDE as she coils near the back door, waiting to see if they were about to get the lucky break of a large mistake. It only takes one, after all… and the conversation from up front says enough to deny Mynama's acertation. The former Company agent waits… it just takes one mess up to ruin someone's whole day.

As their vehicle goes skidding to a halt, Griffin tenses, using his legs to push himself back against the truck as he squeezes Monica's hands, glancing toward the sound of the soldiers conversing in the front with a frown. "Unharmed over here." He frowns toward the front once more, taking a few breaths in the cold. Then, Monica is up and kicking the doors, and Griffin turns, peering at her for a moment.

With a small nod, the man stands, limping his way over to the doors to join the girl. His knee is in too much pain to allow for kicking…but he does use his upper body strength to the best of his ability, slamming his shoulders against the door to aid the mimic.

It would be nice to see his son and Nadira again. It might even be nice to see his sister. Maybe this is yet another second chance at freedom. He can only hope.

Rifle gripped in both hands, he glances towards the direction of Raith's team at the sound of the explosion. He might not be able to see them, but he knows they are moving and that means they are too. When the first shot rings out, Ryans is already moving through the brush, trusting his team to follow. Time to see if the soldiers are distracted enough.

Stopping at the edge of the greenery, Benjamin tenses, listening to the sounds of fighting to get a feel about the intensity, before he hurries out of the brush towards the back of the last truck. Knees bent he is keeping low, trying to keep less of him from crossing the side mirror. The prisoners closest to the very back would hear a soft thump as Ryans back hits the truck, but instead the sound of their hitting the doors, vibrates against his back. With a small frown he glances at the door, before he hazards a quick glance around the side of the truck and motions the rest to follow him.

Jaiden is the next to hurry across his wobbly, leaf covered globe of water following, boots scuffing quickly across the asphalt, until he is situated next to Ryans. Eyes go directly to the padlock as it jitters against the door with each kick of the prisoners. He grabs the padlock to look it over before going for the bolt cutters he brought with him.

As the rest of his team moves into action, Nick too is up on his feet, hurrying with a crunch of dead leaves and snow beneath his boots for the back of the truck that is their target. Holding his rifle, Nick stands a little to the side to watch his teammates to be sure they don't need help covering him as Jaiden fights with the deadbolt. Once the metal cuts through metal and the bolt falls to the ground, he throws the rifle over his shoulder to help open the heavy doors, throwing them open and looking up into the prisoners' eyes.

"Hop on out. We're friends," he tells them tersely, before glancing at Jaiden. "Help them out, heading up the line," he says, breaking into a run to go to the penultimate truck and try to do the same for the prisoners there.

Peter and Huruma will be more intimately aware of the effect their combined abilities have on the soldiers at the front of the convoy than Raith or Eileen, who simply witness one of the men letting his rifle drop, and while it doesn't clatter to the icy ground at his feet, it hangs uselessly off his shoulder as his body adopts a more relaxed posture, stride almost languid as he moves around the from of the jeep. A fine mixture of dust and dirt particles blended together with the snow wafts off the rocks blocking the road. Apart from a few pebbles tinkling down from the remains of the ridge above, it doesn't pose a threat, only an obstacle that's impossible to move around given the width of the road and the fact that there's a river to one side and a forest on the other.

One of them even lets out a giddy bark of laughter, the kind that's usually accompanied by a holy shit or a Jesus Christ was that close or what?, not knowing that the real danger has not yet passed. In the trees, Eileen turns her head in the direction indicated by Huruma. "I'll cover you," she informs the other three members on Raith's team, leaning one shoulder into the nearest tree to take weight off the weaker of her two legs. Snow gathers as crystals in her hair and the feathers of her lashes. She's in no condition to be charging into battle.

Awaiting Raith's order, the starlings quivering in the trees are building towards that on her behalf.

"Hey!" shouts the soldier who, until a few moments ago, had been enjoying the hot air being blasted from the heaters in the rear truck's cabin. He goes for the sidearm at his hip and manages to twist it out of his holster, but before he can raise his hand all the way and level the pistol with Nick, he's blown back against the side of the truck by a slug hurled from Hannah's shotgun and slumps to the ground, leaving a wet smear against the vehicle's aluminum shell.

At the front of the convoy, the soldiers under Huruma and Peter's placating influence turn toward the distant sound of the gunshot, and for several seconds they just stand there like gazelles draped in olive and black fatigues having heard something cry out in the night and then go abruptly silent. On some level, they are aware that something horrific has happened to one of their own, but presently unable to care.

Now is the time for Raith's team to move.

Well, the timing was a little bit off, but it'll do. Lacking a bipod, the barrel of the M1919 rests on a snow-covered log, pointing off towards the sky before Raith swings it to bear on the road. He only barks one single order, loud enough for everyone around him to hear, before he squeezes the trigger, sending a brief, but deadly hail of lead through the air, an effective and collective 'weapons free' for his team: "Light 'em up!"

Huruma's instruction is seamless. She tenses, waiting, watching; as soon as the guns begin slipping from hands, Huruma's induced calm in the seconds before Raith fires turns into an inferno of terror dropped like a rapid series of bombs. It leaves her a dull pain at first, but her mind is so used to the trials of inducing fear that it becomes as much a background static for her to hear. A chilling horror, and a second later, not only Raith is firing on them. The dark woman smiles to herself and pins the shotgun against her shoulder. She's been simply itching for this again.

BLAM! The sound is like thunder in the river valley, and the man at the front of his fellows all but explodes entirely. The fragmentation round tears him up like raw hamburger.

Boots skid down the hillside, snow scrapes off from where Peter Petrelli is running parallel to the gunfire, unarmed. Skidding down the hill, he moves thorugh the snow, knees bending when he hits an outcropping of rock, then clamboring down and further away from the perch where Raith and Huruma are beginning their assault. Proximity is important to Peter, and he is counting on his team-mates to cover him while he goes in for what will — undoubtedly given his attitude as of late — be the kill.

A faint purple glow begins to shed from his irises, a violet irridescence that comes with ability augmentation. Huruma sees benefit of it for the moment, the sole benefactor of the unraveling knot of power in Peter's mind. It's intoxcicating, like a psychic drug. All of Huruma's empathic senses expand two-fold, like a person with poor vision who just finally put on glasses for the first time. Everything is crisper, more clear, textures feel less blunted. It is a high like the one Peter is about to experience, for wholle different reasons.

Running up to the side of the head prison convoy, Peter's booted feet skid across the pavement before he crouches down, closing his eyes and extending his consciousness out in a ten foot radius, reaching out for the first soldier closest to him. Snagging his fingers into the man's mind, Peter sends an impulse down the line of psychic tethering, an instruction, a command.

Your squad has betrayed you. Kill them before they kill you.

The slippery slope of Kaylee Anne Thatcher's ability is a steep one, and Peter is tumbling down it head first.

Aw yeah.

Despite those clustered near the door, working to get it open, it's Joshua that is on his feet by the time the opening is being wrenched open, physically bullying his way to the head of the pack, pushing past Monica with exuberant roughness. When his feet find the edge of the doorway, he leaps to land on the road, a bright white grin that is quick to fade some as snow bites coldness onto his bared forearms, the nape of his neck, shaven crown.

"Sup home— woah." A particularly loud round of gunfire has Joshua fractionally ducking and tensing, handcuffs glimmering in the hazy light of a snowy day as he shrinks back against the structure of the truck, glances for the nearest out.

In contrast, Joseph is among the last to climb out, or at the very least tries to be. It's probably not deliberate cowardice, because hey, who wants to stay inside a prison van? Not him, considering that he's swift on the tail of everyone else, cautious and awkward in stepping down and out and gasping in a breath of stinging cold air.

It's possible Monica… didn't hear the reassurance, or the gun fire set her too on edge to pause for a moment, or it just didn't have time to process before her grand plan was set into motion. The plan being… tackle the crap out of whoever opens the door. And really, she's only seen Nick in passing and… in costume, so perhaps she can be forgiven when she rushes out of the back of the transport and tackles him down into the snow.

But the moment it does hit her is obvious, at least to Nick who has the luxury of front row seats to the blink and the embarrassed flush on her face. It's perhaps the fact that the other prisoners seem to be reacting a lot… cooler that clues her in that she missed something important. Her gaze slides to the side for a moment, a silently embodies 'wups' before she gives him an apologetic smile and, ya know, climbs off him. "Can I sell that as just being real glad to see you?" She even offers her cuffed hands down to help him back up, too, as she glances around to try to gather what exactly is going on here. Thinking before acting… this time.

What with the ringing of her ears, Mynama had missed the comments of those soldiers in the cab of the truck, but she can't miss the sound of someone outside knocking against the truck, the wrenching open of doors, a gunshot, or the thump of the driver's head against the metal.

Then again, one of those things she can see as well. There's a surge of bodies toward the door, and Mynama is forced to linger toward the back with Joseph. As much as she wants off of the truck, into a gunfight isn't exactly her first choice of destinations. But she won't pass on it either. But once out of the transport vehicle, Mynama stands like so many, unsure of where to go or what to do, looking to their rescuers for guidance.

Lashirah switches mental tracks almost immediately upon spotting someone familiar… she stands up and dusts off as best she can before jumping out of the truck. Hands might be cuffed but that does't seem to be hindering her much as she walks up to Ryans, and pokes him in the shoulder "Knew you'd show up. Did you bring a spare pistol? They took both of mine." Lashirah, it seems, is back to being all business. And is ready to give as good as she has gotten.

Noticably, the sound of gunfire doesn't surprise, or even make Lash visibly jump. After the pyrotechnics and such she's pulled off in the last two to three weeks, it just takes more to get her panicking then it used to.

Griffin almost attacks Nick the moment the doors open, his hands clasped together over his head. However, he spots not only Jaiden, but Ryans, and he halts in his tracks for a moment, his brows raising. Well, that and Monica kind of beat him to the punch. He looks a fright, with that scraggly two-week beard of his. "Ben. I must say, I'm extremely glad to see you." He mumbles this out with a slow nod, and promptly lowers his arms back down in front of him.

Then, he's hopping out of the truck with his hands still clasped together, wincing as he lands on the ground and reaching his hands down to briefly grip his knee, which only hurts worse due to the snow that flurries around them. He blinks a few times, squinting into the snowy conditions. Then, there's the sound of gunfire, which has him craning his neck, though he doesn't seem surprised in the slightest.

It seems this is another chance. Quite the unexpected one, as well. Griffin can't help but grin to himself.

As Nick flits past Ryans, it takes him a moment to realize what the kid is doing. "Nick… wait." He hisses out, but he doesn't have to do anything as one of the prisoners tackle him. However, the sound of Hannah's shot gun forces his hand. "Son of a — " The old man growls out, moving quickly with a hurried side step along the side of the truck. Coming around to where he can see in the driver in the window, two quick pulls of the trigger, Ben attempts to dispatch driver, the glass shattering from the impact of the bullets.

Then Benjamin's scurring around the back of the truck again, past Nick and Monica. There he's quick to yank a glock out of a holster and gives it grip first to Lashriah, following it with a second magazine. Ryans knows she can use it and knows it's in good hands.

A glance goes to Griffin then another glock offers to him, a small smile on his lips. "Good to see you all survived the attack." His blue eyes shifting to Joseph as well, giving him a short nod, before turning to Jaiden. He motions to Griffin and Lashirah. "Cut them free first, then the rest." Ben's gaze goes to the the prisoners and he points into the woods. "Keep your heads down and out of sight."

Ryans then motions Hannah to move forward with him, no doubt expecting Nick to continue his insane plan. "God damn crazy kid," Ryans growls out under his breath as he moves after Nick, his duster flaring behind him with a snap of thick fabric.

Kids. They are always screwing up his well laid plans.

Under orders from Ryans, Jaiden gives the smallest of nods before his feet are pounding against the snow-covered grounds, the man heading for the truck that Ryans just opened, holding out one hand to help those who are cuffed down from the truck, the other holding his mp-5, ready to use if necessary. "Light on your feet, folks. The faster we can get, the better." Jaiden's jabba-sized hill of water slithers across the road behind them, providing a little bit of cover as the bolt cutters work on Griffin's handcuffs, right at the pivot point on the right wrist. He then moves to Lashirah, handing her a loaded pistol butt-first. "Good to meet you, miss. Aim for center mass, head for the river if things get wonky, and help anyone you can."

Nick lands with an oof when Monica tackles him, blue eyes blinking a touch stunned with the wind knocked out of him before they focus on the familiar face of the girl on top of him.

"Good to see you too," he says, shoving himself off the ground without taking her proffered hands, instead clipping her handcuffs apart with his bolt cutters with a snap.

He reaches into his belt to pull out one of his two pistols, shoving it into her hands. "You know how to use one of those?" he asks, already on the move toward the truck ahead again, clambering up on the hitch at the back to start working on the padlock that keeps the prisoners inside.

At the front of the convoy, it's chaos.

Raith's machinegun rips dime-sized holes in the lead truck and the surrounding jeeps, blowing out windshields and showering the pavement with pieces of broken glass. Gasoline pours out the side of one of the jeeps, its tank ruptured, and soaks through the snow as the wind carries the smell of exposed fuel further down the line. The soldiers closest to the front of the convoy go down in the initial hail of gunfire. Those toward the middle, torn between helping their comrades up front or retreating to the back to engage Ryans' team, experience a split second of indecision before the sight of one of their own rounding on the man closest to him and clocking him across the jaw with the butt of his rifle at Peter's unspoken command puts things in perspective.

This shouldn't be happening. There are very few explanations as to why it is.

The first of the negation canisters let fly, sailing over Peter's head and the starlings converging on his location. The flock, some hundred birds strong, acts as a living shield, soaking up the bullets meant for him in violent puffs of gore and feathers. On impact, the canisters release their contents, plumes of choking yellow smoke ribboning into the air like the world's ugliest banner, and while the churning of the starlings' wings keeps the negation gas from spreading to Peter, the wind is blowing it in Huruma's direction.

There are prisoners who are going to be immensely gratefuly when it begins taking effect. Screams have begun to rise from the other trucks closest to Raith's team, not because bullets have punctured the walls within which they're held, but because fear does not discriminate—

— and many of them were already terrified to begin with.

The soldiers toward the middle of the convoy surge forward to the front just as Ryans and Raith anticipated they would. There are too many for a resistance group of eight to fight, even if they include those liberated from the rearmost truck in their number. They have only a few minutes before the team charged with causing a distraction is completely overwhelmed and will have to retreat, and perhaps even less than that if the collective smartens up and realizes what's going on in the back — that causing as much damage as possible isn't the network's aim.

Incidentally, it isn't the aim of the presence that Huruma detected, either. Unseen by Eileen, colourless smoke pours out from shadows cast by the surrounding trees and effortlessly pours around her form like a river moving past a small boulder or other obstacle in its path.

It isn't interested in her.

The smoke winds its way onto the road, around a tire and siphons itself into the tailpipe of one of the trucks closer to the middle of the convoy. A moment later, there's a loud BANG from inside, causing the truck to rock so violently that it almost tips over onto its side.

Hannah doesn't notice. It's too far up for it to snag her attention, and even if it wasn't, she's too busy staring at Joshua.

"Circle around!" is the next order Raith shouts, "Stay out of it!" Staying out of the gas is, of course, something that Raith doesn't have to worry about: He has no ability that it can take from him. In between bursts, the ex-spy draws a sling attached to his weapon over his shoulder and, despite it tipping the scales at over 40 pounds with the box of ammo attached to it, rises to his feet to make himself mobile so that he's not stuck in his position when the rest of his team starts moving. It's a show of strength and grit that would make Rambo proud. It also makes him a more inviting target for soldiers with unsteady hands and bullets slicing through the air around them. Raith's not hitting them, but the likelihood of them hitting Raith is also abysmally low.

Huruma wasn't ready for what comes over her. It's like sending a blossom of fire off in her head; the warmth tingles from the tips of her fingers to the edges of her brain. It is not Peter's entire knot of augmentation, but it is enough to make Huruma's field burst into fireworks and catch ablaze across the span of road- even those soldiers she cannot see. Being bled through with this sort of power even in this dose, it causes Huruma to slink out of the brush and begin firing madly after the convoy and the soldiers she can spot.

With a range of over three hundred feet, the shotgun in her hands is like a pocket rocket. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! It's a mess.

But even in that bloodlust, Huruma recognizes the mustard colored gas for what it is. The dark woman turns immediately back into the trees, the shotgun in one arm and her other elbow lifting up as a second layer over her neoprene mask. She can't get caught in it. Not now.

Visceral, vivid, violence is something that Peter has unfortunately become accustomed to in his life. That blood now decorates his World War II-era jacket along with a liberal dusting of feathers is a startling welcome back to that very world. Breathing in a lungful of freezing cold air, Peter jerks his attention towards the bus that he's backed up against, leting the soldier operating on his mental orders act as needed. Continued psychic assault on the same officer isn't likely to warrant a high net result, and as Peter ducks down and crawls beneath the lead personnel truck, his mind and eyes are scanning the soldiers instead of implanting suggestions.

He's looking for keys, ever important keys. With twelve trucks between the front and back, Peter has taken it upon himself to light this particular candle at both ends. Someone at the head of the convoy had to have the necessary keys for the prisoners trapped inside, and as Peter's mind wanders, he's trying to find that one relevant bit of information, all the while searching from his vantage point on his stomach atop the ice cold pavement, if one of the dead soldiers is carrying a key ring.

The negation gas, while not his problem, is also not something he can help protect against. On his mental checklist, paying a visit to Thalia Ashford is in the agenda.

Seeing Ryans' face in the group Joseph is greeted with, he knows both abstract relief as well as worry, concern for the people staging this attack — but he still manages a quick grin to someone who is remotely familiar to him. The Ferry councilmember doesn't take his time to seeing who else he might recognise — what he sees next is the treeline, and hears Jaiden's instruction beneath casual warefare. Safety. Security. His legs are stiff from the chilly truck ride, but adrenaline makes up for this a little as the negated and suppressed precognitive pastor makes a break for cover.

Joshua, meanwhile, is thrusting his bound wrists towards Jaiden. "You got any more pistols, chief? I'm down with kicking ass." But he catches sight of someone beyond the Aussie, and the young man can't help himself — he gives Hannah a bright grin that communicates no guilt whatsoever, and a chin up in greeting.


"Hell yes, I do," Monica says to Nick as she takes that gun from him. "Thanks," she adds, her hand patting his arm before she jogs up to cover his rush to the next truck. Those soldiers that come toward the back of the convoy are met with shots fired. But she's just going to legs and kneecaps. Stuff to keep them from gaining ground. She just… has a hard time choosing a more decisive target. she's not covering herself very well, but making sure Nick can do his thing and the other prisoners can get to safety is higher on her particular list of priorities.

Once her wrists are no longer tethered together, Mynama makes a break for the treeline, raising her arms to shield her face and head. She curls her fingers into her palms, digging against the knitted wristies she's been wearing off and on since the eighth. Pure selfishness keeps her from attempting to join the fray - that and the fact she's never fired a gun before in her life. She turns once she's in the shelter of the copse, crouching in the snow to watch the bloodbath with wide, horror-stricken eyes.

Lashirah takes the glock, and racks a live load in, tucking the spare magazine into an extra pocket. She tucks away the second pistol offered even as she moves, almost instinctively, to cover Ryans's flank and backside. Old times all over again even as she asks. "So any idea where the hell they were taking us? And do we have an exit plan?"

Lash's greetings for soldiers who are determined to stick their noses into things is decidedly more lethal: She's going for head shots, assuming they will likely be wearing body armor. And given the fact she's more than proficient with the gun she has a Weaver stance with at the moment shows.

A nod is cast toward Jaiden. His hands free and a Glock pressed into one of them, Griffin surveys the gun for a moment, thoughtfully cocking it back. Oh, it feels good to have power back in his hands. A faint smile is offered to Benjamin, as well as a nod of his head. "Good to see you made it out, and helped me out of a sticky situation." He smirks quietly to Ryans, stretching his newly freed arms out for a moment.

The man reaches out, squeezing Monica's shoulder with a faint smile. "Guess we will get to have that dance. Don't say I didn't warn you about having two left feet."

Then, he's turning toward the trucks, hobbling along after Ryans and Nick as quickly as his bad leg will allow, his gun raised and ready to be used at a moment's notice. Any soldiers that come toward the back are fired upon, with Griffin going for more lethal shots than Monica, aiming more to kill; whether the death be fast or slow, he doesn't care, so long as they die. After two weeks without a change of clothes or even a shower, and being held with no trial, he's quite reluctant to spare them any mercy.

"We have an exit plan." But it's not elaborated on as Ryans reaches Nick and Monica, but he doesn't have time to worry about that fact, moving to help swing the doors open as he orders the kids. "Next truck go! Lets get as many open as we can." He then proceeds to start helping the prisoners out, glancing behind him to see anyone followed, he'll motions Griffin and Lashirah to help Nick out. "Gonna get trickier further up."

To the prisoners, as they hop out and into the snow, Ben says, "Head back towards the last truck and into the woods. Should see others. Go!" Ryans grabs the shoulder of a man that hesitates, pushing him in the right direction, before turning back to his current task and offering a hand to another, "We'll get the cuffs off as soon as we can. Just get out of sight for now."

Once that's truck is empty Ryans will move after Nick and those with him.

Jaiden does have another gun for Joshua, in fact. A second Glock and clip is pressed into his hands once the handcuff link is snipped, Jaiden clapping him on the shoulder. "Stick together, and head for the woods. Move move move." Jaiden's globule of water starts to slither forward, toward the next truck, providing cover for the retreating suppressed evolved as he presses forward, keeping under cover and watching out for that yellow gas.

The younger man gives Ryans a nod when he handles the prisoners of the penultimate truck, and Nick breaks into a run for the third, keeping his head down and trusting his companions to keep him safe — or not, as it really doesn't matter much to him if he gets shot.

There, once more the bolt cutters are employed on the padlock, making a loud snap as metal clips metal and he throws the wasted lock to the ground and moves to open the doors to set another truckfull of prisoners free.

"You were supposed to stay—" Hannah starts, but whatever was about to come next is cut abruptly short when Joseph darts out into the open, and when her head snaps in his direction, she must see something that he doesn't because her feet are already moving forward. She rams a shoulder into him, using her momentum to throw him to the ground an instant before another gunshot joins the cacophany and a soldier emerges from behind the truck Nick has just snapped open at the back.

He didn't see the Englishman, but instead took aim at the first thing to cross his field of vision. When Joseph goes down, Hannah falls as a heavy weight on top of him, a hole punched clean through the back of her jacket where the bullet impacted between her shoulder blades.

Peter's search, meanwhile, is a little like navigating a hurricane on an ocean of roaring voices. If anyone is thinking about a key, it's lost in the maelstrom of thought and emotion.

What isn't lost is the sound of screaming coming from the truck that the smoke disappeared into, and although this is a battlefield and Peter cannot stop and help everyone who's pleading for it, that it's a voice he recognizes might make a difference.

It belongs to his mother.

Mynama is the first to plunge into the treeline. Not far behind are the prisoners liberated from the second-to-last truck by Nick and Ryans. They have Griffin, Monica and Lashirah to thank as well for making it that far. The bullet Lashirah catches to the gut for her efforts may or may not be worth it. Her scraped knees when her legs go out from under her and she crumples to the pavement is a papercut in comparison.

Eileen moves deeper into the trees. Like Huruma, negation gas is more than an inconvenience to her, and she will not risk remaining where she is as long as the wind is blowing their way. «Two humvees coming up south,» she reports over the radio around the time Nick is throwing open the doors of the third truck. «Fall back.»

One of Griffin's shot tears open the side of the soldier's face who opened fire on Joseph, downing Hannah. Monica's spins the man responsible for the blood pouring from Lashirah's abdomen around and sends him rolling down the embankment into the icy waters below. If the fall didn't kill him, the river almost certainly will.

"Come on, Nick!" Jaiden shouts at the younger man's back. "We've done all we can!"

And that marks the time to leave. Still firing the machine gun from the hip, Raith starts moving, in a calculated manner, away from the battle, towards the pre-determined fallback point. At this point, the rapid barking from his weapon is not intended to kill, but to make the enemy keep their heads down. «Falling back.» And yet, he takes his time, because there is still the very real risk of someone getting left behind.

Not now, not here. Huruma's blazing through the snowy woods here is unmistakable; her elbow stays over her mask, gun slung bodily across her back. There is no easy way around the gas in the air, when the road is between a river and a sheer ridge. She can't move that quickly over this terrain, but she tries. Huruma finally realizes that she'll have to brave a straight line if she is to meet up with the others. So she does.

Though closing her eyes is out of the question, she does make a mental prayer for success. By the time she comes galloping into view of the others, Huruma has come to realize she wasn't entirely successful. The noise out of her mouth is a dazed growl of air, muffled behind the neoprene, but audible. The pupils of her eyes seem dilated just a little, and the usual swagger in her walk has been awkwardly shuffled into more of a stilted trot after her group.

Disbelief is first and foremost the thing on Peter's mind. Disbelief that the voice he can hear thorugh the floor of the truck belongs to anyone other than his mother, but her distinctive cries resonate off of both Peter's mind and the bottom of the bus. It only takes one quick psychic brush upwards and ahead over the minds of the prisoners to find the one that matches his mother's, matches the one calling for help.

His bad feeling when Abby told him Robert Caliban might be in danger seems to have been correct. How— why— she is here can be answered later. Right now, this rescue mission turned decidedly personal.

Hang on, ma. Peter's voice echoes in Angela's mind, Hang on!

Rolling out from under the truck, Peter stops at the nearest felled soldier, snatching up his rifle and chambering a round with a noisy click. It's shouldered, aimed down the iron-sights through the blustery snow and with a noisy report and echo of rifle fire shot down the length of the road to the nearest soldier he can find.

Without the keys though, how is he going to save anyone?

Jensen! Peter's voice echoes hollow in Raith's mind. Jensen, I could use your help down here. My mother is in the bus! No matter how impossible it sounds.

Huruma comes next, a tinny resonance in her somewhat clouded consciousness. Huruma, I need you at the lead bus. They have my mother, I— I don't have a way inside!

One of them should be able to find a way. They're far more resourceful than he is.

For the second time in like a week, Joshua finds himself firing at cops. Or. Guys in uniforms generally, whatever, more of the same. He's crouched low and loosing bullets from the full clip he'd slammed home into Glock, and though his firing is quick, it's not wild, either. Black blood makes a liquid arc from someone's neck as a bullet slits by beneath his jaw; knifes off fingers before a rifle can be fired; plants a bullet into the meat of someone's thigh. If a bro gives a bro some am-mo, you don't waste it.

He also doesn't see Hannah fall, making a break for it when he's sure that the latest swarm of dudes shies back from sharp shooting. Now Joshua runs, long-legged loping retreat even as return fire whizzes after him. Four seconds, three, two—


This sound effect from a different scene, separated by several feet of proximity. Joseph hits the ground hard when he's tackled from blind spot, immediately tensing and expecting whoever is on top of him to— who knows. Arrest him again. Press the muzzle of a gun into the back of his neck and wait for back up. Behaviour he wouldn't have been able to predict if not for the past year and a half. But it never happens, and it takes him a second longer to realise his life has been saved.

And that she got shot. Joseph moves, then, the sliced remnants of chains on his handcuffs winking and swinging as he grips the woman by the arms to see if she's okay, preparing to help her up and drag her to the treeline if she isn't, movements a little stilted, like panic might lock him down any second now.

Monica can't watch the man's fall. She knows where that goes and it's just something better left to dwell on later. Over a very very very stiff drink. Instead, she turns her concern to the wounded Lash. First she steps over to press her extra gun into Griffin's hand. "I promise I'll forgive your two left feet if you give me some cover while I get her out," she says to him, taking just a bare moment to hold the man's hand a little longer. For her… things like this aren't over until they're over, and so much is still at stake.

Her arm slides around Lashirah's back. Monica isn't strong enough to outright carry her, but she can take most of her weight. she even slings the woman's arm over her own shoulders and holds on. "I know it hurts, but I'll help. Lean on me, we'll get to some cover," she says to the former agent even as she starts them on a brisk, unforgiving pace toward retreat.

Along with the other prisoners seeking shelter from the gunfire in the trees, Mynama treads that fine line between road and cliff, backing away from one and trying not to fall off the other. She finds herself clutching the clothing of others even as they clutch at her, her eyes darting here and there as she watches the fray through a frame of snow-covered tree limbs.

But the sound of Huruma barrelling toward them like an elephant through brush grabs her attention, and while the owner of those distinct eyes eludes her mind for the moment, given the chaos, the fact that they haven't been forgotten is enough to make Mynama sigh, barking out a sound that is half laugh and half mournful cry.

Lashirah manages to keep up, gritting her teeth. her muscles work, for the most part, but she's bleeding out fast, and, curse of her field, knows about the life expectancy of someone without getting some pretty quick medical aid that takes the kind of wound she just did… She tries not to think about it. Tries not to curse the fact that along with her pistols, the jailors took her kevlar vest, which would likely have helped some with what is now becoming a very messy, very unhappy situation for everyone. She whispers. "Anyone seen a medic tonight? looks like lots of us could use one." as she tries to smile… and keep moving.

Griff watches as his shot hits one of the cops; then, he notices poor Lashira and her nice fresh bullet wound, and the lanky man is immediately moving to catch her at the same time as Monica; he allows Monica to take the job of carrying the wounded, taking the woman's gun with a slow nod. "Sounds like a deal to me." He clicks both guns, then raises them

Then, Griffin is firing toward the police officers, still happily aiming to kill as many as he can before he has to make his own escape. Nothing like feeling a bit of vindication after a wrongful imprisonment that lasted far too long for his tastes.

Even as Monica is helping to move Lashirah, Ryans is passing them having to trust that his former team mate will get to safety. Time to start wrapping up the team. "Griffin." The old man comes to a stop next to the telekintic, glancing at the thin man. "Start covering the retreat of everyone to Jaiden. I'm going to get Nick."

Order given, the old man hurries on, avoiding where Griffin is shooting, brushing past people freed from the third truck. "Nick! Lets go!" He's prepared to haul the younger one back by the collar of his shirt if need be. "We're out of time, man."

When Ryans makes it to the third truck, Nick is just about to take off running for the fourth, and he turns back with a flash of defiance in his blue eyes, lips parting to argue —

But it's Ryans, the leader of this unofficial squadron, and appointed by Eileen, leader of the entire organization. To defy him would be to defy her — his mouth snaps shut and his jaw tenses before he gives a nod of tacit agreement, pulling the rifle around and wrapping his hands around it once more.

"Go, I'll take up the rear," he says through gritted teeth. "No power to negate, and I don't got kids like you do."

"Pastor." There should be blood on Hannah's lips when she says it, but her mouth is dry, and although the side of her face is caked with snow, clumps of it tangled in her wavy brown hair, it's white rather than red or pink. Her skin glitters with the same metallic sheen as the remains of the handcuffs dangling from Joseph's wrists and the flash of a gold chain looped around her neck beneath the heavy collar of her coat. She reaches up and clutches his face in her hands as he drags her to her feet as if checking him over for injury.

A bullet whizzing inches from her left ear snaps her back to reality, and she's clutching Joseph by the elbow and bending at the middle to hastily scoop up her dropped shotgun. "Joshua—!" A look steered back in the youth's direction has Hannah discovering he's not where she left him. The pop of another rifle has Joshua discovering what it feels like to be clipped in the shoulder and sent careening into the trees.

A snap of Eileen's gyrfalcon's wings has the bird alighting on the truck, a beacon for Raith to follow in case there's any question about which vehicle Peter's mother is trapped inside. Something thumps against the back doors from the inside, leaving a vaguely human-shaped dent.

Starlings flitting through the air and around vehicles will buy Peter a fractional amount of extra time, drawing the soldiers' attention away from the truck and back toward the treeline where Raith's team started. Somewhere, there are dogs barking, and that's not a good sign for those on foot.

That includes Monica and Lashirah, Griffin in tow.

«Humvees in fifteen seconds,» Eileen warns the extraction team over the radio. «Get out of there.»

The sound of automatic gunfire from rifles wasn't enough to mask the sound of the much heavier machine gun Raith was toting, but almost immediately when Peter's call for help resounds in his ears, the weapon falls silent and there is no sign of the ex-spy.

Not until one of the soldiers moving into position dangerously close to Peter drops to the ground when a 9mm round takes his jaw off and his partner in turn has four of them zip through his neck in rapid succession: The 'ripping' of fully automatic pistol fire is the bugle that sounds when Raith comes exploding out from the trees on Peter's position, a Glock 18 in each hand belching lead and flame like angry dragons at anyone that so much as looks at him funny. The machine gun is slung across his back, and will seemingly stay there until firepower takes precedence over mobility again. "You have the worst timing, Petrelli!"

As soon as he's out of the round and behind the same truck that his comrade is using for cover, Raith holsters one of his Glocks just so he can remind anyone he came with that, really, he only brought the machine gun in case he ran out of ammo for the cannon he whips out of his hip holster. Without another word, Wilby's barrel is level at the lock in such a way that it won't accidentally hit anyone inside. And then the sound of automatic fire is briefly overshadowed by something that sounds more like it was fired by a tank than a pistol.

Huruma takes a second glance at Mynama as she comes up past the trail of people following the leader. She stumbles a little when the voice rings into her head- but frankly, Peter, Huruma doesn't give a damn about your mother. Sorry, babe.

She has bigger things to worry about, like all these bleeding people and the fact her ability is wandering in and out of her grasp. One hand quakes up to snatch the mask down off of her nose and mouth, lips opening and throat giving a great gasp of air. The more she moves, the more it will work itself out, right? Perhaps. The empath keeps an eye on where the others are- Ryans getting Nick, Griffin shooting, Raith being Raith and god knows what- and is content to try and wrangle the people that they just pried out of the sardine cans so that they can make an escape. Dogs or not. Huruma thinks they are delicious, for the record. Her charges now are these people, plain and simple. And Drago, her friendly neighborhood AA-12, is more than happy to help.

"Move, move!" Huruma roars above much of the ambient noise near the group, her volume an outstanding piece of sorcery in itself.

"It's genetic!" Peter snaps back, boots slipping on the snow and the ice as he goes tumbling forward in a run to meet up with Raith. He stops, turning to look back at the lead bus, "Jesus Christ, what do we— " there's a knit of worry in his brows, that this could be a smaller scale Moab all over again, letting actual psychopathic inmates out of the corrupt asylum.

When his boots finally catch on the pavement beneath the snow, Peter is running towards the bus that Raith has blown the lock clear out of, brows pinched together as he tries to find some semblance of focus to his thoughts, listening to the prisoners banging on the caging-reinforced windows, begging to be let out. Unfortunately, Peter can't spare any more time, and there's only one bus that has someone he is genetically obligated to save.

For all the terrible things Angela Petrelli has done in the name of the greater good, she's still his mother, and at the end of the day family learns to forgive. Maybe in that, he could finally find some semblamnce of it for Nathan too.

But let's not go crazy.

Snow scrpaes across the ground as Peter skids to a stop, nodding sharply that this is — indeed — the correct transport. His eyes flick back, then down to the radio clipped to his belt inside of his jacket, hed' heard it go off, thought he heard Eileen, but the barking of dogs in the distance is a more worrisome noise. Catching Raith's eye contact, Peter gives another nod and then hauls himself up to the back of the bus and flings the rear door open, pulling himself up inside with one foot poised on the back bumper to push himself in.

"Ma!" Peter shouts, dark eyes scanning the interior. How many people? How many could they even fit on the boat? How are they going to get there.


This from Joshua, who disappears into the thick of the trees not with a leap, but— with something that looks a lot like it as a bullet clips his shoulder and spins him. There's the sound of a solid body crashing through flimsy, puny!! tree branches and brush, rolling down a subtle incline until he comes to a stop in snow and dead flora.

Emits a low groan, and opts to just lay there for a while, relatively out of sight and gripping the Glock loosely. At least he'll be where someone left him. For once.

"Oh," is relief and surprise both at the diamond-like sheen Hannah's skin takes on, sharply retracting a step back from her hands with a slightly light-headed stagger. Long days of boredom and sinking fear is all kind of blasted apart with a convoy attack, a near miss, and a woman with the skin of a killer metallic, gleaming flesh. As far as Joseph knows, they could all be in Canada right now, and he barely remembers how long it's been since he surrendered himself to arrest.

Blinks across at her, doesn't flinch when his arm is gripped. But then Joseph is whipping a look back to the conflict still raging, and people on the retreat. Decides to be one of the latter, his hand locking firmly on Hannah's forearm and dragging her with in getting to safety. It's pretty much the barest least he could do. At all, for anyone, for rescuing.

"Oh heck, dogs, too?" And snow and tracks and scent and blood. And she passed her gun off, too. Monica hitches Lashirah up against her side and picks up the pace. She sort of urges everyone else to move faster, too, as they try to follow this exit plan that she hopes someone is leading them in, anyway.

Move? Move where? Lacking any more specific direction, Mynama lunges away from the woman coming toward them, back down the road the way they came in the trucks. And like all flocks of sheep being pushed by dogs, it doesn't take much for them all to start careening that way, especially with so many of them huddled together to stay warm.

Given, running from the sounds of dogs will certainly get the blood pumping.

The last thing Lashirah needs, is blood to be 'pumping'. As it is she's losing the fluid far too quickly, even as she tries to keep pressure on the wound, to stop the bleeding, or slow it at least. She's looking pretty ragged and has to look at the situation pragmatically. She looks around, and asks, simply. "How far, do we have to go?" There's a certain dread in her eyes. She's afraid of the answer. Yet she's willing to ask the question.

Eyeing Nick for a moment, finally Ryans gives a short nod, Eileen's voice over the radio forcing him to accept it in favor of getting people out. It's time to go. With a crunch of snow under his foot as he pivots, the former agent hurries to follow after the last of the prisoners, calling out encouragement and for them to hurry.

The shout from Joshua, grabs Ryans attention in time to see him go tumbling down. Oh just great… Lip press into a fine line and the former agent veers off to start down the incline, turning sideways to ease his way down after the young man. Benjamin has every intention of hauling the klutz to his feet and getting him moving again after the group.

The younger man backs away, glancing down toward the front of the line of trucks, his brows furrowing as he sees Raith and Peter's distant figures as they pull out one more truckload of prisoners. He backs up, keeping his rifle at the ready for anyone who follows, then finally falls back with the others, turning and running.

When one prisoner stumbles, Nick catches up to him, hauling him to his feet by the back of his shirt, then clips with the bolt cutters the handcuffs so the man can keep his balance better, run all the faster. "Go, I got your back," Nick says, pushing the man ahead of him, and glancing back over his shoulder as he too begins to move again.

It soon becomes clear why Angela Petrelli was screaming.

Blood covers walls of the truck's interior and drips from the ceiling. It trickles out the back after the doors have been open, mangled lock cast aside, staining the snow a vibrant shade of red that can't be appreciated with the snow blocking out the sun. Bodies like ragdolls litter the floor and hang off the benches the prisoners had been seated on. Detatched from its arm, a hand with the cuff still clasped to its wrist clutches at the bars that separate the holding area from the driver and passenger's seat up front, both abandoned when the shooting initially began.

Of the truck's five passengers, only one is left alive, huddled in the corner with fingers gnarled in her hair and blood spattered in a random pattern across her gaunt, terrified face. Peter's mother croaks out his name— a warning—

Too late. An invisible force slams into Peter the moment he pulls himself up, throwing him back out of the truck and onto the pavement, and a moment later the figure of Samson Gray is leaping out after him with the kind of feline grace that big cats have, even if this particular specimen is several decades outside of his prime and moves like he's injured.

There's blood on his hands, and one reaches down to snag Peter by the front of his coat. The other points a finger at the crown of his skull, then—

He sees Raith, and his grip on Peter fractionally loosens. Hazel eyes seek out Raith's brown ones, and he demands of the other man in a low, throaty rasp, "Where's my son?"

Some things are more important than the acquisition of power.

"Get up, you lazy ass bastard!" Hannah shouts at Joshua as she and Joseph go stumbling past and Huruma herds Mynama and the other escapees deeper into the trees, Jaiden coming up along the other side of the throng in an attempt to make sure no one is lost or separated during their flight. Nick and Griffin bring up the rear, putting themselves between the convoy, Ryans, Joshua and Monica as she pulls Lashirah through the gnarled underbrush.

"We have a boat," Jaiden tells Lashirah, looping an arm around Mynama as soon as she's within range. "This way!"

Samson Gray. Raith might have recognized his foul stench if he hadn't been saving the day. "Give us the woman and I'll tell you," is all he says about it, holstering both his pistols and once again swinging the machine gun back into its ready position. All the while, none of his weapons are aimed at his newest antagonist. "We have ten seconds before they catch us, so decide fast or we're all dead." That last part certainly is not a lie. If they are caught, the chances of their survival are low indeed.

The trail of snow scraped back by Peter across the pavement is nearly six feet long, all of it plowed up against the collar of his jacket where he'd skidded across the ground. With one of Samson's hands at his collar and a finger pointed to his head, Peter stares wide-eyed up at Samson's scruffily unshaven face, the way blood hangs in his beard in tiny red droplets, the way his thick gray brows catch snowflakes in them as much as his short clipped hair.

This is the second time Samson has attacked Peter, first in his home and now here. Twice he's endangered his family and the people he cares about.

This time he's going to repay him for the broken window.

Peter's hand moves up to grasp on Samson's wrist, a white-gold light shimmering over his hand as he makes the tactile connection between he and the senior Gray. Abilities exchange hands in an instant, and with a furrow of his brows there is a kinetic rumble in the air that disturbs the snow and launches Samson clear off of his feet, throwing him forward rowards the bus, smashing up against the rear wall beside the open doorway, denting the metal inward with a shattering of the glass in the back right window. The moment Samson hits the wall, smoke explodes from his lungs as his breath vacates from the impact.

Shards of glass fly past Raith from the blown out window, wisps of smoke tendril in the air and Peter keeps one hand held out, dark eyes wide and brows furrowed.

Got you now.


Glass flies backwards in end-over-end fashion back past Raith. Smoke slithers inwards into Samson's mouth like slithering snakes until his jaw clamps shut. The glass flies towards the window, folding back in one itself as it re-solidifies, cracks smoothing out, metal straightening as Samson himself flies forward towards Peter. Samson lands back down on his knees, Peter's hand glows white-gold where he grasps Samson's wrist, and then falls back and away to where it had laid in the snow before reaching.

Snowflakes continue to fall upward towards the sky, then hang in the air for just a moment.

Crunch, goes Peter's wrist as a boot stomps down on his hand right when Peter is about to reach up to grab Samson's hand. That finger pointed at Peter wags slowly back and forth in the air.

Ah, ah, ah.

Thank you, Karen Lau.

Nng running. Joseph manages not to be so slow that it's noticeable, keeping up with the pack without glancing towards the convoy. He'll be glad to not be running, though. Glad to be somewhere considered home base, this track of road unfamiliar and too green and white to be anything he's familiar with anymore. Fine silver vapour flags at every exhale, dark eyes hooded. But he moves.

With a grunt, Joshua lets himself get yanked to his feet by Ryans' grasping hands— at least until he's on his feet, then he's shoving support off him with a near growl, snow sloughing off his back, blood growing dark where the bullet skimmed like a stone over water at his shoulder. Flaring hazel eyes study the older man with weird accusation — or maybe the kind of distrust one gets when incarcerated without any legal process, but it's ultimately Hannah's voice that snaps him out of it.

"Oh what! Fuck you Hannah! Bullet! Shoulder! Sheeze."

And as easily as he fell, Joshua is loping back up the incline, trees trembling as he monkeys his way with hands groping branches and trunks, hissing at the pull of damaged flesh. He does, at least, pay Ryans back with a hand up the last foot of incline, before stuffing Glock down the back of his pants and moving at a run with the herd.

"I don't know," Monica says to Lash, in all honesty. "But… I'll try to make it easier on you." By making it harder on herself, of course. She shifts to press her back against Lashirah's front, hitching her up as she links her hands under the other woman's butt. It's not sexual harassment if it saves your life! And that is Monica's aim as she just takes off at a run, relying on determination and adrenalin to get them to the boats before that gut wound turns for the worst.

Lashirah tries not to grimace… she hates this more then she will ever admit to…being a burden. Being helpless….yet… It's all she can do to hold onto conciousness…and hope that this 'boat' is nearby. "…Don't… Don't sacrifice you…for me." she hisses as she's carried.

The look of distrust gets an unreadable and neutral one in return, Ryans is not impressed and only worried about getting the hell out of dodge. Oh wait, there is a tip up of a brow, before the kid turns away and starts up the incline, Ben is not far behind. He does gladly take the assistance that last little bit, but much like the younger man, shake it off once on level ground.

He doesn't start running right away, Ryans takes a moment to look back to see if there is anyone else left to straggle behind. Satisfied that they have all they can, he turn and runs, trusting the distraction team to take care of themselves.

Monica and Lashirah are too far ahead or Nick would try to take the burden off Monica. Instead he continues to keep to the rear, pulling up anyone who stumbles or slips, clipping their handcuffs with his box cutters and pushing them on their way. He glances over his shoulder, trying to see where the rest of the team is — his worry mostly for Eileen, of course — but he keeps moving. Orders are orders.

Nick's sister, too, is light on her feet even with her leg injury, and when he twists around to look one last time, she springs out of the underbrush and streaks up alongside him with the swiftness of a fox fleeing for its life. The comparison is not inaccurate, as it's the not-so-distant barking of the hounds that propels her toward the water.

Samson's attention does not remain on Peter for very long. Boot still on his wrist and pressing down with enough force to fracture bone, he reaches into his coat pocket with his own hand. When it comes back out, he's holding something wrapped in what looks like a handkerchief smeared with blood prints from his fingers. There's a moment where he speculatively turns it over in his hand as if reconsidering whether or not he's ready to part with it, his silvery brow knit, but ultimately an underhanded toss has it floating through the air in an arc at Raith. Catch.

"Give that to him," is not spoken like a request. It's the kind of tone that says, If you don't, I'm going to find you. "Tell him it's from his old man. I'll be watching."

His parting gesture is a twist of his heel that produces a snap from Peter's wrist. If it wasn't broken before, it is now.

One minute he's there, the next bullets are whipping through a cloud of smoke that wastes no time thinning out in a long, serpentine stream that slithers across the road and into the trees, back the way he came.

Raith's 'ten seconds' is down to a little less than five. Angela staggers out the back of the van, shoes squeaking through the pool of blood on the floor, and clutches the edge of the door, gracelessly easing herself down to where Peter is, still flat on his back. Fingers hook in the material of his coat and she draws him into her, arms coming to loop protectively around his shoulders.

Hard to miss something flying at his face. Not hard for Raith to catch it. Samson will be watching? "We'll see about that." A burst from the machine gun, followed by a second, signifies once and for all that it's time to go. They have to go, and regardless of how much pain Peter is in, regardless of how traumatized by her experience Angela is, the ex-spy seizes ahold of the boy's coat just as his mother has and hoists them both off the ground, straining though he is. "Run or die, Petrelli!" Which Petrelli Raith means, exactly, is never made clear, suffice to say neither of them is going to linger in the area.

He sure as hell isn't.

The wind picks up, blowing snow across the embankment and rattling the branches in the trees, but it will cover the group's tracks as they retreat, led en masse to the rendezvous point half a mile past the rockslide at the river's edge where the rusted trawler is waiting for them.

So is Shannon McPherson, and any soldier foolish enough to follow the escapees into the trees will find himself lost in labyrinth of tangled branches.

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