The Color Red, Part II


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Color Red, Part II
Synopsis When half of Bennet's team goes to move Ivan to safety and escape their attackers, the identity of those who have come after them is revealed as none other than the Institute. But a question remains to be answered, how did the Institute know where to look?
Date August 20, 2010

They'll never get the blood out of the upholstery.

The cityscape of St.Peterburg is a blur as it rolls past the windows of the Ford Excursion that is soaked with the blood of Noah Bennet. Sitting up in the back row of seats, Noah is bobbing in and out of consciousness, weary from blood loss, dark red staining the soft fabric of the seat cushions. Beside him, Abigail Beauchamp is the only trained medical professional in the speeding SUV, tending to the makeshift belt tourniquet keeping him from bleeding out and the Ferrymen from losing the life of one of their founding members.

One row of seats ahead, Ivan Spektor sits with a duffelbag at his feet, Noah's belongings he'd brought along for the mission. It seems all of the personal possessions that Bennet brought was a stack of six light kevlar vests and boxes of 9-milimeter ammunition to refill expended clips. Unfortunately in packing munitions and body armor for Plan-B, Noah did not think to bring a first-aid kit, and returning to the safe house now is an impossibility.

Up ahead in the front of the SUV, agent Lashirah Lee mans the wheel, driving through the crowded streets of St.Petersburg Russia towards the harbor where Noah has instructed her that a ship with medical supplies and allies should be waiting for them. They're still several blocks away from the freight yard that rests adjacent to that harbor, but she can see it approaching on the foggy horizon. The street signs aren't much help, written in Cyrillic as they are.

At Lashirah's side, the Company's negator Rene is reloading the ammunition in his .45, pressing bullets down into the magazine one by one with measured clicks, his dark eyes squared on the firearm and brows furrowed, his focus of negation solely settled on Abigail's shoulders to kee this car from bursting into untimely flames.

"We're almost there," Noah hisses through the pain, eyes wrenched shut and one hand clutching at the belt tied off around his arm, "take— take a left coming up."

St.Petersburg, Russia

9:47AM Local Time

Lashirah Lee has the SUV speeding. How fast she's not sure as she isn't looking down to check… and she's hoping they do not get pulled over right now. "On it… Don't suppose anyone packed an extra shirt or something to bandage him with?" she asks idly. She'll panic later. Right now, she's focusing on driving a SUV, with a bleeding out man in the back, and a stolen murder weapon of a sniper rifle tossed in the very back under some coverings.

Never a dull day working with you Ryans, Never a dull day. She thinks to herself, even as she swings the SUV around the proscribed left hand turn.

"Stop worrying about whether there's a n extra shirt and just drive" Abigail's trying hard not to snap out the words already sacrificing her sweater to to help stop whatever bleeding was still occurring. Just a meet and greet, she hadn't brought her own kit. Bloody fingers go to his neck again to get his vitals, the haitian's negation still very much a thing in her mind that she's aware of and thankful for. "You will not die. Sandra will kill me" gritted out through teeth as she dig and scrabble through her little day pack that held her other things in hope that she thought to bring something else useful, but much like his dufflebag, nothing. Lip chap will not save the day, nor will a hairbrush.

Ivan watches Abigail tend to Bennet in the rear view mirror, his coat drawn tightly around his broad shoulders, frame wiry with nervous tension. His pistol is in his lap, a cellphone cradled in his palm — he hasn't been able to get ahold of Katarina, despite his best efforts. Several terse voicemail messages later, he sits in silence saying nothing, expression unreadable except for the worry crinkling around the corners of his eyes in the form of crow's feet.

If only one of them gets out of St. Petersburg alive, Bennet can be sure of one thing: his old mentor will hold it against them for as long as they both still live.

Which might not be much more than a few minutes, truth be told, but someone's got to be optimistic. It just won't be him.

Tires screech and skid int he water as the SUV rounds a corner, passing beneath signage detailing an upcoming location less than 1km away, but the incomprehensible jibberish of Cyrillic to most people in the car, but to Ivan Spektor's eyes the presence of the Proletarsky Zavod Shipping Company's offices up ahead puts the final pieces of Bennet's puzzle together. Long a front for human smuggling and trafficking of young girls into and out of Russia, it's clear that Noah Bennet must have made a deal with the Devil himself to organize this exodus from St.Petersburg.

Now off of the main artery they'd been driving on, the SUV rolls past stacked rows of corrugated metal shipping containers, the exact same kind that Abigail Beauchamp was held captive in on Staten Island well over a year ago. The memory of that time in captivity, however, isn't easy to fade, ast least not during waking hours.

"Go straight until you come to the water, the— the boat should be waiting for us. It's a barge— red and black— Slavyanka." Presumable the last hissed out word is the barge's designation and not necessarily random Russian being babbled out by a man drifting in and out of consciousness.

Bennet's doing better than expected, at least, from what Abigail can tell from his vitals. He's nothing if not a survivor, though the odds of that significantly dwindle as Lashirah drives over train tracks and crosses by parked freight trains. No sign of other vehicles out here at the harbor, and also when she reaches the end of the line where an iron series of railings divides asphalt from water…

…there's no boat.

Lashirah utters but one phrase, that sums up this whole situation as she gently stops the SUV and looks around. Sitting ducks. No boat. Plan might been compromised Her mind rambles inside… from her mouth tumbles the simple summary. "Well, I think we're fucked." The words are surprising calm, even as she turns to look over her shoulder, and out the windows to see if they'd been spotted… or worse, trapped.

"There's no boat Mister Bennet" Abigail looks over her shoulder to the waterfront where the boat should presumably be. No boat. And her phone is in Cat's pocket. Could Elias get here in time? Likely not. She hadn't faced this possibility nor had she come prepared with maps, elevation of the land and photo's of the location already delivered to the teleporter.
She really wishes he was in her pocket right about now.

"Rene, Ivan, Plan B? Lash keep driving, don't stop the car, keep us moving" All the more quicker to accelerate an already moving vehicle than from a stopped one.

Ivan lifts both his brows at Abigail, then slants a look across to Rene, expectant. It would be nice to believe that the boat is just late to arrive, but unwilling to allow himself this luxury, he twists around in his seat to face Bennet. "Exactly who did you go through to make these arrangements?" he asks the younger man, his accent thick but tone pointed.

"Reliable people," is Noah's answer to Ivan, "with Russian contacts, old ones, it— This is Plan-B. No, no they're— they'll be here," Noah practically croaks out in disoriented bleariness. "They might be off the coast or beyond the fog, don't leave the evacuation point." Groaning in pain as he forces himself to sit forward, one arm cradled to his chest like a bird with a broken wing, Noah exhales a breathless sigh and leans over to Ivan's seat ahead of him.

"Ryans knows to meet us here, we can't…" Noah pauses to catch his breath, sweat trickling down his brow as he rests his forehead against the seat in front of himself, "We can't leave the evacuation point. They won't know where to find us. No radios, comm silence… we— " there's a dry swallow, "we'll… call the Turkish embassy, they'll know where he is…" Noah's breathing becomes feverish for a moment as he tries to catch his breath, "Be patient, Claude— Abigail. Be patient Abigail."

That cannot be a good sign.

Behind the SUV there is no sign of movement, not immediately. Amidst the cover of parked trains and stacked shipping containers there is little more than silence and rolling banks of thick fog that obscures the harbor out too far beyond the drizzling rain.

Lashirah slowly turns the SUV around, and frowns. "… We need to find somewhere to park that we aren't so… visible." She says this. But at the same time, she doesn't like the idea of parking next to the trains or cargo crates…. too easy to get pinned against them. She'd SEEN that play used. She'd rather continue to be on the pinning side of it… "Ivan, know the number for that embassy?" She asks this with just the barest of cracks to her calm personality. There's a touch of fear in her voice. Being stranded in Russia is NOT her idea of fun.

Then again, Lash, with how things are going… who is to say, next week, you might be singing 'Back in the USSR' She keeps the thought to herself.

The slip of words, puts alarm on Abigail's face and lips tightening, forced thin. "Shock" A knowing glance to the others in the vehicle. How long until Cat and Ryans with Katarina would show up. Who knew. "I don't think the Turkish Embassey has anything to do with this Lash. Claude is a man who can turn invisible. Used to work for the company" This was a long time ago. "Mister Bennet, plan C then. Because Plan D involves going back to the warehouse and getting my stuff and calling a teleporter. If the boat, for some reason, has been compromised, what then? Never under-estimate what the Institute will do"

"He's lost too much blood." Ivan, apparently, agrees with Abigail's assessment of the situation. "There is no embassy that will help us. Decide where you will park, Agent Lee, and then do it."

A tern slivers through the fog with a sharp flick of its wings and comes to land on a nearby shipping crate. There are feral cats and greasy black rats lurking in the mist as well, hidden away under thick tangles of mossy netting and idle boxcars awaiting the next train, but no sign of human life except for the opaque city lights and the distant bleating of a far-off foghorn. Ivan pays it no mind. "Do as he says. We wait for Benjamin."

At first the sound of a thunderclap matches the weather, but the incongruent echo of the thunderclap reverberating off of the shipping containers and parked trains seems wrong, and wrong in a way that for the barest of moments has Lashirah Lee's heart skipping a beat. Because the last time she heard that sound of thunder, she wound up face-down and unconscious in a bed of flowers on a church floor. That gunfire comes next is too soon to even react to as she's turning the SUV around.

The roar of automatic gunfire explodes from out of sight, bullets hammering against the left side of the Excursion. Bullets don't punch through the vehicle, but instead flatten somewhere on the inside thanks to the armored plating afforded to the vehicle. Paranoia spurred by the insanity of Carlisle Dreyfus has saved Ivan's life, even if nine months later than he'd imagined it would.

The tires of the SUV are shredded by the automatic weapons fire, though the runflat radials could still carry the SUV some distance away from the conflict. Ducking down and covering his head with one hand, Noah is trying to catch sight of the assailants out thelayered windows now spiderwebbed with cracks from the impactof bullets.

What comes next though is sure sign that Abigail Beauchamp knows what she is talking about. Never underestimate the Institute,

There's a crackling snap of thunder as a ball of electrcity explodes above the hood of the SUV as it's backing up as the bulky silhouette of a helmeted man materializes in crackling bolts of electcitity, dropping glowing hot chunks of concrete with him as he drops onto the hood of the vehicle, dimpling the metal.

00-04 is stenciled across the left breast plate of the matte black body armor, and the orange-red visor reflects Lashirah's face, even before electricity flares again and a sphere of lightning crackles away from the car along with the shearing sound of metal on metal. A moment later, the armored figure is gone and so is the entire front of the SUV, leaving glowing hot slices of metal where everything front of the windshield once was. The SUV crashes down and tilts forward, now missing its engine and front tires.

Some sixty feet away there's another clap of thunder and a flash of light in the fog. In the rear-view mirror, Lashirah and Ivan can see two more armored figures moving in behind the SUV and blocking in the road, both of them carrying an M249 light machine gun — or SAW as they are commonly called — trained on the SUV.

In the driver's seat, Rene isn't quick enough to negate the teleporter as he emerges onto the scene, but his presence is fast enough to lock down the entire docks area. In an instant a wave of negation rolls outward from the stoic and typically mut man, even as he slaps his filled magazine into his .45 and looks out the passenger side window to see another armored silhouette standing atop a shipping container.

"We are surrounded," Rene says against all odds, the seemingly mute Haitian actually can speak. "They are th' Institute, personal security squad. I count four… there are a'least five o'them. They a'negated, but we a'still at a disadvantage. We can'no sit here fo'long."

«Come out of the vehicle,» echoes through the air, the familiar — to Lashirah — voice of Eldridge. The man who contributed Darryl Lincoln's demise. «Come out of the vehicle and surrender and you will be allowed to live.»

"They'll come," Noah reiterates as he slouches back in his seat, leaning against Abigail wearily, "they won't abandon us… She wouldn't."

Lashirah looks at the missing front of the SUV… the voice… and she has one simple thing to say as a reaction to all this. "Again?" She looks about. "… Surrounded. We're not going anywhere with the SUV. Hit the armors in the faceplate. Only spot you'll do any damage. Trust me." She draws her own .45, cursing herself for putting the rifle in the back. It MIGHT have enough punch to actually do some damage. "… I hate to say this, but I don't give us very good odds against the machine guns." She reaches into her pocket with her free hand, thumbing a device inside, then pulls out a small round object, wich looks a LOT like a classic grenade. She pulls the pin out with her teeth and spits it onto the floor, but doesn't press the activation trigger yet… Rene might recongize it as a flash-bang.

"… I don't know about you all, though… but I'd rather take my odds with the guns then their version of 'allowed to live'."

It was a nice thought, to open the bar up, go back to school and work on her paramedics licence. She's seen the suits, two friends each have one. But these ones, they're the ones that she's seen before in sketches from up in Canada. There had been a scream, the blonde covering Noah when teleporter and electrokinetic play patty cakes with the car.

When they demand that they exit the car, Abby looks to the others before she's crawling to the front, her hand settling on the haitians shoulder. "Rene, take it off me. Lord help me" The blonde lets her know and with a glance to the others. "I'll try and buy us time. It'll be half an hour at the most, maybe less with the rain" God, the rains gonna hurt.

But then she's out, hopping through the opening and keeping her hands up and away from her body and face tilted downwards, waiting for the coolness to drop and cycling through a prayer. Please let it work on demand. Please.

Ivan slips his cellphone back into his coat pocket and trades it for the pistol in his lap, which he considers from beneath hooded eyes. His thumb brushes across the safety. "They may try to take you alive regardless," he reminds Lashirah. "There is only one way to be absolutely sure that we do not come into Institute custody," and he doesn't have to spell it out. The tremor in his hand when he raises his pistol does that for him.

He watches Abigail exit the vehicle, then nods to Rene. "I can do Noah first," he says gently, "then myself."

Outside of the SUV, Abigail's clothing begins the smolder as she feels a sudden increase in temperature as her suppressed abaility is let back all at once. It's like blowing a dam, all the water comes rushing out at once. Instead it is something far more horrifying to witness for those in the vehicle as Abigail Beauchamp begins to smoke, her skin blistering from heat, eyes glowing orange like hot-forged metal, hair smoking, and then in an instant she explodes like a firebomb, flesh peeling away from incinerated bones that glow white hot as her body roars into a column of flame that sizzles and cracks in the misting rain.

The flames die down, transforming into a human silhouette of crackling fire with white hot eyes amidst the falling rain. Gunfire immediately breaks out, the rattling clack of light machine guns as bullets whip and snap through Abby's incorporeal form. The two men at the back are stepping away into the fog, one of them taking a knee after a few paces to try and train a shot on the truck, while the other is trying to put distance between himself and the living pillar of Baptismal fire.

Up on top of the shipping crate, Eldridge looks worried where he kneels, «//We're being negated. I repeat, we're being negated. Keep eyes on the vehicle, if you get a shot at any of them, take it.»

Inside the SUV, Rene has finished loading his .45, then looks over to Lashirah, nodding once sharply. "I will keep them negated fo' as long as a'can. They will'no be using their abilities on us. B'careful." Meanwhile, sitting in the back seat of the SUV, looking out at the open door Abigail leapt out of before bursting into flames, Noah shakily reaches for a gun on the seat with his good hand, shakily aiming at the open door for anything that cam come within that bottleneck.

"Always… always the optimist," Noah comments to Ivan, "I used to think I missed this," sounds a little fatalistic, "Sandra was right." About what, Noah doesn't even try to elaborate on. She just was.

Outside the SUV, the figure perched atop one of the parked trains at the side of the SUV looks down to Abigail through a russet tinted visor and crackles over the comms, «I'll handle the pyro if you can stop that negator.»

It's a woman in that armor.

Lashirah frowns, and holstering her .45. Right now, her plan is a bit different. She reaches back behind her seat to pull the rifle over her shoulder, then redraws the .45 as she kicks her door open and lets out a yell as she tosses the grenade-like device at the two armed idiots with a shout. "Think Fast!" as she dives out of the vehicle and makes a dash… not for cover, as any SANE woman would do. No. She dashes towards where the flash of lightning was. Towards Eldridge. She has a score to settle… and maybe one last chance to do it, but it requires doing something that normally she would avoid.

Lashirah is trying to get up close, and personal. And anyone who knows her records, knows this is a sign of someone who has either a plan… or has lost their mind.

Abby can't hear the plan that the suited individuals come up with. Maybe if she had, she'd go for the woman first and her ominous choice of words of 'I'll take care of the pyro'. Then there'd be a smart ass comment about 'I'm not a pyro you stupid woman, I'm a mimic'. But instead, like Lash, she's turning for the two closest at that walking speed that she's limited too. Her color changes though, the flames licking off like miniature flares from the woman as prayers cycle and she works to turn the heat up, and up and up like she's been practicing with Huruma. Fog has no influence on her vision, she can pinpoint where people vrs buildings are easily enough though the drizzle brings with it stinging in this form as she makes for the first closest garbed man to see just how good these suits withstand 1500 degree fahrenheit.

The flash-bang explodes in a detonation of sound and light, and to the soldiers in the Frontline Unit Zero armor, the concussive and blinding effects seem to have either diminished or negligible effects on them. Gunfire continues to explode through Abby, bullets trailing fire whipping through her conflagration fast enough to not melt, but still doing absolutely nothing to her. But they're not entirely meant for Abby. These smoldering oht bullets pepper the concrete behind Lashirah as she runs with the Dragunov at her side, the pop, pop, pop of stone exploding behind her steps too close for comfort.

«Roland! Roland— someone — get that goddamned negator now!» The kneeling gunman shouts as he climbs up to his feet and scrambles back, his armor designated 00-03 is already beginning to smoke even at a distance to Abigail's incindiary form. The man behind the 00-03 unit turns his gunfire on the SUV, trying to concentrate on the back window, firing repeatedly until the glass finally gives way and explodes inside of the SUV. Noah drops down when the glass shatters, firing blindly over the back of the seat. .45 caliber rounds plunk and clank off of 03's armor at that distance.

The woman atop the train offers a groan into her comm as she rises up to stand, runs forward and then jump off of the train while Lashirah is running towards where Eldridge is. She lands down with a crash beside the SUV, reaching out with armored hands to grab at the door, hydraulics whining as he pulls, tugs, and then rips the door off of its hinges, swinging the armored metal aside like a discuss to crash down on the ground.

Gunfire erupts from the passenger's side of the SUV as Rene unloads his .45 onto 02's armor. Sparks shower, plates dent and one side of her faceplate cracks from the shot to her head until she grabs Rene by the scruff of his jacket with one hand — curiously forsaking the gun she has readied — and hurls him against one of the corrugated metal shipping crates with a loud crash.

The moment Rene hits the ground is when Lashirah is sighting Eldridge on top of the shipping container through the dot-sight of her Dragunov, only to see him disappear in an electrical explosion the moment the negator goes down. Eldridge doesn't re-appear, not right away, and when Abigail closes the distance on the man that's been firing at her, she can see paint peeling off of his armor, smoke rising off of the paint and visor cracking from the heat. «Roland! Roland get her off! Jesus Christ get her off me!!» At the far back of the team, the furthest Unit Zero officer steadies his aim, training his SAW on the demolished rear window of the vehicle.

There's a bowel-shuddering creak of rusted metal that resonates through the shipping yard with enough force to make the SUV tremble. It's the sound of old machinery groaning to life and does not provide more than a few moments of warning — a metal hook suspended by a metal chain as thick as a bodybuilder's thigh comes sailing through the fog and slams into 05's back, hurtling him off his feet and into the side of a boxcar with a sonorous boom.
A pair of flat leather boots and a long wool coat come into frame a moment later as a dark silhouette emerges from the mist, defined not by its shape but by the flash of silver that accompanies a heavy shaft spun counterclockwise in a gloved hand.

The other she holds out in front of her, fingers and thumb forming the five points of a star, and although the fog is too dense to see them, those present will undoubtedly hear the rising cacophony of avian voices and buffeting wings about to join the gunfire.

Mist and fog gathers thick in the setting, maybe more than it was originally in the same space of the train sitting docile on its rails, and the sound of footsteps thundering through the railcar is probably a very small additional to the ambient audibility of the setting until it's much too late. The shape that emerges through it's side is dressed in black and moving with a certain sort of swiftness that people who dance amongst the food chain tend to have, prey or predator, Gabriel Gray materialising through windows and steel sides both in a sudden panther-like leap that puts him in path of 02.

His hands latch onto armored shoulders with his body weight bearing down. Almost instantly, lacy silver patterns spread over black amor, his skin gone a deathly kind of blue and cold vapour rising off his bear skin. The customary crackle and crack of ice fills the air.

Lashirah spins as she drops the rifle, drawing her pistol reflexively, expecting Eldridge to reappear right behind her. She'd already been nearly hospitalized once by the bastard. She wasn't about to make that m istake twice as she hopped back, puttingg her back against the shipping crate. She REALLY hopes Rene is still alive, and just knocked out, because Ryans is not going to be happy with her otherwise… then again, Ryans is likely not to be happy in general. She assesses the situation that is now rapidly changing, noting details… the sound of birds, the fog…She waits, and watches looking for a target, a way out.

The sounds changing around Abigail or the arrival of the new people just a side note. Eldridge's apparent fleeing at the situation - you yellow bellied teleporter you - all background noise to the flaming medic as she keeps moving forward, intending to melt the armor as much as possible, 05's fateful rendezvous with a crane noted. That will hurt.

03's having a bad day too and if she could talk, she'd apologize. That's the way she is. Sorry I'm melting your armor illgal agent 00-3, possibly burning you, maybe you need to rethink what it is that you're doing for your day job and illegally operating on foreign soil without the proper permits. Maybe.

Pot. Kettle. Black. Oops.

Plastic blisters, metal warps and nylon disintegrates under the heat of Abigail Beauchamp's living flame. The visor on 00-03's helmet finally shatters away entirely, straps and nylon fabric holding the armor together burn away and sheathes of the body armor begin sliding off, ceramic plates clattering to the ground and shattering, heat-resistant but not heat-impervious plating cracking under the extreme temperature. "Roland!" is bellowed out of the helmet as heat and flames causes skin to— blister? Flesh remains on 03's bones despite some fifteen hundred degrees of heat scalding across him, looking more like first degree burns than exposure to a blast furnace.

When one sleeve of his armor slides off leaving charred lengths of synthetic fiber and oozing mercurial liquid slithering down his arm, 03 is somehow surviving the exposure to Abigail's flame, though not without looking to be hurt in some degree. His screams for someone named Roland go unanswered.

On the ground by the SUV, 02 turns beneath the pile-driven tackle of Gabriel Gray, ice crusting up her armor eliciting a sudden shriek of fright as she balls up one gauntleted fist and tries to curl fingers around Gabriel's throat. Hydraulics seize, fluids freeze and her visor starts to fog up as ice crystals begin crackling over the front of the armor. The magnetic fluid beneath the hardened plastic and ceramic plates of his Horizon MkII armor turns brittle with the cold, one of the most notable vulnerabilities of the MkI armor that current FRONTLINE uses, still exploitable.

«Eldridge!» 02 screams through her crackling and popping radio as internal batteries flicker and fade. Answering the call, there's a clap of thunder beside Gabriel and a crackle of electricity followed by the sudden impact of a boot against Gray's midsection, shattering a layer of ice over his jacket and launching him off of 02 and into the air. his fingers peeling away strips of 02's armor from the strength her fear instilled into him.

Eldridge is quick to spring up and over 02, disappearing in another thunderclap and a static crackle of electricity before reappearing behind where Gabriel's airborns body is flying, dropping pieces of glowing hot metal with him that were sheared from the side of the railcar. Eldridge winds up to slam his armor-braced fist into Gray's midsection, only to find Gabriel exploding from the punch, not into anything like a cloud of inexplicable gore, but rather into a violent surge of shadows that slithers around Eldridge like a thousand inky black vipers and streamers of night.

02 is quick to scraps her hand shakily over her visor to get visual confirmation back, then flips it up to reveal blue eyes and a few lengths of blonde hair. "Daniel!" is shouted over the sounds of the battle and when her eyes focus on Abigail there's a visible glow of orange to her irises, and in that moment Abigail feels herself yanked backwards as if being attacked by a telekinetic. Her firey body is twisted, swung around, and then hurled through the air again her will towards Eileen's slim figure approaching down the corridor, but with enough visual warning to afford the Brit time to get out of the way.

With Lashirah's back to the shipping crate, she can see Eldridge across the span of the road half surrounded in shadows from his missed punch at Gabriel, sideways to her. But she can also see something creeping up between the train cars, headed on an intercept course for Eileen depending on which way the Briton dodges the hurled Abigail. 05 is ducked between the train cars, unholstering a .50 caliber handgun from his side, having dropped the SAW in the middle of the road.

A flock of crows corkscrews out of the fog at Eileen's back, swings around as one under her outstretched arm and surges toward Abigail. The wind generated by their wings ripples through her coat and hair, blowing flyaway ringlets across her pale, rain-slick face — it would blind her, if she wasn't already. Her splayed fingers contract into a tight fist and the flock forms a ball around the fire nymph like schooling fish to contain her, and although the crows can't stand up the the heat of the flames, they maintain enough distance between themselves and Abigail that the smell of singed feathers rather than scorched flesh fills the damp air, currents acting as a powerful buffer.

Through their eyes, the world is an ever-shifting kaleidoscope, and although a combination of willpower and steely concentration allows her to keep Abigail and 02 in the center of her focus, she's largely unaware of what's happening outside her sphere of influence — and that includes 05's stealthy approach between the boxcars.

Inside the SUV, Ivan is draping Bennet's arm around his shoulder and hauling him to his feet as he attempts to maneuver himself sideways out of the vehicle. He's hoping that this is the back-up his former protege promised and that the fog is obscuring their view of the boat. How else would the Remnant have gotten here?

The mess of shifting darkness solidifies around Eldridge in the form of an arm looped around his neck, both of them abruptly pulled into a waltzing spin and in the next moment, the teleporter is sent flying through the air upon release with force enough to dent the train car, with Gabriel going after it the way a dog might when accidentally flinging his chew toy across the room. The thick condensation of fog makes whorls in the air around them, the steam pouring off the teleporter's armor only adding its heat to it.

Also in the air: fear. The scent of burning batter, more metallic than the literal fire fight or the scorching of Eldridge's uniform, sweeter too, and easily detectable upon the inhale Gabriel takes just before he cocks a fist back and slams a punch for the FRONTLINE soldier's marble-smooth helmet.

The air ripples with the beating of wings, the crash of ceramics against steel, the crackling of fire, and once again with gunfire. Two muzzle blasts ring out so close together it may sound like two different weapons discharging one round each into 02's armored back. Neither will punch through her advanced armor, but the impact will disrupt her balance, and likely her concentration as well.

Ivan will see the source as soon as the shots sound off, a third interloper appearing at the back driver-side door. Although dressed in dark black like the FRONTLINE soldiers, this man lacks a face-concealing helmet, apparently of the opinion that a pair of round-lensed sunglasses will provide him with all the protection he needs. And if that doesn't work, then the accessorized carbine rifle and collection of 40mm ballistic grenades suspended from the equipment harness around his chest should do the trick.

Two shots off, and Jensen Raith ducks behind the marginal safety of the door. "Looked lonely," he says, "Thought I'd give you some company." There could be worse things to appear than this man, surely.

Lashirah drops prone as she grabs the rifle she dropped earlier, taking careful aim as she sees 05 trying to be a sneaky bastard. Red dot finds the face plate… a suppressed shot would never be heard in this Chaos. Her only chance of missing is him suddenly jumping as she brushes the trigger back, or a stray breeze from the birds and heat pushing the bullet widely off course. She can only hope that doesn't happen as she finishes pulling the trigger.

This was not anticipated and at the yank, and if she had eye's they would be wide open as her form is manipulated, coronal fingers grasping against the air while little licks of flame flare off. Color shifts again when she see's who she's being hurtled towards, lowering her heat back down to normal, 1000f, in case she manages to hit Eileen. Not that she'd hit the woman, the briton just going through abby, but if the pyro - oh god, a pyro - could throw her, a pyro could hold her near Eileen. flames compact down and the heat from a hearth only.

The suppressor on the end of Lashirah's acquired Dragunov flashes with a crack of gunfire that should have been as loud as a thunderclap without that fat extension on the barrel. Across the width of the road there's a shattering sound and an explosion of reinforced glass from 05's visor as the force of the shot exploding through the faceplate of his helmet takes the member of Unit Zero off of his feet and throws him down to the ground on the other side of the train car.

Eileen is only made away of just how narrowly she avoided being shot when his .50 caliber handgun land down with a clatter on the gravel between the rails. Controling Abigail's fiery body by way of the production of wind from thousands of flapping wings is a production, the sphere of wingbeats shouldn't content with the power of a pyrokinetic, but the crack of gunfire blossoming a spiderweb against 02's faceplate has her focus on Abigail severing, leaving the fire mimic free to control herself once more as her fiery body begins to descend to the ground.

02 scrambles to the other side of the truck, yanking off her helmet and throwing it to the side, short blonde hair soaked with sweat is plastered to her face and crusted with ice along with her eyebrows from Gabriel's brief cryokinetic assault. "We need to get out of here!" She screams, unclipping a grenade from her hip, tugging the pin and hurling it into the SUV just as Ivan is hauling Noah's staggering form out. The pair move away from the vehicle, Noah dragged by Ivan, only for a controlled explosion of flames to roar through the interior of the SUV, then corkscrew out like a serpentine arm, lashing downwards around the door at Raith, belching smoke from its incindiary form all the while.

Down on one knee, Eldridge rests his fist against the pavement, lifting his helmeted head up to look at Gabriel, «Sylar» crackles over the external speaker. «No, we're not going anywhere. Not without him. Screw the paintings.» Electricity explodes around Eldridge as the teleporter takes a huge chunk of the ground beneath himself and a portion of the train with him, teleporting above Gabriel, raining chunk of concrete and steel with searing hot edges down on him, while Eldridge himself is falling down towards the former serial killer, armored hand curled into a fist.

Away from the majority of the firefight, the man Abigail scored with flame, 03 shakes off another ruined piece of his armor, scowling as he withdraws a slagged gun from his holster and throws it aside with a clatter to the ground. He looks better off than his armor does. "Eldridge, we need to get out of here! We need to fall back!"

Eileen's birds scatter when 02 relinquishes her control over Abigail, scissoring under and around boxcars, through gaps in the draped netting like strings of yarn unraveling, but the sense of discord is only temporary. She brings them together again, pieces of feathery metal filings drawn into the center of an invisible magnet that only she and maybe Gabriel are aware of.

"Get them back to the boat!" she shouts down at Raith and hopes that her voice will be heard over the din without the use of a radio. Cane raised, she directs the flock in a wide circle around the shipping yard, building momentum and speed, and surrounds the battlefield in a cyclone of sickle claws, roaring wings and dagger-point beaks that hiss and snap designed to prevent escape.

They have other reasons for being here than the safe extraction of Bennet's team.

Down on the gravel, Ivan covers Bennet from the brunt of the explosion with his body. He makes a wet sound close to his protege's ear, and if he's conscious enough to feel it, Bennet will sense something hot and sticky leaking down the side of his face. A breath exhaled, and then a heavy stillness.

There's a strangled growl of pain from Gabriel as flaming metal and concrete both come littering down, hands splaying to protect his face before pieces only wash through him — similarly, Eldridge's impact lacks much of anything as the armored man passes through Gabriel's phased form, and 03 gets the strange sight of watching two bodies superimpose over the other before Gabriel is rolling out of the way, a knife suddenly flashing in his hand. There's a too-fast moment where he spins back out into Wu-Long's high energy shape, rolling around cross the ground, solidifying a second later, staying low with his arm going out as fast as a viper bite.

The knife steers an arc, phases through Eldridge's armor clad calf, before gaining back solidity at the opportune time for steel to wedge solid through tendon, bone, muscle, yanking through the perfect slice made in his armor.

Rising out of his crouch, Gabriel swings the knife to do the same thing somewhere more tender, but sparking electricity of teleportation has the serial killer launching himself back before he can risk getting sliced in half, blood glittering on his blade. With a snarl, he extends a hand to where Eldridge is reappearing, the sound of an echoing shotgun, minus an actual gun, echoes through the scenery as air ripplies out from extended hand, catching the teleporter with a wall of concussive force.

The blast from the SUV cuts off any attempt Raith made to respond to Eileen: He's too busy throwing himself to the ground and covering up to bother. When the sound of the explosion is replaced with ringing in his ears, it takes the ex-spy a moment to recover his equilibrium enough to get back to his feet and hobble-run to the downed Ivan and Bennet, tossing his own metallic canister back over his shoulder. "Popping smoke!" he can barely hear himself shouting.

Nearly falling over when he stops in a crouch at their sides may not look good, but it's necessary. "Get up, move!" even if he can still barely hear himself, he shouts down at them all the same, rolling Ivan onto his back to get his focus where it needs to be. "Move it ol-" The lifeless stare might be the first clue that something is wrong, but when Raith's hand comes away from the back of the Russian's neck slick with blood, that seals it: KIA. "Dammit."

Ivan has to stay, if just for now. Raith rolls Bennet onto his back, verifies that the man is still alive, and then grabs a handful of his coat, behind his neck and proceeds to drag him one handed across the ground, taking a more roundabout route back to the boat. Although his carbine aims clumsily and erratically at the air in front of him, it's better than nothing. Hopefully, FRONTLINE will forget about them.

Lashirah ingores the blast. It's not near her. She has something else. She heard the shotgun blast, she turned to look… and it's an opprotunity she can't pass up. She lines up the sniper rifle one more time. Once again aiming for the face. This time… it's an armor that she has a personal grudge against. The birds are ingored. The rest of reality is put aside, just like pistol shooting at the range. A red dot in the scope lines up with where the faceplate should be. Then a crack from the supressor as the shot is fired.

Thank god for no physical form, or the fall would be painful, but it's not for Abby as she feels the sense of control return to her form and the singed avian roadblocks Gabriel is fighting, his form flickering in and out of her own vision which if could be recorded would likely make a strange video in and of itself.

But suits are down, Eileen yelling for people to make for the boat and it takes a second or two to look around for the others. Try and locate Ivan and Bennet, Rene wherever it was that he was flung. The rain still drips and drizzles, darkening her where it hits and flare up of pain still. Raith has Bennet, and Abigail's heading for the downed haitian, fire tamped and low trying to use what she can as cover from the fucking pyro and hope that the heat will wake up Renee.

Gunshots, smoke, flames and so many other terrible things fill the air in immediate fashion while sniper fire explodes from Lashirah's Dragunov the moment that she notices Eldridge stop moving from the propulsive blast of the kinetic shockwave. The hair's sliver of the visor that she can see finds itself struck by the round, sending a spray of shattered glass across the side of Eldridge's face and one of his eyes. A scream echoes from the shattered mask and the bullet passes horizontally from left to rough through the rounded faceplate, narrowly missing Eldridge's face itself.

From where he's slouched in the now intended back of the burning SUV, Eldridge crackles with electricity and disappears in a clap of thunder, taking the entire back of the SUV and a divet of the ground beneath with him. When he reappears, it's in a smoking, staggering confusion at the top of one of the train cars, gloved hand holding his face and smoke wafting off of his armor. Unholstering his Desert Eagle 50-cal from his waist, the heavy and matte black handgun is leveled shakily at Lashirah, trigger squeezed repeatedly as the first round perforates the shipping crate beside her, another punches into the ground at her feet and a third round buzzes so close to her head that is disturbs her hair and leaves a whisper-thin cut across her cheek that bleeds hotly.

Unable to see straight from the blood in his eyes and the pain of glass embedded in his cheek, Eldridge disappears again in another crackling explosion of thunder. While Eldridge is disappearing, 02 is trying to scramble away from the SUV, her movements slow and shaky as she backpedals across the train tracks and between two boxcars, her hydraulics whining in protest from the ice attack that froze the articulation down to near zero maneuverability. "Eldridge! Eldridge get us out of here!" she screams over the roar of wings.

Bennet is completely unconscious as Raith is dragging him back towards the boat, but the sudden explosion of gunfire that slams into the back of Jensen's dragon-skin body armor knocks the Remnant off of his feet and down to the ground. Staggering out from between the train cars is not number 04 of Eldridge, but— 05.

His helmet taken off, the shaved-head of the tall and muscular man in the armor has a bloodied mark at the center of his forehead where he'd taken the bullet that managed to penetrate his visor. Flesh is torn and blown back, but bloodied bone was not penetrated by the round. Another explosive shot is fired from the dazed survivor, this time missing Raith's prone form and shattering concrete beside him.

Closer to Eileen, 03 has turned, blistered skin reddened and glossy from Abigail's fire, leveling his sidearm not on Eileen's frail form but Gabriel. Bullets squeeze off, a hail of gunfire roaring thorugh the air, passing thorugh phased flesh, even as the supremely durable man soldiers forward with brows furrowed and jaw set. He has to turn solid eventually, right?

Down where Abigail finds Rene, the negator is laid out on his side, one arm draped over his face and still unconscious, blood running from a cut across the side of his head where he struck the metal shipping container after being thrown over the now burning SUV. With birds swirling in cyclonic pattern around the harbor, exit has not been established for any form of terrestrial movement, but the noise of sirens in the distance has Harper's staggering form taking focus on the blonde retreating behind him.

"Eldridge we have to get out of here!" Looking down at the temperature gauge at his wrist while he hears 02's screams, Eldridge sees the dial in the red, exhaling a breathy snort. He can only do this one more time before his armor has completely burned out and he risks internal damage. Bringing the entire, scattered team with him is impossible, killing the ones left standing with one good eye and a bleeding leg is likewise unlikely. Running is — unfortunately for Agent Eldridge — is the only solid option left.

With an explosion of electricity, a sixteen foot wide sphere of blue spreads out from 04's body, encompassing himself and 02, along with an entire boxcar and a five foot deep section of earth and a quarter of the burning SUV.

When the thunderclap comes and Eldridge disappears in a blinding flash of light along with only one of his team-mates, there is a fifteen foot diameter sphere of material missing from trains and ground, every single severed surface smoking orange-hot where molecules were torn away.

Eldridge has abandoned 05 and 03 to their fates and saved who he could.

Harper is going to be livid.

Eileen claps a gloved hand around the barrel of Lashirah's rifle and forces it down before she can pivot and put either of the two remaining soldiers in her sights. Her face gaunt face has gone marble-white, livid, gray eyes flashing like discs of silver beneath lashes glittering with rainwater. It's in her mouth, too, dribbling from her lips and gathering at the stubborn point of her chin. "We need their heads intact," she snarls under her breath, and with a sweep of her cane slivers her flock in two, a stream of crows directed at 05's face.

She said that they need their heads intact, but the Englishwoman apparently has no compunctions about ripping their eyes from their sockets or their tongues from their mouths. Her chin juts in Rene's direction. "Help Abigail with your friend!"

There is a human sort of reaction to getting shot at that takes hold of Gabriel, despite his phased self — arms go up to duck up over his head, knees begin to buckle in preparation for a dive for cover that never happens, black shadow spasming in a ripple across his skin, clothes, hair. He does have to go solid eventually. Or, you know. Does he?

A hand shoots out, and stiffness suddenly works through 03's arm from shoulder to wrist, and then thankfully to fingers, freezing them and forcibly taken off the trigger. His hand twitches again, gun clattering to the ground, and solidity sets back into Gabriel's flesh once more, letting out a pent up breath. He lifts his face to watch the direction of the diving birds that begin to feed, aches and pains flooding back to him. There's a shiny burn precariously close to his left eye, another catching near his mouth, blistering uncomfortably, but his hands got the worst of it. Nothing that won't heal.

"Go to sleep," he bids 03, making eye contact juntil the world begins to sponge blackness in the soldier's vision, and armored limbs go slack with sedation to eventual collapse.

It's fortunate for Raith that when he goes toppling forward, Bennet is there to cushion his fall. Not so fortunate for Bennet. The ex-spy rolls to the side and brings his carbine to bear just in time to watch 05 get a face full of birds, something he might not have the opportunity to do after being shot in the back. But birds or not, they need them alive. Abruptly, Raith directs the muzzle of his weapon down as his thumb impacts the fire selector. When he finger pulls the trigger back, even if it was only for a second, it's just long enough to launch a volley of twelve 5.56mm rounds into the soldier's right knee.

Lashirah nods as her weapon is pushed aside… this is contained. She shoulders the weapon and dashes over to help Abby, as best she can… oddly, while the forensics expert has done autospies… she doesn't know much past basic first aid for care of wounds.

Rene's not waking up on his own, not like this right now. It's not like Abigail can touch him either, lest he be burned. A quick glance, Gabriel is taking care of one, Raith is.. well Raith is taking care of the other. Hands close tight into fists and Abigail concentrates like she had in canada and not so long ago on Staten Island. Flame starts guttering, pink skin reappearing patchily as she reverts back to being an honest to god normal human being so she doesn't hurt Lasirah. She's down soon, rain pelting skin crouching beside him so that she can check pulse and look for obvious injuries in the hopes that if they move him, she's not going to make something catastrophically worse like severing a spinal cord. LAck of clothing, not so much a worry at the moment, maybe when she stands up again.

The sound of birds is almost deafening, a white nose of crowing and cawing that fills the air with shrieking cacophony to match the beating of wings. Like being trapped in the eye of a perpetual hurricane, the stranded members of Unit Zero succumb to the assault of the Vanguard Remnant, Company agents and the Ferrymen — an unlikely alliance if ever there were one to be had.

03 collapses on command of Gabriel's sedation, his consciousness blacking out and legs crumpling beneath himself as his molten armor clatters with the weight of his body to the ground, broken hydraulic hoses curling serpentine on the pavement beneath him.

But it is 05 who has a more unfortunate fate in store, with the birds clawing and tearing at his flesh, he lifts gloved hands to try and ward them off, talons raking thorugh soft tissue, beaks pecking at exposed skin and pulling strips of skin away amidst screams that join those of the birds. Gunfire is something he is wholly unprepared for, and when the crack of Raith's gunfire explosed at the joint of his right knee, the magnetorheological fluid inside stiffens like metal against the kinetic impact, though the first six rounds are deflected, the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth shreds through the armor and spray a mercurial fluid on the ground like a robot's blood.

The five rounds after the tenth assaul flesh and bone beneath, shredding ligaments, tendons and slicing through muscle. His scream becomes choked, weight on that knee bringing him down and onto his side, head striking the asphalt lightly as he twitches in unconsciousness. Notably, Raith does not see shredded bone beneath the flesh, but a perfectly intact patella like some sort of Aegis shield for the inside of his knee, bullets only having lightly scraped the bone.

Between 05 and 03, they make one very difficult to harm individual.

It's going to be like a buffet.

Exhaling a sharp breath, Noah suddenly and abruptly regains consciousness enough to paw at the ground beneath himself, glasses missing entirely as he tries to find where Ivan is, seeing his old friend and mentor bleeding motionlessly on the ground several feet away. "No," is breathless not just because he's in shock, but also because he can barely breathe from exhaustion.

Eileen lightly touches the tip of her cane to the ground, and the moment that metal comes into contact with gravel the crows disperse, this time scattering to the wind, some with strips of flesh dangling from their beaks, others with claws and feathers soaked in blood, though it won't take very long for the rainwater to wash it off their greasy backs and long black legs. They evaporate into the fog with the same shrieking abruptness that heralded their arrival, and are gone.

"Take Bennet to the boat," she tells Lashirah, weariness creeping into her voice now that the threat has passed. "Wait below deck for the others. You'll be safe there."

Booted feet crunch through gravel as she crosses the short distance between herself and Gabriel, pulse competing with the patter of rainwater in her ears. She's controlled larger numbers before, but never without difficulty; exhaustion has begun to set in, a thin line of blood snaking its way around the side of her mouth from where it originates somewhere in her left nostril. "We can do this here," she says, "or we can take the next train and finish with them en route. It's your decision."

"I do like to travel lightly," is Gabriel's vote, toe nudging at the booted foot of the felled 03, before scoping out a glance to make sure no other FRONTLINE soldiers are falling out from the sky, before focusing on Eileen' upturned face. Fatigue shows on his own in the form of beading moisture on his brow, around his eye sockets, paleness in his skin and breath drawing ragged through parted mouth, but he's more or less unharmed in the ways it counts.

His tongue sweeps over canine tooth beneath his lip, thoughtful. "If we have the time, anyway. I don't like being so out in the open." And in Russia. The fog has thinned out around them, if the whirl of activity hadn't unsettled it completely. He stoops, then, to pick up the ankle of 03 with the intent to drag. "He's out for fifteen minutes. Give or take."

05 goes down, and Raith goes limpish, momentarily staring up at the sky. "Are you fucking serious?" he asks nobody in particular. But then, there's a slightly more immediate concern also. The ex-spy picks himself up, if only into a crouch, turns around and grips Bennet's shoulder, firmly but not forcefully. It always hurts to lose friends. It hurts more when the survivor's guilt kicks in. He hovers there for a few moments, just so the boss-man knows he's there, and then he's up and off to the fallen 05, already bringing a pair of zip-ties out of his belt. You're in for the long haul, Bone Daddy.

Out like a light, but seeing nothing glaring, vitals fine or as fine as they'll be and running out of time before possibly Mister 05 comes back with more than his pyro girlfriend, Abigail maneuvers the Haitian. First, that jacket. Stylish as it might be on a very tall dark skinned gentleman, it's going to hide pale skin from sight, buttoned up to her chin and providing cover from the rain. That done, Abigail's hooking her arms under the Haitian's shoulders, a glance over her shoulder for where people are being carted towards, she's starting that way too. It's not like she has TK to help her. Creeping exhaustion seems to be par for the course in the aftermath of this firefight.

Lashirah sighs as she helps Bennet up as best she can. Seeing his mentor… yeah, that's gotta hurt. Ryans is going to be PISSED. She closes her eyes a moment, then sighs. "Come on… gotta get going."

From the air, the rail yard situated on the watersof the Baltic Sea looks like the eye of a storm, even as the birds once under Eileen's control have left and returned to the skies confused and singed, but largely alive. The air so disturbed by their flight has corkscrewed the fog like the eye of a hurricane around the smoking remains of a demolished SUG in one-fourth the size that it began as. Smoking depressions in the ground where Eldridge fought, charred pieces of armor that the Russian government will study for years following, spent shell casings that glitter like stars against the asphalt night sky.

Across the harbor, blue lights flash from Russian police still too far away to matter, the bloom of those flashing lights beacons of warning in the fog, juxtaposed against the glow of flames rising up all around the shipyard. High in the clouds, dark birds circle, wings flapping against the cool and drizzling wind of morning, the sun blocked behind clouds.

From high up enough, the barge belonging to the Remnant that was snuck into Russia through Bennet's connections is still hidden by the fog. By the time those police arrive, there will be only the scars of battle left behind and no one left to be held accountable.

Only the shell casings, the mangled vehicles, black featheres, and the damp ashphalt.

Sodden with the color red.

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