The Ǝvent



Scene Title The Ǝvent
Synopsis Something is terribly wrong.
Date July 6, 2020

Somewhere ago, there was darkness. Now, it’s all fire.

Isaac Faulkner wakes up screaming, as if from a terrible dream. Sweat clings to his brow, chest rising and falling in sharp and shuddering gasps for breath. In that same moment smoke fills his lungs. Violently coughing, Faulkner rolls onto his side and feels the grit of dirt beneath his palms, the hard surface of metal clunking under his knees. HIs vision is a blur of darkness and warm orange light, his head swims in vertigo disorientation.

A loud whining sound fills the air, so loud that it is all Faulkner can hear over the sound of his coughing. The air is hot and dry, smoke clings to him with the acrid stink of burning plastic and something that smells like fuel. He crawls away from the smoke, blindly and as if by reflex, feeling heat all around him. The whining sound moves in stops and starts, harkening back to memories of standing at a chain link fence at the perimeter of an airport, watching the jets come in as a child.

His chest hurts by the time he’s found fresh air. Faulkner collapses in dirt rather than a carpet. He can feel a hot breeze blowing across his back, and soon the numbness of shock gives way to the burning sting of pain. One hand comes up to his brow, comes back with blood. It’s only now that the smoke has left his eyes, that his vision is coming to focus. All the black and oranges make way to shapes of jagged metal, crackling fire, and destruction.

The fuselage of a passenger jet lays behind Faulkner, torn in half and having carved a furrough through the earth like a field plough. Pieces of paper flutter through the air, some on fire. Faulkner can hear the whine of a jet engine behind him and when he twists to look in that direction he sees the front half of the plane surrounded by patches of flame. One wing is nearly vertical in the air, jet turbine belching smoke and flames. Demolished seats are scattered across the ground, but he doesn’t see any bodies.

It’s a nightmare, but

It feels real.

Looking down at himself, Faulkner is not in the clothes he went to sleep in. He wears a gray hooded sweatshirt and matching pants, no shoes. His bare feet are stained with dirt and blood. His hands are trembling, adrenaline pumping through his veins. Back inside the rear half of the plane, he sees a matte black container tipped on its side, crackling with fire behind it. It is open, hinged on one side like a coffin. Clear plastic tubing extends out of it along with a respirator mask attached to corrugated hoses.

It’s only now that Faulkner hears the screams.

Something is wrong. Strike that.

Every fucking thing is wrong! and Isaac Faulkner is quite understandably rather upset about all of this. He woke up in Actual Hell or a decent approximation thereof, he can't feel anything when he reaches for the shadows, and he's not wearing any shoes.

It's that last bit his brain keeps circling back to, a crowning bit of absurdity that's small enough to focus on in the face of this positively enormous clusterfuck.

Okay. It's clearly not — okay, that is — not by any stretch of the imagination, but at some point one has to stop staring stupidly and start actually using one's brain, and the sooner the better.

Like, for instance, figuring out who is screaming and, oh, maybe trying to help them. "Shit," he wheezes, setting off another coughing fit as he tries to lever himself to his feet, looking to see something he can use to try to do… something… about… anything!

Standing up, Faulkner can see the destruction spreads for a half mile through the dark of night behind the tail section of the plane. There is a fiery path cut through what looks mercifully like open fields, but he also fails to see any city lights in any direction. The stars overhead are blotted out by smoke and partial clouds, but glimpses of them shine through the gloom. Still shaking from head to toe, but able to walk, Faulkner begins moving in the direction of the nearest screaming voice.

Nearest, for there are many.

Not too far from the tail section, past a crescent moon section of fuselage and scattered, empty seats Faulkner finds another one of those black containers. It is unmistakably coffin-shaped, a touch screen panel on one side is smashed beyond recognition. Though it isn’t the screams he heard before, Faulkner can hear muffled ones from inside, along with hammering fist blows against the interior.

This has to be a nightmare. This can’t be real.


On the other side of thick steel, padding, and internal wiring Asi Tetsuyama lives in a world of darkness. The small, rectangular window that rests by her face is spiderwebbed with cracks, making it impossible to see anything outside of it except the bloom of firelight. She is confined, struggling to remove a breathing tube that is lodged down her throat, intravenous fluids are being injected to her through tubes plugged into shunts in her arms. She retches, struggles, and gags as the tube slides all the way out of her esophagus, leaving dangling strings of mucus in its wake.

Oh. Another coffin. Screaming Beauty inside. She looks like he feels right now.

What the hell happened here?

Maybe the nice lady inside the pod can answer that, at some point, but first thing's first. The touchscreen that Faulkner assumes is meant to control this thing is shattered like an iPhone one day after the warranty's expired, but surely whoever designed this thing—

Aha. Yep, they hadn't been complete idiots. As Faulkner's hands roam over the side — and wouldn't his ability have made that little job so much quicker — he finds a catch. A manual release. Surely a manual release. He pulls on it — bingo. Bracing himself, he tries to pull the lid up so the woman inside can get out.

Either the thing is heavier than it looks, or he's lost a few steps; he can feel his arms shaking under the strain. Quite probably it's both; he has apparently been kidnapped (again) and survived a horrible plane crash and is quite possibly — almost certainly — in shock right now. "Ah, fuck," he groans as the lid almost slips out of his hands. Oh, right. The blood. Whoops.

He shifts his grip, putting his back into it, and heaves, and now the lid snaps up gratifyingly. He manages not to fall on top of the woman in the casket — god, wouldn't that be embarrassing — and extends a hand to help her out.

Tears are streaming down Asi's face, gleaming in the light of the fire and the moon as she's exposed to both when the lid snaps open. A shuddering sob escapes her as she looks in Faulkner's direction, transfixed and eyes widened.

The world is wrong.

The worst thing about the darkness she woke up in, unable to breathe, is that she was unable to feel. A keen rises at the back of her throat again as she tries to reach out with her ability— and nothing. Her pupils quiver, irises remaining dark. Her cry becomes a wail, a furious and mournful noise that attempts to fill the void within her as her eyes shut hard. It hurts. Everything hurts.

But what are you going to do about it?

Asi takes in a gasp of a breath, body shuddering as she reaches for the tubes to her arms next, forcing her way through her horror to act. Her eyes open only to make sure she doesn't injure herself as she frees herself, takes Isaac's extended hand, and leaves the coffin behind as though distance from it stands the chance of making everything right again. She knows already that it's not, the brown of her eyes glinting in the burn of the fire as she gets a better look out of what it is she's just exited.

"The Institute used these," she observes hoarsely, one hand at the crook of her opposite arm to encourage the bleeding to stop. With a wince, she turns away from the coffin to look at everything else, her posture slowly righting and a sharpness coming into her eyes as she takes it in. Her jaw slacks, no words able to be found to summarize her review of the situation. After a certain point, all she can do is look back to Faulkner, making a note of his person down to the identical garb they're both wearing.

It is all Asi can do to not experience the overwhelming silence of her predicament. There is no electronic noise, there is no sense of her subprocesses. It is as though her limbs were severed and one eye plucked from her skull. The world feels awkward to maneuver through, subtle things that she never knew she could even sense like ambient electromagnetic radiation are no longer there. It is like a white noise has been turned off and the rest of the world and its meat is too loud.

Abruptly, she looks away. She can't feel other boxes nearby, but she can hear the screams and see the outlines of shapes in the dark. Her own horror is shoved down, purpose taking its place with astonishing clarity as instinct— as training kicks in. This is a disaster zone. Just another disaster zone.

"We find the others."

As she moves, barefoot, with Faulkner through the debris, those screaming sounds are all too evident. Somewhere a woman is howling, a mournful wailing cry in the night. As they close in on the front section of the fuselage, a pair of silhouettes come into view stumbling away from the burning wreckage.

Asi isn’t the only one who feels like the world has become at once too quiet, and at the same time too loud.


Kaylee Thatcher is bleeding from a blow to her head. Blonde hair is streaked crimson, it runs down the side of her face and neck and stains the gray sweatshirt she’s wearing. The same clothes Asi and Faulker are wearing. She looks disoriented, legs buckling every so often as she walks, mouth working open and closed to talk but her voice is barely a whisper. One of Kaylee’s arms is slung around a woman both younger and shorter than she. Dark hair is windblown, dirt and scratches on her face, and blood from Kaylee stains her own gray clothes.


The arrival of Faulkner and Asi signal the first people they’d seen since the dark-haired girl pulled Kaylee from the wreckage. Neither of them are screaming, though. That horrible sound echoes from closer to the front of the plane, inside the wreck.

Now and then the young woman’s hand reaches up to rub her own temple, though there’s no sign of injury there. Her youthful, wide-eyed face contorts when the fear and strangeness of everything around her hits her like a wave. But she has the strength to keep Kaylee upright when the other woman wobbles.

“We just need to find you a safe place to sit,” she murmurs to Kaylee, but her expression when she looks up seems doubtful. Literally everything seems to be on fire or about to be. “Find some water, get you bandaged…” She rattles off a litany of things to do, perhaps to keep the woman distracted from the pain.

Or herself distracted from the fear and disorientation.

When Nova sees Faulkner and Asi’s approach, she lifts a hand, her big blue eyes scanning each face for a moment, to determine if they’re friend or foe but they seem as disoriented and frightened as she does. “Do you hear that? We have to help them,” she says, looking over her shoulder in the direction of the sound. Clearly she isn’t about to abandon Kaylee to run off just yet — there’s something about her movements that seem like she just might, though.

Kaylee desperately wanted to ask what happened or how she got there? To scream against the silence in her mind, but her throat was still raw, like something had scraped hard against it. In fact, she has a vague memory of something pulled painfully from her throat. Her head hung loose on her neck, her eyes trying to focus on the ground and concentrating on each step.

All the while, thinking…. this wasn’t right. She remembered going to bed and now she was here. Kaylee tried to reach for the young woman’s mind helping her, to find out if she was friend or foe, but nothing happened. Neither did she push her away.

Kaylee felt exposed and completely vulnerable.

Of course, blearily, Kaylee tries to reason out why the world wasn’t humming around her. Maybe it was the intense headache she was feeling, not really seeing the blood that was dripping lazily off her chin. Maybe she had burned out her ability, she thinks.

While she tries to figure it out, she realizes the woman is talking. Slowly, Kaylee shifts a look at her, with furrowed brows. Her rescuer was right; more needed help. Swallowing hard, the telepath croaks out painfully, “I’ll be fine. Go help.” The wails of the woman in the distance were tugging at something deep in her, something primal. Kaylee tries to straighten and push the other way, but there is no real strength to it. “Help her.”

Of course, the world swims when she tries to free herself and Kaylee is forced to sit heavily where she’s at. A groan escapes her as she reaches up to clutch at her bloodied head. Only to jerk it away when she feels the stickiness. Eyes widen at the thick smear of blood clinging to her hand and she can only stare at it dumbfounded, like ‘how did that get there?

Well great. We find the others, she says, and lurches off. Not that Faulkner is opposed, but would it really kill anyone to stop for answers? Actually, quite possibly yes, judging by that screaming. That… horrible, horrible screaming. Nevermind. Scowling Beauty's probably got the right of it. Up and away.

…and she, too, is barefoot. Also a fellow fashion victim. He thinks she wears it better than he does, but that's admittedly low on his list of priorities now.

And there! More people! Two women, one younger than the other, both in the same damn outfit. The older of the two seems more than a little out of it — not that he blames her, honestly. He feels a moment of concern — well, more concern — but she seems to think she's alright. Fine. If she says she's okay, he'll believe her — mostly because she's clearly more okay than whoever's doing the screaming. "Right," he croaks, when she tells them to go on; the words cause him to start coughing again, but he fights it off by sheer force of will. "We should hurry… that screaming… "

He doesn't bother finishing that sentence; instead, he starts moving.

Asi's eyes flicker with recognition when she belatedly recognizes Kaylee through the blood streaming down her face. "Sumter?" she breathes out in alarm. Then she's sitting. While Asi feels like she's been rattled, that she can tell, the only bleeding she has is from the port on her arm. Kaylee looks in need of proper medical attention.

Looking to Nova, she studies the girl's response and demeanor. She's fine, but she's put off by the sounds of someone needing help, and likely won't stay put. And who knew — maybe they were stuck under something that it would take all of them to move.

"We'll be back," Asi promises the telepath solemnly. "We will look for a first aid kit for you, and for…" Whoever it was that was screaming. She looks back for only a moment to nod her reassurance solemnly, taking one last look at the worrying amount of blood.

The whining sound from the turbine in the rear half of the plane grows in pitch. The engine makes a sputting sound, more flames ejecting from the back. Then, with a shearing pop of splitting metal it breaks free from its moorings and goes crashing down the length of the vertically-angled wing. The turbine tears itself apart and a spark ignites the fuel lines creating a cataclysmic explosion. The engine explodes, setting the fuel lines in the back of the plane ablaze, which detonates in a second blast of heat, flames, and choking black smoke.

Asi, Kaylee, Faulkner, and Nova are all thrown off their feet from the black, wind knocked out of their lungs and ears ringing. The world is a blur of pain and shock, the back of the plane explodes a third time, sending fiery debris blasting up into the night sky. The muffled sound of alarmed shouting doesn’t come until a few disoriented moments later when three women who found each other in the initial moments after the crash spot wounded people laying on the ground.

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Gillian Childs moves across the broken earth between spots of burning jet fuel alongside Abigail Caliban and Brynn Ferguson. The trio had found one-another dislodged from their ACTS containment and had only just started to catch their bearings when the rear of the plane exploded. They, too, don’t know the nature of the screams coming from the front of the plane, but these survivors caught near the blast are in the path of a growing spread of burning fuel.

A fourth woman, staggering from the opposite direction of the trio, likewise moves into the raging inferno of this scene; a blonde like Kaylee, though younger and with eyes somewhat wider apart giving her face an owlish look. Her right hand is covered in blood, palm-prints of it smeared across her side. A gash in her hand bleeds profusely. Gabriella stares wide-eyed at the carnage, tears streaming down her cheeks.


The tall woman puts both hands up to her forehead and begins muttering to herself, seemingly unaware she’s just stumbled into more danger as that fuel burns. “No no no no, this isn’t real, this isn’t real. It’s a trick, an illusion,” she murmurs, voice growing in volume and rising in pitch.

Crouching down, she balances on the back of her heels and rocks a little, olive-hued eyes wide and unseeing — though when she sees movement on her periphery, she turns to glare in the direction of Asi, Faulkner, Kaylee and Nova.

“Who’s doing this?” she screams at them. “Make it stop!”

Thrown by the blast, it takes a moment for Nova to sit up, staring at the new fresh hell the last explosion has created. She glances over to her newfound survivors, making sure they are, in fact, still survivors, brows drawing together with worry for Kaylee.

“We need to get a first aid kit and any water and supplies before before the rest of it explodes too,” she says with far too much rationality than the woman’s age seems to merit — she looks like she could be anywhere between mid-teens to early twenties, but the matter-of-fact statement seems to lean toward the older end of the spectrum. On the flip side, the disregard for consequences might lean toward the younger end.

Nova pushes herself up with a wince and squints in the direction of the inferno again, seeing — and hearing — the new survivors.

“Move!” she cries out, pointing to the burning trail of spilled fuel, then running in their direction to help.

Dark hair clings to scalp in damp chunks as Gillian takes one last moment to look down at the ground in confusion, from where she was knocked off her feet. She looks stunned, but for the most part okay, except for the sticky dampness running down the side of her head. She can barely even feel the gash in her scalp anymore.

Soot covers her cheeks and smeared down her face. She hears all the yelling, the instructions, but it’s Brynn that she looks at instead, reaching out to take the young girl’s arm and make quick signs. She wasn’t perfect with the sign language, but it still worked. Come with me. Stay close. We need to move.

The instruction to run is obeyed, but only after she starts to bring Brynn with her. Without the girl to take care of, she might not be holding it together as calmly as she was.

“Abby, are you okay to check on the injured? Do you need help?” She doesn’t want to leave Brynn, but she looks toward the plane, once again, questioning. She doesn’t ask her question out loud.

“Good as I can be.” Abby’s still getting bearings, shaking her head as if that might shake off a ringing, or the confusion about how she went from falling asleep in bed with Tabaqui curled up on the pillow to the middle of a crashed plane and the containment boxes. Did she ignite in the middle of the night or something? That’s a horror filled thought that she immediately tamps down and nodding to Gillian, aware that there’s flammable liquid soon to be in their vicinity, she’s looking to see if there’s anyone on the ground that can’t motor under their own power and help them away.

The explosion has left Brynn completely disoriented. Her head hurts, her body hurts, and she's limping. There are gashes on her arms that are bleeding sluggishly through the sleeve of the garment she's wearing, and she feels vaguely sunburned under the black grime on her face that looks like war paint where the soot has settled. This is a real-life nightmare. Are they being raided? Where are the other kids? No one's shooting yet, that's probably a plus… no, wait, it's a plane. This isn't Beach Street. That was a long time ago. But why were they on a plane? Everything is burning and exploding and the deaf young woman is struggling to make sense of what's happening.

The worst part is, this is not her first rodeo. She's been dragged through more than her fair share of exploding landscapes in her short life. First priority: get the hell away from FIRE. And the two Ferry women she's with are familiar; she knows for a fact that they can handle a battlefield. So, that's good. She nods to Gillian's signs emphatically, fisting one hand into the back of the woman's outfit to stay close without impeding her arms. It's an automatic gesture, one she learned young.

In the smoke and fire, her gray eyes search frantically for a way out, and she tugs on Gillian's shirt, using her other hand to point toward the running woman. Is that a way through?

There is confusion when she looks up at the sound of her married name. Then she realizes who she is looking at. The familiarity is worrisome. However, before she can even acknowledge Asi, the world explodes, throwing her on her back. Curling up on her side, with arms over her head, Kaylee waits through each explosion.

Once it’s obviously over, Kaylee slowly uncurls and looks towards what was left of the tail section. Despite the need to wipe at another fresh oozing rivlet of blood, making her look like an extra in a horror movie, her eyes seem clearer. Of course, an explosion like that would wake just about anyone up.

Nova’s shout, pulls Kaylee’s attention to the burning river and the trio of women. This wouldn’t end well. Recognition hits shortly after spying them, Kaylee tries to call out to Gillian, but is reduced to coughing. She’d just have to go to them. Though the concept of moving is a bit more of a challenge then Kaylee expected, as once she stumbles to her feet the world sways and tries to flip on its head, forcing her to blindly reach for something or someone to steady her.

It occurs to Isaac, a split second before everything explodes — again — that there's something familiar about one of those survivors. Kaylee, the name floats up, unbidden, from some part of his brain that is functioning rather better than most of the rest of them at the moment. Kaylee. Isaac knows a Kaylee. Come to think of it —

He doesn't have time to finish articulating that line of thought before the blast hits, hurling him off his feet. It knocks the breath out of him, knocks at least half the consciousness out of him. For a long moment, all he can do is make incoherent noises and twitch, eyes staring vacantly at nothing as he lays on the ground, hovering on the border between lucidity and oblivion. It would be terribly easy to slide off into the darkness, away from the fire and the pain and the screaming…


No, fuck that.

Shock is wearing off, but it wasn't doing a very good job when it comes to helping Isaac keep his shit together anyway; luckily, rage seems like a promising replacement. Rage at whoever did this, rage at this whole mess, rage at his own sense of powerlessness. He clings to it, uses it to claw his way back up to consciousness; his features knit into a snarl as he twists violently, flipping over from his back to his stomach and then pushing himself to his feet.

The sudden movement elicits another tidal wave of pain and nausea; he sways, hissing out a shaky breath as his eyes drift out of focus, gray creeping in at the edges of his vision… but he clenches his teeth and holds on, leaning on his anger as surely as he might lean on a staff. Just because he lacks his ability, just because he's powerless, be damned if he's just going to lay around like a useless lump.

He raises a hand to wipe at his forehead, barely even notices it's covered in blood yet again. His eyes sweep around wildly;.looks like everyone else is still alive; staggered and a little worse off, maybe, but still alive. That's good. What's not so good is that after that last explosion, there's a lot more fire in the world… in fact, it looks like there's a goddamn river of jet fuel creeping towards them. Soon to be burning jet fuel. Shitfuckfantastic.

What's worse still is that that awful wailing is still going on, still going on, the fact that anyone can wail for that long without losing consciousness would be terrifying on another occasion, but here's it's just Track 3 on the 'Sounds of Hell' playlist. Whoever's in there is clearly not having a good time, and it's going to get goddamn worse because the jet fuel is coming.

Shit. Shit!

He hesitates a moment longer, eyes sweeping over the survivors, trying to decide what he's going to do… and as he does, his gaze catches Scowling Beauty's. What's going through his head must be clear as day, because she holds his gaze for a moment, looks to the plane, then back to him… then goes to help Kaylee.

Message received. In that moment, Scowling Beauty — whoever she is — earns Isaac's profound respect. Now… time to do his part. Turning, he heads again towards the sound of the wailing, moving with all the speed he can muster.

That Isaac picked up Asi's message without her needing to so much as speak is a relief, because they've not got time for hesitation or arguments. The moment she pushes herself back up, seeing that flame curl toward them and Kaylee struggling is one she knows they need to save everyone possible and get out of the line of fire.

She does what she can. She hooks her arm around Kaylee's shoulder to help steady her, feet digging into the dirt as she leans them into forward momentum. "Everyone away from the wreck! Get away from the fire!" Asi's eyes widen again as she and Kaylee work together to take her own advice after, working quickly to evade the flames speeding their way. She sees Gabriella with her hands on her head, shouting at her, "Go! Move! You're in danger!" in the hopes of snapping her out of it.

The disaster around them triggers memories. Asi tries in vain to reach out again with her ability, to use her sixth sense and scan the area through drones— but there are no Sanpo units here on the ground, no Tetsudai units in the air, and even if had been any she would not be able to feel them or guide them. She shoves down her mourning and keeps moving forward.

Not far away from where the jet fuel is spreading, on the direct route toward the screaming where Faulkner is headed, he finds the first corpse. There is a man tangled up in the twisted metal shrapnel of the plane, his torso split open in seven places by the metal, his clothes soaked through with blood, limbs twisted in unrecognizable directions. A piece of the fuselage extends through his face and out the back of his head. Neither can be sure if it’s someone they know, there’s not enough left of him to recognize.

Nearby to the corpse, in the shadow of the yawning maw of the two-floor interior of the front half of the plane, more of the ACTS units are driven into the dirt, split open by the impact of the crash. Sparks shower from electrical lines at the front of the plane, flames dance in shallow pools on the ground where fuel burns freely, and cries of concern and effort cut under the still-distant wailing.

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Doctor Yi-Min Yeh awoke into this nightmare not long ago, her head still swims from the impact. That she was protected inside of an ACTS is the only reason she’s still alive, though one of her arms is dislocated at the shoulder. She stands nearby to a dark-haired woman holding a long length of metal in one hand like a prybar. Isabelle Khan grunts with effort, struggling to try and use the piece of the plane to lift a heavy piece of metal off of someone trapped beneath the wreckage.

Next to Isabelle, a teenage girl is likewise trying to pull up at the sheet of metal. Her legs are far apart, fingers curled around the edge of the sharp metal, cutting her hands as she lifts. But Jac Childs is desperate to save the person pinned under the wreckage as fire spreads closer to their location. A muffled scream comes from the woman pinned in the debris of the aircraft, reaching and pawing at the dirt, unable to get herself free. Her dark eyes stare up at the faces of her would-be rescuers, but Isabelle and Jac aren’t enough to save her.


Daphne Milbrook has survived so much. But perhaps this is the one danger she can’t outrun.

Despite the increasingly desperate rescue efforts of the woman next to her, Yi-Min stands there unmoving, very vaguely clasping onto her useless arm with the other below the level of her elbow. The loose fabric of the gray sweatshirt she wears conceals the massive, pointed bulge of her dislocated shoulder underneath. By contrast, the heavy haze she seems to be operating under is as clear as day.

But it isn't just the intensity of the physical pain that has her so fazed. Cast downwards, her dark eyes are glazed over, and she is whispering something to herself at erratic intervals.

"阿弥陀佛. …阿弥陀佛."

Over, and over, and over, like the prayer it is.

With sparking, billowing flames and the distant outcries of others as her backdrop, she's smiling tranquilly to herself, as though crazed by the universality of her acceptance.

Is this the hell she had long been awaiting? It seems unlikely to be anything else.

And if so, she can only welcome it.

Do something,” Jac screams at Yi-Min, from across the sheet of metal. Not that she can hear the woman, but just standing there and moving your mouth isn’t helpful. The effort put into being heard over all the noise, over the obvious lack of help, serves to boost her strength in theory. Not in practice. The metal just won't move. One more person might be what's needed.

Something is wrong, really very wrong; more than just the plane crash and the everything that's with it.

The teen’s own blood makes her grip slip. She yells a wordless vocalization that shreds harshly against vocal cords. Her feet shift and she resets her grip. Tears cut streaks through grime on her face. Why is it like this? How is this happening?

Frustration and fear lump together in her throat. Panicked, tired breaths blow spittle from between her teeth when she looks across to Isabelle. Do something is a silent plead carried in frightened blue eyes, highlighted by the creeping fire.

Jac’s hands slip again. This time she grabs the sheet at different points. Points not already made slick. “Come on,” she coaxes just before leaning into trying to lift again. Muscles protest, prickling like the fine hook-and-loop connections of velcro. “Keep trying.” It's futile, but there's little that would make her stop trying.

The brown eyes of Daphne Millbrook reflect in miniature her would-be rescuers, but the hope in them has long since faded. Her own feeble efforts at freeing herself, earnest at first, have come erratic and weak. She’s exhausted whatever energy she had by pushing up as Squeaks and Isabella pull and pry. Her own hands drip with blood.

She shakes her head, turning it to the side to cough weakly. “It’s no use, kid. Don’t hurt yourself on account of me. Find someone else to help.” It’s addressed to Jac but her eyes lift up to include Isabella in the sentiment. “Just do me a favor…”

There’s the faintest hint of a smirk, a valiant effort.

“Take that one with you. She’s giving me the creeps,” Daphne says with a glance up at Yi-Min.

Further away, Nova moves toward the other woman whose chanting to herself; Gabriella continues to rock on her heels, murmuring, “It’s a lie, it’s a trick, it’s the goddamn Evos doing something,” ad nauseum, her arms wrapped around around herself and not heeding any of the cries to move.

“Come on, you racist nutjob,” the younger woman says, grabbing Gabriella’s wrist and pulling her up and forward. “More of that talk and I will let the fire eat you.” She glances at the blazing fuel spill and pushes the taller woman toward the area where Asi leading Kaylee. “Put your hand up on your shoulder, like this,” she instructs Gabriella, demonstrating holding her palm against her opposite shoulder. “With pressure. To help stop the bleeding. What’s your name?”

“Gabriella. Gabby,” the other woman manages, breaking out of the mantra she’d been chanting to herself. “Thanks,” she adds, following Nova’s directions.

“Awesome. Nice to meet you. I’m Nova, a goddamn Evo.” Nova pats the woman on the back. “Keep going,” she says, pointing to Kaylee and Asi, before turning again to follow Faulkner toward the other cries.

With a cry of rage the Isa’s hands slip on the metal and it falls to the ground, hastily she picks it back up while looking between Jac and Yi-Min, "Best she can do is stand there with that arm," The dark haired woman grumbles, her scar unlit but still as scary looking without the orange glow of… her fire. The moment she had woken up the chill in the air made her shiver, it was like being slammed back into The Hub without any warning.

Isa tries to ignore the flames raging around them, if she just had her ability she could really help. There was someone who could use her help though, hazel eyes turning back to look at Daphne and shaking her head. Determined as ever. "No fucking way, we're getting you from out of there. What's. Your. Name?!" Uttered through the effort of this heavy lifting. If it's the last thing she did, Isa's teeth bare as she wedges the metal and goes to try to lift the piece of the plane up again. "Hey," Yelling at Yi-Min, "Get over here and be comforting to her or fucking something! Don't just stand there!" Even though the doctor couldn't physically help, the engineer hopes she can at least be there for Daphne.

"Somebody get their goddamn ass over here and help us save this woman!" In times of crisis or… at //anytime Isabelle expresses herself through her anger and there's something eating away at her that puts her even more on edge.

Where the fuck was Shahid?

Yes, they need to move. They need to get away from the fire and the jet fuel and the rubble. Gillian knows all this, but still, through the noise, she hears something, a voice. One she knows very well and that sends a cold chill down her spine. Jac.

Go to Kaylee. I have to go. Kaylee knew sign language, she would be able to help, but she couldn’t ask Brynn to turn around and run back towards danger. “Abby take care of her and help anyone else you can.” Again, Gillian hopes that they get far, far away from this horror. Part of her just wants to run and find a safe quiet place to hide… at first, it was Brynn that kept her going—

Now it’s the voice of her daughter.

With that said, Gillian pulls away from Brynn’s hand and starts to run in the direction she heard the voice. “Jac!

“I got her!” Abby knows Brynn and her own skills are better suited to the medical side of things. So when Gillian passes over Brynn, the blonde pyromorph is nodding and helping her toward Kaylee and the rest there, away from the jet fuel. Confusion is best left inside her mind, screaming in some far flung corner behind the wall that she’s desperately erected to keep her sanity. “Kaylee!” She calls over, seeing the other familiar face. “I’m coming, anyone else who is injured, move away from the fire and come to me if you can, I’ll see what I can do to help. If anyone sees a first aid kit please grab it as you go!”

She looks to Brynn, a weak smile barely filled with sunny southern warmth. “How are you doing kiddo?”

Have to go?? Brynn finds herself passed along like a hot potato to Abby, and for the most part she's docile about it. Aunt Kaylee's here too? But standing in the middle of burning wreckage in bare feet is not exactly the right place for asking questions.

Abby's attempt at a smile is appreciated, and Brynn gives her the hand-waffle gesture of eh, so-so with a game attempt at a grin as she holds onto the medic and limps with her. She's not feeling amused at all. She can't even think of a Joe-appropriate response to lighten the terror and confusion.

Her gray eyes flicker forward as they get nearer to where Kaylee and her small band are, and it doesn't even occur to her that Kaylee can't hear her — her brain is asking a million questions at high speed and getting no answers, but that's not exactly unexpected. There's a lot going on. Naked relief at seeing more people she knows is definitely evident though.

The shorthand Cant is one-handed and Brynn can't remember if Abby has learned it from Kasha or if Kaylee knows it, but she doesn't have both hands free so it's what she uses. How many more people? Where can I help?

Because first things are first — she'll do Brian proud helping Abby where she can.

It’s slow going, Kaylee’s head was swimming and throbbing from whatever happened to her. Her legs didn’t want to work most of the time, maybe it was the blood loss or whatever drugs they were pumping into her. It’s also tough walking through debris without shoes, no doubt her feet would be bleeding from all the bits of sharp metal and scorched earth they were treading through.

Though she manages a thankful glance to Asi, Kaylee’s focus is on each foot-dragging step. At least, until she hears a familiar voice. “Abby?” Asi hears the name whispered, before the telepath stops and turns a bloodied face towards the voice, wiping blood from her brow again. She makes a small mournful sound at the back of her throat when she realizes she can't hear the familiar tones of either woman's mind.

She reaches for Brynn, only to notice again how bloodied her hands are. Instead, Kaylee signs an inquiry, You hurt? It isn’t the cant, since Kaylee was never able to learn it. Then the telepath blinks a look over to Abby, “I’ll be fine, look after the others.” She isn’t if the gash across her head and temple are telling, possibly a concussion.

“I can’t hear anyone.” The words turning into a whine at the end, fingers briefly touching her forehead. Something was wrong… very wrong. Even as she speaks, blood covered fingers clumsily sign along so that Brynn is kept a part of the conversation.

Isaac hesitates for a split-second despite himself as he sees the corpse… but there nothing he can do for the dead right now, and joining them is not an option. The living are up ahead, and they can still be helped, maybe, if he stops gawking and moves.

So he does.

He probably doesn't look like anyone's idea of a rescuer as he lurches into sight, between the blood still oozing from his head wound and the expression on his face — best described as a mix of nausea, horror, and rage. He does a double-take as he recognizes a familiar face — Isa? — and notices that, despite the firelight coming from everywhere else, the scar on her face is dark. There are others he doesn't recognize — including one who's apparently completely out of it, judging by the way her eyes are staring off into outer space and her constant, rhythmic mumbling.

There's no time to think, though, because now he sees who was screaming and it looks bad. It'd look bad even if fiery death wasn't creeping inexorably towards them.

He threads his way forward, bracing himself beside the red-headed girl who's already there, grabbing onto the piece of metal with both hands. "Gotta hurry! Jet fuel spill! Getting closer!" he says — he's not at his most eloquent, but eloquence right now is wasted words, wasted time, wasted breath, and he needs all of his breath to pull.

He puts all of his might into it, and all of his desperation, trying to move this thing enough to get the woman under it free.

The criss-cross of survivors slowing their pace some makes Asi bite her tongue. Really, she wants to be much further away than they've made it, but they'll just have to make do with what progress they have made. When Kaylee shifts her arms to begin signing, all the shorter Japanese woman can do is let her, letting go and taking a moment to glance at the woman who runs off, then back to the unfamiliar teen and…

Her eyes widen a touch at seeing Abby also present. Kaylee's whimper sends an additional chill down her spine. "What the hell is going on?" she wonders to herself ever so quietly. Not that she expects Abby to recognize her, given the only time they'd ever come face-to-face, Asi had been seeing her through a SPOT's eyes, but this made two law enforcement officers kidnapped and caught up in this.

"My ability is gone," she shares, somehow without her voice cracking. "It doesn't feel like negation, it…" It feels so much worse than that, but she can't afford to break down about that now. Her eyes go to Abby. "You're a medic?" she asks, then casts a meaningful look at Kaylee. For all that the telepath… that Kaylee was trying to downplay her injury, she needed properly assessed.

With Faulkner’s help the curving piece of aircraft debris pinning Daphne to the ground is wrenched off of her body. Jac is able to release the metal and grab Daphne by her arms and haul her backwards using all the strength she can muster. There are cuts and scrapes on Daphne’s legs, but there don’t appear to be outwardly obvious injuries. Nor does Daphne’s appear to be in a great abundance of pain. She’s fortunate — downright lucky — to have survived the crash.

As Jac pulls Daphne away and the others release their grip on the metal, the jet fuel hits the fire and ignites in a blast of heat and flames that roars upwards toward the sky in a billowing plume. Isa feels the heat, feels the caress of the flames up one of her arms as her sleeve catches fire. There is a sudden horrifying sense of humility, but also of panic as she feels the scalding touch of open flame on her skin. It burns. Her mind struggles to grasp that sensation. It burns!

In the same moment that Isa’s sleeve catches fire, a cry for help comes from the burning wreckage at the front of the plane, drawing Faulkner’s attention like a gunshot. It’s a woman’s voice, crisp and clear. She stands at the gaping mouth of the front section of the plane, one hand balancing her on the back of a seat and one foot her only wobbling point of balance on the ground…

…because that’s all she has.

At first, Faulkner thinks she’s been dismembered by the crash, but one of her sleeves and one of the legs of her sweatpants are pinned up and kept taut around what must be pre-existing amputations. “I need help!” She screams, and for the first time in a long time, there is no one to immediate answer her call for help.


The CEO of Yamagato Industries, Kimiko Nakamura screams in distress, for behind her things are dire. The aircraft crashed nose-first into the ground and then skidded on its belly, tearing itself apart over close to a half mile. In that initial impact, the aircraft crumpled at the front, folding in on itself. Four passengers awoke in the wreckage of the nose section of the plane, and none of them well.

The ACTS scattered here are bend and damaged, doors cracked, sparks issuing from control panels. One such ACTS has a six inch wide and twelve foot long length of metal punching through the middle of it, which is where Shahid Khan awoke, impaled through the abdomen by a length of aluminum, pinning him inside the coffin-like container. Kimiko has Shaw’s blood all over her hand, some of it on her face.

nicole_icon.gif vf_shaw_icon4.gif zachery_icon.gif

But the wailing cry comes from neither. Shaw is in shock, unable to feel the pain of his predicament. But for Nicole and Zachery Miller, the crash has unleashed a host of horrors. Zachery’s ankle is either broken or sprained, and that he cannot tell the difference is a cognitive dissonance of unimaginable proportions. His world is one silent of the background noise of internal biology. Doubly unsettling for what has happened to Nicole.

Hunched up against the wall beside the cockpit door, Nicole’s wailing scream continues unabated. She is miraculously ininjured, save for some bumps and bruises that will remind of her of this trauma in later days. But she has awoken into a nightmare. At 24 weeks pregnant, Nicole had adjusted her wardrobe to the swell of her abdomen that accommodates the twins she was fully prepared to give birth to. Except now… there is nothing.

Nicole’s stomach is flat, no stretch marks, no loose skin. No sign that she was ever with child. The dull hum of her ability missing from behind her eyes is nowhere as shocking as this revelation that her body feels wrong, that something she had become so accustomed to is not suddenly and inexplicably missing.

Within the relative darkness of stray debris, Zachery makes a few desperate grabs at dislodged, twisted seats for support. It takes him several attempts to stand before one finally takes, even if unsteadily. He hacks out a cough of a breath, clearly shaken tense with pain, before falling forward in an attempt to start walking toward light, or noise, or something. Anything but there.

Though instinct almost instantly drives him to pull himself back up in what must once have been the aisle, it takes him considerable effort to lift his head to actually look around — startling to find both Kimiko and Shaw where he was not expecting them to be. Where he should have known them to be. His brow knits in confusion over one blue eye and one empty socket, but it's not until another voice registers that his attention snaps elsewhere still, and his expression falls when he realises who the screams belong to. When he recognises not only her, but the fact that she's lacking an important aspect of her that he'd so gotten used to.

Her presence offers both familiarity and a much needed sense of purpose, and despite a sinking stomach, conviction threads itself through his words when he calls out, limping towards her, "Nicole! This isn't— it's not…" Not what? The words fail to arrive, conviction or no.

Nicole is wailing, screaming until her throat is raw, not out of any sensation of pain, but because of the utter sense of loss. It doesn't even occur to her that she doesn't have her ability at her disposal. There's so much terror in this moment. Where are they? How did they get there? And what happened to her?

Pale hands with purple and red blossoms over the knuckles paw over flat stomach, made bare from the way she lifts her shirt up and over what should have been a bump. “No,” she whispers hoarsely, her voice cracking with emotion. “No, no, no.” This can't be real. Can't be happening.

She seeks some sort of answer in her husband's face. Finds the empty eye socket instead. It certainly isn't the first time she's seen him without the prosthetic in place, but this isn't normal. But maybe it was dislodged in the— The crash?

At some point, she stopped screaming. There's only a ringing in her ears and a loud roar like a freight train, or waves crashing on a rocky shoreline. Zachery doesn't need his ability to recognize shock. An activated response crashing as surely as this jet did. He's seen her in this state once. The afternoon they conceived the twins she no longer appears to be carrying.

Nicole pushes herself up on shaky legs to stand, without realizing that she's doing it. Reaching out to grasp hold of Zachery, her gaze is unfocused. A dull, flat, dark shade of blue where there should be luminescence. Tears stream down her face and isn't really seeing anything. “We have to get out of here,” she states like it's an afterthought. Her fingers curl into the grey fabric of the sweatshirt he's wearing, identical to hers. “We have to— We have—”

Shaw blinks. It's the only part of his body that seems to move as he stares outward with wonderment, looking up through the cracked window of the ACTS container at the metal debris that punches through his torso as would a pinned bug in some heinous collection. His eyes follow the straight edged gleam as it also points, guides his eyes up to the night sky. To the winking stars peeking through smoke and the hazy glow of flames. He'd spent many a night staring at them.

Were they always the same? In every world? In every time?

An attempt to swallow catches around the intubation, and he chokes. The faintest violence of the cough sends his body into a convulsion and causes immediate reactionary regret. He stills again, though now aware of the chill he feels creeping through him. Even as nearby screams and wails and explosions reach his ears, he can do little else but blink and stare up at the sky. Wondering.

The late realization that the screaming banshee of a woman is Nicole is the one that draws Yi-Min out of some aspect of her daze, if not her agony. Face pale with torment, dislocated shoulder causing her arm to dangle vaguely askew from her body like an alien limb of unnatural length, she claws her way towards two of the swimming faces that she recognizes.

Over debris, over the littered forewarnings of flames—

"Zachery," Yi-Min gasps, arriving at his side with no fanfare and even less apparent cognizance of her own condition. "What happened?" It's not a general question. Her gaze is solely focused towards Nicole.

Jac drags Daphne backward by the underarms, several steps clear of the wreckage, then half drops and sinks to the ground. The speedster finds herself lowered, with as much control as the teenager mustered for herself, onto Jac’s lap. It's only just in time to be below the wash and plume of fire and heat.

Arms covered in grime and blood raise to shield her face, and instinct forces her to turn from the inferno. An elbow braces against the ground as the heat eases, the other arm curls against her middle as she chances a look at the wreckage.

From where she sits, the faces all around are little more than silhouettes and masks. It's impossible to make sense of any of it. It's worse than any nightmare. Jac makes a sound, takes a breath, counts to three. The shape of Gillian running toward her looks familiar. “It's going to be okay,” she says out loud, to herself or Daphne, but probably both. Saying it aloud should be a comfort, but her voice sounds hollow and raw and afraid.

There’s not enough time to thank all of her rescuers before that plume of fire demands that Daphne be rescued some more, when Jac pulls her further away before collapsing onto the ground. Daphne’s bloody hands come up over her face to shield herself from that flare of heat, before she pushes herself up into a position that isn’t sprawled over the teenager.

“Thanks,” she mutters, dark eyes darting from Jac to Isa to Faulkner, to include them in that small statement of gratitude. She reaches up to shove a lock of reddish-brown hair out of her eyes.

It isn’t the iconic platinum dreadlocked bob the speedster had sported in the old days, the color she’d worn the day she met Gillian so many years before. In another nightmare.

“The Purple Lady,” Daphne says wonderingly as Gillian comes running up — this time it’s Gillian who is the more able-bodied among the two. “You made me fly once.”

Metaphorically speaking.

Nova catches up to where Faulkner’s been rescuing trapped women, but that danger handled, she looks to where the others scream, and the young woman’s wide blue eyes widen yet more as she runs up to that area of the wreckage. A shaky hand covers her mouth at the sight of Shaw impaled. Nicole’s problems seem less obvious to a stranger, but her brows draw together with worry for whatever it is she can’t see.

Some problems are easier fixed, and while Yi-Min speaks to Zachary, Nova moves to her — perhaps in denial of the more serious problems she can’t solve — and puts her hands lightly on the other woman’s shoulder and arm. “I’m going to count to three,” she says, “And it’s going to hurt a lot but it’ll feel better after, I swear. Pinkie promise.” She doesn’t have free pinkies to promise with, because she counts, “One, two…”

There is no three. Nova is a liar.

Gabriella has made her way toward Kaylee and the others, her eyes darting from person to person. “So many of you know each other,” she murmurs. It makes her nervous. “Do you think anyone is looking for us?” She looks up at the sky, looking for signs of other air traffic.

It does indeed take Isa a moment for the sensation to register, she's burning. "Fuckkkkkk!" Tearing the sweatshirt off and throwing it to the ground stomping on it and throwing sand all over the piece of clothing. Her body shakes and especially the arm with the light burns on it. She's looking up towards the sky when she hears a familiar voice and her head snaps over in that direction, "Kimiko…" bending to snatch the half burned sweatshirt, the woman runs towards the direction of the woman's voice.

"Kimiko! What are you—" Isabelle doesn't finish as she comes closer and notices the ACTS and just who is inside. "Shahid!"

The pyrokinetic charges forward and past Kimiko and leans against the ACTs with tears in her eyes, "What the fuck no, no no. Baby look at me, Shahid?" Balling the ruined sweatshirt up in her hands she leans forward to press it gently around the wound, eyes wide, there's so much blood. They've been here before though, each having suffered great physical harm on their journey to this world. Each time they were there to save the other.

Isa doesn't see how she can save Shahid from this.

“Jac!” Gillian yells as she continues to run closer— or tries before she’s caught up in a small fit of coughing as she collapses next to the young girl with Daphne in her lap. She doesn’t really recognize Daphne. She had been pretty out of it when they had met. Blood covering the side of her face certainly might look a little familiar— even if last time it had been running down her arm onto the floor of the cell she had been locked in. It hadn’t been a good time at all.

“I— yes. Purple lady.” That works, but she looks at the two women, and especially Jac, frantically trying to make sure the girl isn’t hurt. “Are you okay? Are you hurt? Do you— “ she trails off. God there’s so much she wants to ask. Does she remember how they got here?

Why can’t she— why can’t she feel them the way she was always used to? That little light that glowed within certain people, it was gone.

She hadn’t really had much time to think about it. But everything was wrong. “We need to get away from the wreckage. Can you move?”

There’s so many people who need help. So many that she could lend a hand to. But right now her daughter was her top priority.

"Nurse practitioner. Somewhere between a nurse and a doctor, but I was a medic once. But now I work for an organization called Scout" She doesn't recognize Asi and Abby has barely grasped the short hand that the lighthouse kids have. Just enough knowledge that she can misread so leaves it to Kaylee. "I'm sorry Kay. Just breathe. It's probably whatever they pumped into us in the containers okay. Pretty grateful honestly. Means I won't be buck naked in front of others because I sure would have imploded by now" She looks to Asi. "I'll start worrying if we don't feel things come back after half a day. They have an effectiveness period of twelve to twenty four hours. So, just breathe, both of you. It's hard, I know. It's disorienting not being able to do what we do. I've been there. A few times." She looks to Kaylee and there's a sympathetic smile. "Enjoy the mental silence for now yeah? Pretty sure you'd be begging for us to stop yelling" Because inwardly, mentally, Abby's screaming. Things. Aren't. Right. Where even were they.

"Kay, we're going to look you over and we're going to take everything one minute at a time okay? I need you to help me out here by sitting and following my finger and letting me look you over. I promised, I'm just bruised and banged up okay. But you're looking like H E double hockey sticks right now and Joseph would have my hide if I didn't look you over" The drawl a little deeper at the moment. Gabrielles coming over draws her attention then to the sky, then back to Kaylee. I dont know. But I know that we're a resourceful group and we can endure til we are found" She looks to Asi again. "Sorry, I'm Abby. Are you hurt anywhere? Or just the… no access to your abilities?" Then to Gabriella. "Can you, carefully, go tell people who are hurt to come here if they can. If they can't, make note of where they are and I'll go to them I guess." She guesses.

Brynn's gray eyes are flicking around the insanity. She isn't reacting to the screaming at all, but she's watchful of the fire and of people moving. Once Abby comes to a stop near Kaylee and she can get both hands out into the open, she signs back in ASL instead of shorthand. I think I wrenched my knee. My head hurts like Hailey's stupid horse kicked me. And I think I might have cracked a rib or two, but I'm fine. If that's fine, Brynn has a different definition than most people. Then again… look where she grew up. Still, beneath the soot and the blood matting part of her hair, she's definitely better off than some.

She looks between Abby and Kaylee, wary eyes very deliberately scanning Asi and Gabrielle too as her brows furrow. Her signing is fast because Abby and Kaylee both have fluent ASL. Tell me where you need me, Miss Abby. I remember all the first aid training, I should be okay. We gotta get away in case it blows again — I can't really carry anyone with this knee, but if they're mobile, I can still help. Her hand reaches out to touch Kaylee's arm, though, and she looks her aunt in the eye. Breathe. You can hear just fine, and I need you. There's too much happening, Aunt Kaylee. She can't keep up in the chaos, and without Gillian or Abby or Kaylee at her elbow for now, she's pretty much at the mercy of figuring it out on her own — their presence will make it a lot easier.

She hasn't missed that they’re all in similar clothes and well… we've all come out of tubes that had breathing equipment. How they got here in this moment is not as important as getting the hell away from fire. If all the engines didn't blow, there could be a couple more explosions. Can we get out of here now? Aunt Gilly took off that way. She gestures.

Gabrielle gets a confused look, like Kaylee is trying to process that she’s there or maybe what she’s asking. Now that the adrenaline of the moment was fading, it was all starting to catch up to her. There is a slow blink as the telepath looks at Abby and then Brynn. “Depends on what happened, so many reasons we could be here,” is the confusing answer the telepath offers to Gabrielle’s question. “My family has to be…. Looking?” Her head hurts a bit thinking about anything, her brain seizing up as if it doesn’t want to leave the moment. A shuddering breath escapes her, as Kaylee blinks back tears. There is another slow blink - she feels tired - as she remembers to sign to Brynn, but the words are sloppy and she seems like it’s getting hard to think of the right words.

The touch on her arm, though, Kaylee pats it before turning to try and follow Abby’s instruction. It’s the mention of Joseph that really hits hard, tears coming back even as she tries to follow Abby’s finger. She’d be surprised if he did still worry after she put him through. “The world is trying to spin,” she hisses through clenched teeth, “If it doesn’t stop I might throw up.”

Faulkner nods to Daphne, but there's no time to be had for congratulations or pats on the back; she might be free, but they're all still in danger. As if to prove that point, the jet fuel chooses that moment to reach its destination; the wash of heat when the jet fuel ignites is enough to make Isaac's skin crawl. He winces, but he's luckier than Isa, at least. When Faulkner sees her arm burst into flame, for a split second he feels a surge of absurd hope — if fire answers to her again, then perhaps the shadows may yet heed his command — but no. That hope dies when she screams, when she tears off her burning sweatshirt.

And screaming. More screaming, like yet another instrument speaking up in Hell's Orchestra. Faulkner's head turns as the screaming starts again… but when he sees the woman screaming for help at the front of the plane, two thoughts go through his mind. First, Jesus fucking Christ did she lose limbs in this crash?! Secondly, courtesy of Faulkner actually reading the news, Jesus fucking Christ is that Kimiko Nakamura? A split-second more gives him the answers to those questions: no, the shirt and pants are pinned, meaning those must have been pre-existing and why yes, yes it is, respectively.

No time to gawk, though, there's still an inferno going on. He's pretty sure the heat isn't enough to kill them — yet — but lingering in this oven isn't going to do anyone any favors. He grits his teeth and moves towards the front of the plane… only to pause for a moment as he recognizes a couple more familiar faces. Doctor Necromancer's up there, but it's not his face that draws Faulkner's attention. No, his gaze is drawn to another passenger onboard this direct-to-hell flight, still laying in his coffin. Shaw? It can't be.

But it is. And his wound sure as hell isn't pre-existing. Isn't… probably isn't survivable.

A chill sweeps through him as that realization strikes home. Shaw's probably a dead man. Shaw, who got him his first job in the Safe Zone. Shaw, who once hit an angry lumberjack in the face with a baguette during the middle of a riot… is gonna die. Is dead already, he just hasn't figured it out yet. That knowledge — worse, the sight of Isa trying to figure out how to help him — claws at the inside of his chest like some kind of rabid animal, chewing on his guts. But there's no time. His mouth tightens, and he nods to Isa. Maybe, just maybe, she'll be able to do something to save Shaw. Maybe the girl — the medic — can help him. But…

But Isaac Faulkner can't. Here, too, he is powerless, and the taste of that is like bile. Maybe, though, there are some that he can help.

"We have to get out of here," he calls — yes, he is stating the obvious, thank you very much, but sometimes having a clear goal can be a help in a situation like this. He looks to Ms. Nakamura and nods once. "Lean on me. I can help you to the exit; there are more of us out there." After that, he can come back for the next. He hopes they can still get out that way, at least.

"I'm fine," Asi insists to Abby, looking to Kaylee at her side. Between Brynn, between Abby, she's going to be in good hands from here. A quick glance is given to Gabriella before she decides, right or wrong in her assumption, the girl's liable to wander rather than bring anyone else back to safety. Asi squeezes Kaylee's shoulder in a gesture of support before she turns back to the blaze. "I'll be back."

Then she's off, cutting a path through where she'd seen Isaac head, where the shouts had come from. The cluster of Daphne, Jac, and Gillian bring her to slow her pace, quickly assessing. Shock, injury, fully mobile. They should be okay if each supported the other. "There's a medic back that way," she directs them with a point back the way she's come from. "Get her over there, out of the flames." At the last moment, she recognizes Jac's face and her expression flickers, but she presses on. Isaac's clearly been through and past.

It's Nova she sees first, and follows her footsteps into the nose area of the craft. There's so much to take in once she starts making out who is who, who is in what condition. Her eyes widen and she passes a hand over her forehead, smearing sweat-stained hair back out of her face.

Of all the people she would have never expected to find here, Kimiko Nakamura is on the top of that list. Yi-Min Yeh trails shortly behind that. In the back of her mind, her understanding of motive and target demographic of the victims shift, one further away, and one closer to grasping. Asi shakes her head, stepping out of the way of Faulkner. "I'll find you again shortly," she says somewhere between Kimiko and Faulkner, moving past them to the sounds of panic, the horror needing most addressed.

"Isabelle," Asi firmly addresses her on approach, a modicum of calm input into it. "Let me look. Let me— see what can be done here." She doesn't know Shahid, but she doesn't have to know him to appreciate how bad this looks. Their options are grave no matter how they cut it.

"Shit," she breathes out as she takes in the wound, the fact that he's pinned. The former Mugai-Ryu's eyes dance over the details, head turning as she looks for a way to safely evacuate Shaw out without overly disturbing his wound. There's no tools at their disposal, no abilities which could help them.

Asi thinks back to the comment the girl searching the skies made. She prays someone is looking for them after all. She prays help comes soon.

Kimiko wobbles, knee buckling from exertion. She collapses first down onto the deck of the front half of the plane, then tumbles out onto the sand. Pride and anger force her to sit up, dragging herself away from the wreckage with jaws clenched shut and tears welled up in her eyes. “Someone— help him!” She shouts back while pointing with the stub of her other arm in the direction of Shaw, pinned inside his ACTS.

Asi and Isa are nearby, both looking in and seeing the condition Shaw is in. The piece of metal extends down from the ceiling, bends at a 45-degree angle and punctures through Shaw’s torso between his seventh and eighth ribs on his right side. Given a basic knowledge of anatomy it probably punctured his liver, large intestine, and may have gotten a kidney depending on the angle. Scanning the ceiling, Asi and Isa both can see where the length of metal bends it’s nearly split all the way, roughly two-thirds of the aluminum bar is cracked. With some applied force she could shear it the rest of the way off, and then if they can move Shaw inside the ACTS case before the front of the plane is fully engulfed in flames…

…it’s a long shot.

"Make sure it doesn't move too much… please," is Isa's hastily greeting to the technopath. Wiping her eyes with her unburned hand she glares upwards are the metal where it's almost broken off completely. All Isabelle had to do was direct her anger somewhere and this lifeless material draws her ire. Not one to waste time especially when her husband's life on the line, hazel eyes track the metal and she grabs the metal and pivots her weight.

With a grunt the dark haired woman bears down on the piece of metal. She made a vow, this wouldn't be the first time they had to pull each other from the brink. As Isa works at tearing the metal loose from the ceiling she thinks sadly, it surely wouldn't be the last it seemed either. The pair had a knack for getting into these sorts of situations.

Digging her feet into the ground and baring her teeth she lifts and twists to break the material free.

Desperation makes for a wonderful tool on its own, Asi reflects. "Hang in there, Shahid," she encourages him as she climbs into the coffin around him on Isa's, resisting a grimace as she sees he's still stuck with that tubing on top of everything else. Choking hazard, she realizes. "One second," she tells Isa, then reaches forward to Shaw. "Head back and hold still…"

The tube is tossed aside without care after his airway is cleared. "Doing great," she promises him as much as apologizes, bracing her feet and arms to keep the metal as still as possible as Isa sets about starting the process of turning it into a skewer rather than a giant pin. "Hold still just a little longer, and we'll have you out of there in no time." She looks up to the burned pyrokinetic, nodding once she's got as firm a grip possible around the stake of metal. "Okay. Do it."

At least, and this is the smallest of silver linings, there wasn't a narrow doorway they would have to worry about navigating him through if they could lift him and the metal piece out of the coffin at once.

Hearing the twist of metal above sing, Asi turns her head to see who else can help. She hears Kimiko outside, but she raises her voice anyway. "We have a man who is pinned and cannot move on his own, we need help carrying him!" The shout is for anyone who can hear, but she looks at the cluster of those in this section of the plane in particular— to Nova, Zachery, Nicole, and Yi-Min, despite the issues they themselves are struggling through at that moment. There's no one else to turn to, possibly. Help.

Zachery's attention sticks to Nicole a moment longer, as if it's the only thing his last remaining eye can focus on. If he could just make her current state make sense, maybe everything else would fall into place.

But he can't. And it doesn't.

Just when he looks like he's about to topple over again, he snaps back to reality (or whatever this is) and remembers to breathe. He steadies himself on Nicole just as much as she holds onto him, just in time to hear a familiar voice calling his name. A sweeping gaze lingers on what he can see of Shaw and the people gathered around him, but ends in a wildly confused look at Yi-Min's face once he finds it. "I don't — understand, why are you…"

He shakes his head, jaw setting as the rest of his current world slowly opens back up. His hands move along Nicole's arms, but rather than pull her closer, he guides her toward Yi-Min, unhooking the fingers from his sweatshirt to say in equal parts command and plea, "Take her, get away from here, to a hospital, or… away from the fire, at least, in case…" The sentence ends there, because he's moved on already, turning to limp awkwardly over uneven footing, toward the nearby ACTS unit instead. "I have to go."

Swallowing dryly, he looks first to what he can see of the fire around them, then aims his gaze up at the breaking metal. His eye follows the line of the aluminium down to Asi, then finally to Shaw himself. "Well done," leaves him near breathlessly, as he leans heavily down onto the coffin so as to keep the weight off of his leg. "Is he attached anywhere else? Once he's free, we lift him with the metal in place. Steady."

“No. No, no. No,” Nicole whispers quietly, desperately as Zachery manages to pry her fingers open and nudges her in the direction of her friend. Her feet move obediently, even though it’s clear it’s not what her heart or mind want. But neither her heart nor mind seem to be fully engaged at the moment. It’s only once she bumps into Yi-Min (her good side, fortunately) that she turns her face to look at her.

Sound starts to register, like an orchestra tuning itself. Instrument by instrument, section by section, everything starts to add back to her consciousness and starts to bring back focus. The catalyst is the awful noise of Yi-Min’s arm being wrenched back into place, and the cries that come with that. Finally, Nicole can see what’s happening around her. Realizes the terrible danger all of them are in.

And as much as she fears for her husband — as much as she wants to call him back and tell him they need to run — if he doesn’t help, the man in that container will have no hope of survival. Hope might be all they have left right now. She wants to help lift the container out, and is probably in the best physical shape to do so, but she stays rooted to the spot. Her hand reaches for Yi-Min’s, looking for strength and grounding in that connection with her friend.

Shaw has been here before. He's heard the explosion, the vertigo of crashing, glass shattering, screeching metal and panicked wails. The muffled reverberations. It all feels like he's under water again, the creeping chill of the Reaper's icy cold fingers walking on his skin, seeking his heart, gripping his insides. He understands there was an accident. He's been here before.

Under the unrelenting march of crucial seconds passing, Shaw struggles with every blink to maintain consciousness. The choking tube is not unlike the freezing river in his memory, pressing the air away slowly, as the rest of him feels like floating, drifting away into the star-pocked black.

He's been here before.

But they haven't. The shouting and voices strike him back awake with familiarity. Kimiko's strangled cries, followed by… Eanqa'? Dark eyes swivel away from the skies to his wife's scarred face twisted with distress. He hated to see her like that. He wants to speak, but finds himself unable to. A rough choke is all he can answer her with, but his eyes blink again in indication he's awake. He heard her. Then his gaze moves to Asi when the other woman steps in to look at him. As the technopath's hands reach up towards him, Shaw winces, tenses, and again regrets pour out as pain and blood and tears accompany the extubation.

He's too weak to scream as the metal debris moves under Isa's wrenching. The sound that initially comes out of him is a choked sob, a thin whine through the sensation of fire mixing with the chill of blood loss. But his airway is clear again, and vocal chords freed from restriction, Shaw finds his voice, and strength enough to reach out for Isa's arm with paled fingers. "Inta hayati, Eanqa',1" he says, whisper soft.

There is nothing in Yi-Min's face that conveys any kind of satisfactory response to Zachery's bewilderment— nothing, at least, aside from the moment of anguish that stems from Nova's apparent decision to press-gang a total stranger's shoulder joint into submission.

It's a gesture that rips a gasp out of Yi-Min's throat: pain and surprise bundled coldly together. Despite herself, she falters against Nicole's side like a fawn with lost footing, but without any additional sound. From her sudden paleness and the look in her eyes, it's clear that she's internalizing the rest of the resulting pain.

Afterwards, Yi-Min aims a clear if very shaky nod of gratitude towards Nova, experimentally prodding at her own shoulder as she works to steady herself. "Stay with me," she manages to murmur out to Nicole as she scans her over, winding her friend's fingers tightly into her own, as much to keep the other woman from inadvertently getting away as for the shared emotional comfort. She is watching Shaw, at least as much as anybody else is right now, but her friend right next to her takes immediate priority.

“Mom.” Fear and urgency and confusion mingle together. It adds weight and tension to Jac's tone. She doesn't understand the questions, or Daphne’s recognition of Gillian, or the plane wreck. Or any of it. And for all of the unknowns she sinks onto the ground, all the strength and stubborn will drained or burned away. It's all suddenly too much to comprehend and carry anymore.

But she isn't hurt. Not terribly, maybe. Her hands throb in time with her pulse throughout the angry lacerations, and she’ll know the protests of her muscles soon enough. There's likely people in worse shape. The girl doesn't look toward the plane to find out how much worse things are. Maybe she's a little afraid that the explosion turned the shadowed people to ash and worse.

Something far worse is missing from her, though. Like a severed limb, the teen remembers it being there, should be able to feel it and feel with it. But it's just gone. A slithering dread finds her instead, settling in with the sudden emptiness and absence like a long lost friend.

“I'm okay.” She doesn't exactly sound it, and her eyes wander to Daphne to search for a confirmation. They're both breathing and mostly in one piece. Jac’s throat tightens around a lump of despair. She huffs a breath, forces her head to rock with a nod, and begins to physically gather herself together to stand.

The tall blond woman listens to Abby talk, lips pressed together and looking around their surroundings in a bit of a doe-eyed daze, but she nods when the nurse practitioner gives her a task. Something to focus on. A purpose. Gabriella pushes a strand of her hair out of her eyes, leaving another streak of blood on one high cheekbone, before she takes off to do as told, long legs carrying her across the wreckage swiftly.

It’s the group of Gillian, Jac and Daphne she reaches first, turning to point out where Abby and Kaylee sit. “Medic,” she says simply, noting Daphne still on the ground even the teenager rises. Gabby continues her jog toward Nicole, Yi-Min, and the others to tell them the same.

“I’m not hurt but I can’t…” Daphne nearly growls, frustrated as she uses her hands to move her uncooperative legs out of the bent positions they’ve sprawled in, “I can’t walk. Not without my ability.”

It’s painful to say, and her eyes narrow with the awareness that, yet again, she’s without her speed. And surrounded by other Americans.

“It’s okay. Help the others. I can crawl,” Daphne says, looking at Gillian, then Jac, and then over her shoulder to where others still need help. “If you see any crutches without anyone’s name on them, though, I won’t say no to that.”

“The medic’s over there,” Gabriella calls out to Faulkner where he lends his strength and balance to Kimiko. She falters when she sees the rescue crew around Shaw, her hazel eyes widening and the color draining from her face. The blood streaks look more livid against the wan background.

“Help them,” Nova directs, reaching to take the older woman by the shoulders and steering to turn Gabby back around. Nova points out Faulkner and Kimiko. “We don’t need you fainting and needing dragged out of the way, okay?”

The taller woman nods and jogs back to Faulkner and Kimiko to lend the woman support from the other side. Her eyes widen at the sight of Kimiko’s amputations, but she doesn’t look like she’s about to pass out anymore. At least not immediately. “I got her, if you want to help the others,” she manages quietly to Faulkner. Despite her pallor, her tall, lean form seems strong, athletic. So long as she doesn’t pass out.

Moving away from Gabby, Nova returns her attention to Asi, Isa, and Shaw, arriving just behind Zachery and listening to his words. “Let me know how I can help,” she says softly, looking from Asi to Zachery for guidance. To Shaw and Isa, she offers a small, sympathetic smile. It’s meant to be reassuring, but it probably fails.

“We’re okay, Jac,” Gillian offers reassurances, though it definitely doesn’t have a lot of confidence behind it. They weren’t physically hurt, at least. Not much. Miraculous scrapes and bruises here. There’s blood on her forehead, but forehead wounds always bled more than one would expect. It wasn’t in her eyes and she wasn’t experiencing any signs of actual concussion for the moment. From the way she looks at Jac, she’s just glad that the girl is okay. It’s the biggest relief she can feel, to the point where she almost doesn’t care that she can’t sense the knot in the back of her head or the little bursts of energy that should be in many of these people.

Without their abilities. When Daphne says it, she nods slowly, before glancing at Jac again for a moment. “Maybe we’re all negated,” she offers in her raspy voice, staying kneeled by the woman who couldn’t walk. “Go see to people who are hurt worse. We’re good here,” she adds to Abby and the rest, knowing that there are people who need the medics much more.

Then she looks back at the woman on the ground, offering her a small smile, “Even if we can’t find a crutch, I think we can carry you as long as we need to.”

Asi is taking off to help others, Brynn looking for direction. Gabriella off to do what was asked. "Get Kaylee further away. Find us a place just a little further away to sit, safe distance from the plane in case things go boom." Abby looks to Kaylee. "We'll figure this out. We've suffered worse. I'm going to see about getting others out and help since I'm mobile." Powers negated. Would make sense. "Head for the edge of the field or close to. But not away where it's too dark. We need the light of the wreckage." Abby frowns then. Barring Brynn or Kaylee stopping her then, she's navigating through the wreckage to see about anyone else who might need help getting out, or unconscious and in need of moving.

Storm-cloud gray eyes are intent on Abby's face when the medic speaks, and Brynn has to take a moment to process what's being said. And then she nods a little bit. She has no idea who else is here right now, not able to look around as everything is happening. There's fire everywhere, there's people everywhere. Nothing is exactly registering with the deaf teen except that the two people she knows who are here — one is hurt and one is helping others who are hurt. She puts her fingers to Kaylee's chin and signs, Hold on to me. She slides her arm under Kaylee's because the blonde is taller than she is and pulls her to her feet. The blank expression in Kaylee's gaze scares her but right now… like so many other times in her young life… there's no time to be scared. There is only time to do what she can to help. Getting Kaylee out of the burning wreckage to a safer space is what she's been told to do, and she can do that.

Only as they get moving does Brynn catch a glimpse of where Aunt Gilly as she glances over her shoulder to see where Abby is going. Is that Mouse??! The smoke wafts past, obscuring what she can see. With both her hands full, though, she can't draw the older woman's attention and the smoke is starting to get too much for her anyway. So, hacking painfully through a throat already abraded by the breathing tube, Brynn steers Aunt Kaylee carefully out of the wreckage as far as she can, ignoring her own limp — the aches and pains and such won't really register until the adrenaline is gone, she knows.

There is the barest nod to what is said by Abby, only just enough that it doesn’t send her head swimming again. They were in a wreck…. what type wasn’t clear. Eyes narrow as she tries to focus past the others, only to have her attention pulled back to Brynn at the touch. There is a confused blink as fingers move, but she understands after a moment.

At least Kaylee’s legs work, it’s just her ability to stand and walk a straight line. Was this what it was like to be drunk? Kaylee couldn’t remember, but she imagined it was.

With Brynn’s help, the telepath is on her feet. After a moment, to keep whatever was in her stomach down, Kaylee lets the young woman guide her. So far, she has no idea who all is there or even what happened. All she knows is there was burning wreckage around them and she had a fierce headache.

As they move out of the danger zone, Kaylee gives a tap of her hand to a shoulder and signs Thank you as best she can with one hand. Offering a faint, tear-streaked smile.

Scowling Beauty's back, wants to talk to Faulkner later. Or maybe Nakamura. Whichever. He just nods once; he doesn't have the breath to waste words talking about a later that he might not ever make it to, given that he's currently stuck in a now that looks like the sum of his childhood nightmares.

Then she's off, presumably to go work on Shaw. That… might actually be the right choice, come to that, because it's looking like the other able-bodied — or mostly able-bodied — survivors are starting to sort themselves out. That's great. It would be better still if they were sorting themselves out while leaving this hellhole before they all broil.

The blonde woman directing him to the medic gets a grunt… then, a moment later, she's back. He glances up at her face and finds that she looks a bit paler, her eyes a bit wider; apparently she hadn't liked what she'd seen up there. The offer to help with Nakamura gets a split second's consideration, followed by a brisk nod. "Go," he says, once she's taken over bearing Nakamura's weight; the word is hoarse with strain, but there is gratitude there nevertheless.

Then Faulkner is off, heading back in. Back towards where Shaw lays, entombed in his bloody coffin. Drawing close is difficult — seeing a friend in this shape weakens the fury that is the biggest part of what's keeping him upright right now — but as he steps closer to the coffin he musters a rictus of a smile in an effort to provide some measure of reassurance to Shaw. His gaze swiftly moves onwards, though — to Isa, to Scowling Beauty, to Doctor Necromancer. God, Faulkner actually hopes he's able to live up to that nickname, and drag Shaw back from death's door.

"Do you need help?" he asks hoarsely.

It’s a precarious question, what Faulkner asks. How to move a dying man, impaled by a length of steel, with no superhuman abilities. The answer isn’t a simple one, nor is it comforting. But everyone gathered around Shaw’s casketed form know what the answer has to be.

We all lift together.

It starts with Asi, arms hooked under Shaw’s shoulders. A steady look from her to Faulkner, fingers curled around his calves just below his knees. Isa slides her arms under Shaw’s back, feeling the tacky warmth of the blood collected in the bottom of the ACTS unit. Abby’s approach comes with a small hiss of breath, her hand at Shaw’s stomach, the other steadying the metal bar going through his torso. Lastly, small, strong hands cradling the back of Shaw’s head, Nova making eye contact with Faulkner.


Fire creeps toward broken fuel lines, crackling and popping in the night.


With the distant sound of helicopters on the horizon.


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