The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice


belinda_icon.gif cat_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice
Synopsis Holding up their end of the bargain with Harlow, the Ferry and associates assent to rescue Belinda Aniston from the jaws of the Department of Homeland Security.
Date November 9, 2009

Roosevelt IslandChandra Suresh Memorial Center for Evolved Education

The second floor is an idiosyncratic combination of small medical center and psychiatric hospital. In the back of the building are several lab rooms, equipped with everything from blood-test equipment to an MRI; despite its size, the facility is competitive in a features sense with many larger and more mainstream hospitals. The core is dominated by a multipurpose room, usually serving as a cafeteria but sometimes transformed into a game hall or ad-hoc movie theater; on either side of it are the two permanently-staffed nurse stations, the balcony at the front offering a view of Roosevelt Island and the opportunity for plenty of sunlight.

One wing of this floor has been given over to a medium-term ward, intended to house medical or psychiatric patients for only a few days, perhaps a couple of weeks at most. Most rooms are double-occupancy, particularly for medical patients, but in some cases they may be allocated as singles; all have large exterior windows and are surprisingly not painted in generic institutional shades. Rather, they each have their own personal theme, from ascetic to modern, oceanic blues to autumn reds and browns. Rooms are allocated primarily by what environment a patient feels comfortable in. The opposite wing is the Suresh Center's juvenile ward, designated for the care of Evolved children and teenagers coming to terms with their abilities. It has its own rec room, several single-occupancy rooms, and at the end of the hall a larger shared room for siblings, friends, and children who do better in company. As for the adult ward, the decor is engaging and inviting rather than blandly uniform.

Visitors are required to check in at one of the stations before going anywhere else on this floor, and in some cases may be provided with an escort for the duration of their visit.

Ting-ting-ting. That's the elevator going up and down with the elevated lunch-time traffic, lighting up numbers above Doctor Egers' bald dome. The secretary twittering behind him has been effectively tuned out. She says she's rescheduled his dentist appointment since Dr. Egers had come to work instead, having forgotten to cancel the encounter with his oral hygienist, an oversight that, the secretary thought, was totally empathizable in part because oral hygiene is a pain in the mouth!!1!one and exorbitantly-priced besides, and in part because these Homeland Security guys are— she flips a flattened hand up to shade her painted mouth, fishies a furtive sidelong— totally creepy.

And somewhat more important, and impatient, than the application of flouride and motorized brush heads.

She's about as subtle as a jackhammer. Gabriel doesn't really read lips, but he can tell he's being talked about from all the way over here. In a moment of hilarious irony, Special Agent Johnson lifts his brows at the serial-killer, sidelong.

Fortunately, not all of her chatter is hysterical filler, however, and the Aniston girl's processing is going rapid-fire. Just sign there, and there, and her pointing finger, lacquered and slender, is highly and ideally precise for the number of letters that Egers is obliged to lay down to finalize the discharge in loopy Biro print. Down the hall to his left, they are already helping the plump, sickly girl onto her gurney, the two orderlies with their chilling backdrop of two black-suit agents, watching the afternoon shift change of the Suresh Memorial Center's security personnel with the looming contempt of petrified trees over the flat of a sterile desert ruin.

By and large, the security personnel regard them as same. It's an uneasy brotherhood, those in the business of enforcing safety around what is currently regarded the more powerful genetic subcategory of human beings, lately. Iverson— magnetokinetic Iverson, you know the one, spends occasional Sundays helping to divert RPGs and stop Humanis First! operatives from caving his coworkers' heads in— thanks Leonard for taking over his morning shift as soon as he comes in to relieve him, and is then eager to exchange gossip.

He nods toward the plateglas doors as they wheel Belinda out. They say that the one on the left, the suit with the brown shoes, the fat one? He's the telepath. Other one's a negator, and I saw their driver walk through the dashboard. They think of us as blunt trauma muscleheads. A beat. Iverson grins, suddenly, shakes his head. I guess they aren't all wrong about that. It's only funny because it's true. Stereotypes perpetuate even among the Evolved; there's no such thing as a typical mutant, not yet.

Iverson starts to ask where Leonard thinks they're going to take the poor girl, but cuts himself off, shakes his head. It's the telekinetic's afternoon off, after all, and one need not ruin it with talk of the government and what the government's bound to do with a girl who kills too easy. Better to leave the politics to the men and women who sign their weekly checks and paid for the marble in the lobby and the state-of-the-art installations in the classroom where psionics go to learn. "See you tomorrow."

A spun-penny flicker of shadow outside Belinda's room. A bird alights to watch her leave it. Two stories below its fanning tailfeathers, a technician finishes packing the portable defribillator's compact shape into the armored van's boxy passenger space.

There's no delicate way of describing the fact that Parkman's body feels heavy around Gabriel. They share height if not physique, but it's not actually insulting that he feels the need to take a handkerchief out from his pocket and mop at his brow with it, where sweat is beginning to line above his eyebrows. It's the catch of this power, the difference in shape whether it be more or less. He's glad the process is quick, though he doesn't appear sickly - warm, perhaps, and as impatient as a high up Homeland Security agent might be as he stands within the hallway, and waits.

His eyes tick over towards where Iverson is murmuring to the telekine, the former of which chance-meeting Gabriel's glance and he puts what he hopes is a Parkmannish brief smile on his face before sheepishly letting his gaze drop to the floor, as much as his shoulders are in a stiff horizon of perceived authority. He doesn't have telepathy, but it could do well to pretend he does. A DHS badge flashes on his belt.

And then there's the girl, and Gabriel's attention lands on her for the second time since she's emerged with a distant curiousity, intent in focus, hawk-like. Does she die because she can't work her ability properly, or is that truly inherent?

Inquiring minds. He brings a hand up to scratch his cleanly shaven jaw of his changed pace, and his foot falls move towards the gurney to walk her out, putting on a kind smile towards Belinda, if appropriate stiff for a man who is apparently going to whisk here away somewhere more secure. "We about good to go?" he asks of the orderlies, a glance spared to Leonard.

"I am a blunt trauma musclehead," Leo says, easily, in answer to Iverson's murmur. "It's true, why deny it?" He's happily playing that role, though really, it is gilding the lily. Thankfully it's Gabriel and not the actual Matt, or the jig'd be up in the proverbial New York minute. He's no longer the one on duty, so it's up to Iverson to assent or deny - Leo's already ghosting off, presumably to change as fast as he can, and find the bike he's managed to borrow. All the better to follow you with, my dear.

The orderlies are ready to go. If Belinda isn't ready to go— well, consent's an increasingly awkward subject around these parts, in these times anyway. Her mumbled inquiries after her mother are met with fretful words of comfort, smiles more plastic than the one that 'Matt Parkman' suddenly comes forward to offer.

The look the girl tries to fix him with wobbles like a marble in a bowl, lubricated by the arcane combination of fluids that have been IVed into her in the past weeks. There's no wig seated on her head here, no thought for a young woman's vanity or sensiblities, only a shower cap pulled down over her ears and the glimmer of moisture in her eyes as she squeezes them shut. A tiny sigh mushrooms out of her mouth and she lies still.

"Off we go." The orderly looks up at Gabriel, offers a smile with altogether too many teeth in it. Wheels click, the thin bread-white wedge of the mattress scrunches and jostles. Johnson leads the way past the uniformed magnetokinetic in the hallway, does not deign to dignify his stare with a glance, and clops into the elevator on shined shoes. He's a reedily thin man, sallow-skinned, professionally-trained and ergo subtle about his disdain for Gabriel's huffy-puffy problems, and seems out-of-place when they finally step into the inordinate sunshine.

Blue skies flash by in the windows, children on the sidewalks and orange clinging to the trees that punctuate the roadway. The gurney folds in, easy as you like. Even the back of the van has windows, but Belinda doesn't look, keeps her eyes shuttered against the invasion of a picturesque autumn and, though inadvertently, Peyton's ability as well.

The driver spends ten, fifteen minutes glancing up and frowning at the rearview, the lone biker in it, before settling his feathers with the memory that they're on a fucking island; of course the scarcity of routes in and out of it tends to merge the traffic. The van is fluidly agile in his hands, seamlessly changes gears as they roll off the bridge and into Astoria. White buildings, deli storefronts, worn bricking, fire escapes squiggling zig-zag toward cotton skein clouds, pretty during the day, but even then— even now, research coyly conducted by others as tactically prudent as the man behind the wheel, indicated that the average police response time is no less than fifteen minutes. Even beyond the demarcations of Manhattan Island, New York is not what it used to be. There's graffiti encrusted like dirt.

Queens — Astoria

Kind of shabby.

"He's in place. They're putting her in a gurney," murmurs Peyton to the others waiting to ambush the transport that will carry Belinda Aniston to a supposedly more secure location — but instead, into their hands. Or so the plan goes. Peyton's eyes are dilated, wide and seemingly unfocused — she would look like a blind person to anyone who didn't know that she was seeing through another's eyes. In this case, Belinda's. "She's kinda flopping around, and Gabriel's there, in that other guy's body." But then her vision goes dark, and her eyes return to her own surroundings for a moment. "She's closed her eyes — either they drugged her or she's asleep or something," she says quietly, and then her pupils stretch out again, swallowing up the ring of brown iris as she takes on Sylar's perspective instead.

The baby doll in the back shifts sluggish in her gurney to the rocking motions of the vehicle crossing over to Queens. Gabriel pays her no mind, having clambered into the passenger side and currently isn't taking up smalltalk with the driver whatsoever, who may have tried it at one point and gotten stony silence instead. Currently, Matt Parkman is watching the skies out either window, and then, briefly, the rearview mirror.

It is, after all, an island, and the industrious biker behind them is but a normal figment of the landscape. All the same, Gabriel makes a show of his back tensing, gripping the corner of his seat enough to heave himself to twist enough as if perhaps he'd be able to see better. "Hey.

"Hey," he says, again, looking towards the driver. His voice has a small amount of bark in it. "Take a left here. Now. We're being followed."

They're a well oiled machine, and this is Parkman's show. There isn't a lot of question or hesitation for the telepath, or even time thanks to Gabriel's careful measurement of distance, and so Leonard gets to watch the vehicle swing around the corner that is not on its intended route - but it's certainly on their intended route, and by their, that refers to the shapeshifter, the telekine, and the three maidens beneath the bridge that cruise towards.

Happily, he keeps all his feathers number for just such occasions. Leo doesn't break abruptly to follow. He was told this is how it'd go….and happily, at least this first part is going as it should. The bike doesn't break hard to follow. It'd be too much of a give away - he shoots on past, as if following the normal flow of traffic. Nothing to see here, kids. And signals, over the radio, "Heading towards you." There's an unmistakable note of satisfaction.

There is a bridge in Queens held aloft by steel supports covered in withered ivy, its branches caked with frost. Derelict for many years, no traffic has passed over it since the late eighties, but no city ordinance prevents traffic from passing under — and under is exactly where Peyton Whitney, Catherine Chesterfield and Eileen Ruskin are waiting for the armoured van to come into view.
Bundled in a heavy woolen coat, a cashmere headscarf to protect her hair and ears from the drizzle, the smallest of the three stands with her back to the wall, pale eyes focused on the stretch of street that lies beyond the bridge's yawning arch with an intensity that rivals the glare of the sunlight glancing silver off the rain-slick pavement.

Although Eileen trusts Gabriel utterly, any number of things could go wrong. In her experience, the degree of surgical precision required for success is directly proportional to the chance of failure.

"Has he made the adjustments to their route?" she asks Peyton in a terse voice tight with worry.

Standing amid the trio of women, in black garb of a military type, Cat has her face covered. She listens to the report Peyton makes, and the call from Leonard over radio, then lets a brief glance slide toward the others when Eileen asks her question. She is, as she is wont to do by simple virtue of being awake, observing and recording. Her wrist is lifted toward her mouth a few seconds later. "ETA?" she asks.

Then Doctor Chesterfield adjusts items she's carrying on her person and focuses into the direction things are expected to come from. "Showtime approaches."

One-thirty in the afternoon and the winter sun's soaked an oblique trajectory of shadow out of the rundown bridge, blanking out the view ahead with a brief black bar. The driver doesn't like it, but he's distracted by agreement, "That fucker was following us," squaring a look of mingled comraderie and approval on 'Parkman.' A counterweight to taut nervousness. The natural progression of inquiry to follow that revelation is why someone would be following them, and when Leonard peels away, his eyes jerk rapid-fire sacadiccally at the rearview, lancing the roadway with sharp suspicion and the certain conviction that they'll pick up another tail if they aren't careful.

"Calm down," says the gaunt man over Gabriel's shoulder. His hollowed features swerve into view in the thin slice of mirror, brow furrowed, fingers gripping the cushioned chair behind the supposed telepath's neck. Annoyance ridges his brows down. He shakes his head, retracts into the back sinuous as a moray eel, black shoes navigating neatly around the gurney's locked legs. "After this bridge, make a left," he calls back. "Get back on the main road. He can follow us back to headquarters if he wants; her airlift's tomorrow and she can stay on-grid until then."

Peyton stands a little behind the others, as she's blind to her surroundings as long as she is seeing through Sylar's eyes. "They just made the left to put them on our path," she says softly, "Leonard's probably looping around, he went straight like he was supposed to. They're heading this way — I can see our bridge in the distance. Less than a minute." Her voice trembles a touch. She's wearing a thick coat like the others, and underneath, thanks to Cardinal, she wears a bulletproof vest just in case things go wrong — and how very wrong they could go. She's fully aware of that, but she has no false delusions that she has no choice — Harlow knows where she lives. If they don't do this, it would be her that has to pay the price, or so Peyton assumes. "I'm dropping out of his eyes," she adds, and her pupils constrict until the brown of her eyes can be seen once more.

Gabriel is also wearing a bullet proof vest beneath his nice suit, its fit neither poor nor remarkable. He remains on alert, and more or less ignores the orders of the man behind him. He has a gun, too, but his hands stay away from it as light passes across the windshield, and then the shadow of the bridge itself as the truck rumbles at its usual speed limit beneath its cover. He doesn't make an order, this time, not to contradict the man behind him or to encourage the driver. Instead, he simply concentrates.

At first there's nothing, the driver's muscles locking into the same position, jaw squared and his eyes flaring wide when a heart stopping (if not literally) paralysis makes a statue of his frame. Then, with the jerky movements of a toy soldier, his arms twist, and the vehicle swerves enough to get a startled yell from the other men in the back and the gurney to jerk against the straps holding it in place.

"What in God's name— ?"

…never gets finished as Parkman wrenches off his seatbeat and extends a hand out through the vehicle once it's come to a sudden stop of brakes where they'd planned, and a noise like a gunshot rings in their ears as the air ripples a few inches above Belinda's nose. Leo's biking up to the site has nothing to worry about as the concussive blasts peters out well before it could hit anyone following, but only after it's punched out the back of the truck, doors wrenched off its locks and slamming back on its hinges.

For once, the timing goes like a swiss watch. There's the hornet drone of the bike coming up from behind even as Gabriel makes his move….and then the bike's skittering off to one side even as Leo launches himself into the air. It's a rare moment of actual grace rather than brutal force, even as he risks flattening himself like a cartoon coyote if Gabriel doesn't get the doors open in time. Negator or no, sheer inertia carries him in, and right for the other HomeSec agent. He's in a mask. More accurately……neither ski mask nor balaclava, but an actual black bandana. Someone's been listening to too many old radio shows.

Eileen's footsteps carry her swiftly and purposefully past the passenger side window and toward the back of the open truck with a brief but appreciative glance at what she can see of Gabriel through the tinted pane. She kicks aside a screw along the way, sends it skittering across the cement with a tinny sound that possesses an almost musical quality like broken glass tinkling under her boots or the rustling of the autumn breeze in the ivy sprigs.

Pistol squeezed firmly in the seat of one leather-clad hand, the other closes fingers around the battered doors as she hauls herself up into the van after Leonard, prepared to cover him as necessary.

Body armor is also a standard thing for Operational Cat, hidden under her clothing, a thing made available to Peyton as well but not needed thanks to Mr. Redbird's largesse. She goes into motion herself when the vehicle arrives with doors open and stops. A gesture is made for Peyton to follow and wait just outside the opening.

One hand brandishes her silenced pistol, the other a knife sufficient for slicing through straps, and into the transport the panmnesiac goes. Her first intention is to see what support is needed within, then to deal with whatever may restrain Belinda so they can extract her from captivity.

The negator is a little dude. Leonard is kind of a big dude. The combination, plus flying motorcycle tackle, knocks the weedy agent hard into the wall, cracking his breath out of him, boots kicking and scrabbling on the corrugated metal of the floor until his knee knocks ungainly into the bottom rail of Belinda's gurney. If, you know, the concussive battering ram that had smashed the doors hard enough to jerk the whole van backward three inches hadn't been enough to get her attention earlier, the skirmish going on below her cot undoubtedly does.

She shrieks, her eyes suddenly huge in her round dough-white face. Her fingers scrabble at the belts that keep her safe on the bed, but trimmed fingernails and enervated muscles get between her and finding purchase. She squeaks a curse, lips thick, regards the raven-haired girl who abruptly clacks up after the brawling men with distinct terror. "Please don't hurt me, please d-don't—" Her hands look like starfish, splayed in surrender.

Bony fingers close on Leonard's throat. It isn't a deliberately malicious gesture, oddly enough: just there's a squashed bug of an older man trying to peel the telekinetic loose, since he hurts a lot in the process of respiration. What follows, however, whether in tandem wiht skin contact or proximity, is as recognizable a defense mechanism as walking into Norton Trask's butterfly net, a deadening of a sixth sense that is so subtle it was barely there to begin with. There's a hacking grunt of warning.

The driver requires no such warning, of course. The magnificent Sylar just took over his body. Shock's over in a half-second flat, a reasonable caliber of training taking over with a switch-flip of thought that lies a few inches beyond the sphere of Gabriel's control: he goes intangible. Falls through the driver's seat with a stringy banjo shriek of energy, vanishing into the floor below.

Two seconds, maybe three, enough time for recovery and to roll-scrabble-crawl a few feet over. A bullet dents the floor below where Matt Parkman's feet had set, and a second twangs through.

Swallowing audibly at that gesture from Cat, Peyton follows, staying a little behind the other woman until she hears Belinda shrieking. Peyton has a knife too, and goes to cut Belinda's restraints, slowed by her fear that she might cut herself and Belinda in the process. Her only other weapon is a taser, chosen from the cache as the least likely to kill herself or any of her comrades accidentally.

The clairvoyant lets her face fill Belinda's vision, putting one finger to her lips — this is where she is the most helpful, being the one person that Belinda has seen before. "We're here to help you," she whispers. "Try not to get upset. Don't … do anything." Of course, Peyton means don't use her very volatile power and kill them all while they're trying to save her life. That would be bad form.

Belinda retrieval is not Gabriel's immediate concern. Getting not shot is. At the sound of the bullet connecting against the metal beneath his feet, he's already pushing open the door by the time the second one is phasing through the metal. It hits only black, smokey tendrils, because Gabriel can play this game too, and a sizeable swatch of darkness spills out onto the concrete, zips around to hug the still tire in a turn as he circles fast with all the speed of a bird's shadow around the truck, as if gauging out the prey or foe beneath the vehicle before taking action. Up above, all sounds like it's going, you know—

He doesn't need his power to do damage. Happily. Leo was half-prepared for this, really - it turns into a desperate wrestling match on the floor, both of them rolling over and over like pigs tussling in mud. Not a lot of grace involved. But at least he isn't adding to the number of bullets flying.

You know the scene from Old Yeller where the dog is defending his people from a rabid wolf and the gangly farm boy can't get a clean shot with his rifle? Eileen might be remembering the movie wrong — she's only seen it once, in black-and-white and dubbed by the Russians during her stay in Moscow — but she feels as though she's in a similar situation right now. The only difference is that she doesn't have any emotional investments in either of the two shapes choking and rolling around on the floor of the van with their limbs entangled. The expression on her face is a great deal more exasperated too, but— details.

She keeps her pistol trained on the scuffle, waiting for an opening into which she can squeeze off a bullet without hitting Leonard. It isn't easy. It might not even be feasible.

Seeing there isn't a clean shot, and with Eileen covering that angle anyway, Cat busies herself with working to free Belinda from that gurney. The knife makes quick work of straps, then she glances back at the scuffle between two men. Eyes go from that to Peyton, hoping to make eye contact as she gestures first at the woman's taser, then indicates with a swift move of her head she should give it to Eileen.

It's Cat's hope they'll understand her intentions, she chooses not to speak lest anyone later be able to identify her by voice.

Recognition isn't instantaneous, but when it comes Belinda's features are flooded with a shocked sort of unmistakable relief. Not because she knows Peyton, or has, you know, any experiences with her in the capacity she has served Shard, the Ferry, or any other pertinent gun-toting mutant parties. Freed, she sits up, only to shrink again, burrowing shakily into the space under Peyton's arm, cringing from proximity to the various firearms being pointed and— and—

Those are gunshots, aren't they? "Oh my God," the girl squawks, pulling the shower cap off her head for lack of hair to grip in dismay. "I don't have shoes—"

Diminutive size lends the older man a margin of benefit, if not necessarily advantage: arms bunched uncomfortably in the grip of Leonard's fingers, he manages to get a leg up, wedge a foot into the narrow space between his body and the scrabbling enormity of the telekinetic, in time to deliver a brusque shove. There isn't as much strength to it as he fucking wishes there was, but it's enough to clear a foot's gap between him and Leonard's crushing weight against his battered ribs, and that's enough to…

…give him a beautiful view of Eileen's firearm pointed at his face.

"Meh." Contrary to some consensus, a deft retort. Pink spit strings down his bottom lip, and he bulges a sepulchral fish-eye up at the Englishwoman. His beetle-black shoe stays parked on Leonard's shoulder, squeezed up against the side of his neck, engaging a steady pressure but no further kick delivered. "'S a mistake," he rasps liquidly. "You're making a mistake. You're killing a lot of people doing this. The Department of Homeland Security 's going to keep her safe."

In the meantime, one and a half feet below:

"That's not Parkman!" not the phaser's most helpful contribution to this exercise thus far, but he's working on— stuff. Sunk halfway into the dull black asphalt of the street, creepily abbreviated, looking more like a half-tarred dinosaur than a proper human being, the phaser is drawing the muzzle of his pistol down the bottom of the vehicle, trying in vain to guess where his comrade is without visibly betraying his position to the unexpected insurgents and simultaneously watching the corner of the van he heard the door open out of. "Johnson, do you read? What do they want?"

Johnson pulls his mouth wide around discolored teeth, stares steadily at the young woman at the other end of the semi-automatic. There's a disruption in the avian cacophony that normally presides the back of her mind, a dampening, faint. The agent turns the question on her, though his eyes flick at Catherine's profile, Peyton's ducked head; Belinda won't meet his eye. "I'm going to guess blood?"

"We'll get you shoes, we'll get you clothes, it's okay," murmurs Peyton, pulling the girl off the gurney to help her out. She then nods to Cat, and maneuvers, her center of gravity low and her head ducked, hoping that any bullets her way will connect with the armor she wears rather than the unprotected parts of her body. She stretches to offer her taser to Eileen, pressing it into her hands so that the other woman doesn't have to take her eyes off of the man she aims her gun at. Better for Eileen to blast the man — she's not ready to take such an active part in these activities just yet. She's also terrified she'll end up paralyzed, flopping around like a fish out of water, instead of her target.

In the meantime, one and a half feet below:

A phantom comes gusting beneath the truck, though it doesn't disturb air or even make a sound. Black and shapeless, it's a shadow given three dimensions, descending upon the half-sunken man beneath the street. At first, it only passes through him, Gabriel retreated to a fleeting sight of his insides he only half-expected, before it finds— ah. There.

The gunhand is wrapped around by the inky cloud, finding solidity via the metal of the gun and solid flesh that feels like it trails into nothing. The matrix of Gabriel's attenuated form sinks into the man's own, and he goes a sudden black, shape dissolving into the same cloud of indefinite darkness.
And then he changes back.

Everyone is busy! Which is just as well. Gabriel— not Parkman, all the better for scrabbling— claws his way out from the darker belly of the vehicle and into the shade of the bridge. He's gripping the phaser's pistol and his clothing hangs off him, ill-fitting as he gets to his feet. Well, the shoes are okay.

Leo freezes, for all the world like a puppy caught contrite in the act of ravaging a forbidden shoe. Gabriel's nickname, more apt than ever. He doesn't speak. It's against the ninja code. Rather, he struggles to detach himself from Johnson without making things worse, or just falling over. Well, there's still Jackson to deal with, presumably. Who is…..where?

Catherine does not speak for fear of being identified. Eileen, however, has no such compunctions. It helps that she's a wanted criminal whose involvement with the Vanguard ensures her face will be on wanted posters and in Interpol databases for many years to come. According the government, she's already lost her humanity — what else is left but her life? She takes the taser from Peyton in her free hand, thins her lips out into a facsimile of a smile directed at Johnson.

She drops down into a crouch beside the agent, beside Leonard. "You don't have to worry about lost lives," she murmurs in a voice meant just for the two of them, well below the threshold of Belinda's hearing. "Humanis First isn't interested in keeping her safe. We're interested in putting her down." This last statement is punctuated by the electric pop and fizzle of the taser as two barbed hooked imbed themselves square in the center of Johnson's chest and deliver one hundred thousand volts of power to his central nervous system.

It didn't play out quite the way Cat expected it might need to, that the wrestling of Leonard and the agent would continue to leave no open shot and thus make it necessary to taser both men. She watches briefly as the upper hand is gained, then with that business apparently handled turns her attention back to Peyton and Belinda. One of the girl's hands is reached for to start pulling her out of the vehicle, leaving Peyton to handle the other side.

Where is Special Agent Jackson? Why, young squire, the other DHS agent happens to be the reason for the gratuitous quantity of blood rolling out its viscous starburst lake berneath the van's suspended belly.

Agent Johnson might have had questions regarding Humanis First!'s recent tack of forming allegiances with Evolved to accomplish their goals given, you know— that doesn't make a powerful lot of sense, but he's abruptly rendered senseless himself before he can do more than knit his brow with consternation. Herky-jerky movement rifles briefly through his arms and legs, then they're slack, his breath glistening saliva on his splayed jaws, jacket flopped out on the floor to leave the butt of his weapon visible in its holster under arm.

Above Gabriel's baggily-clad frame, the sky is musical with seagulls, and the street behind is privvy to a brief screech of an approaching taxicab before its driver apparently thinks the better of it and abruptly U-turns across the solid line and scorches rubber in hasty exit. Belinda is shakey but eager to leave, her weight lily-soft and dense against Peyton and Cat; she squints like the sun is hurting her eyes, but actually, she's scanning deli and post office and apartment windows. They're all blank, dull from dust and seeming vacancy. She's naive enough to think that means no one is watching.

"Who are you people?"

The clairvoyant returns to the task of helping Belinda out, now that her taser has helped bring down one of the agents. Peyton pulls her tweed newsie cap off her own head to put it on Belinda's, then unwinds the scarf from her neck to add that to the other woman's body, hoping to give her some warmth in the walk from one vehicle to the other. There is a change of clothes for Belinda in the car — hospital gowns might stand out whenever they get her to wherever they're bringing her. Her mother provided her the correct sizes, and it was Peyton's job to go buy: jeans, boots, coat.

As for the question, Peyton glances at the younger girl and smiles, trying to evoke a confidence she herself doesn't feel. "We're… friends," she says quietly, glancing over at Cat — she doesn't know how much Belinda is supposed to know.

Gabriel scans his dark eyes over the people gathered, looking more towards the unconscious agents than the people within the immediate vicinity, and finally, his stare settles on the girl being cosied up by the woman who sees. Though out of all the people there, Gabriel doesn't stand out overmuch in a big that doesn't fit and serious eyebrows, the flat look fixed on Belinda can't be particularly comfortable for anyone.

Least of all himself. Jerky, he tracks his gaze down towards where thick red blood is seeping out from beneath the vehicle and, without much thought, a hand raise of Gabriel has it seeping back beneath the shadows, leaving only a dampness on the asphalt. Doesn't really matter, but still he announces without fanfare—

"I'm going to clean up." A scoping glance around all of them that finally settles on Eileen. "I'll catch up with you later." It's Belinda that gets the former serial killer's last glance, before he vanishes into that same dense, inky smoke, and flits under the vehicle. There's only some hesitation before it's sweeping out the other side, substantially larger than before, and disappearing around one of the massive concrete bridge pillars, leaving nothing behind but a thick puddle of viscous fluids that don't bear thinking about.

Leonard looks like a would-be highwayman, with that bandana. He still has it on, glancing keenly around them. But Beelzebub has departed in state, so Leo's left to contend only with the minor demons and demonesses, as it were. He's delighted to help them get to whatever vehicle Cat's brought, before retrieving his own bike.

Once everyone is out of the van, Johnson excluded, Eileen pulls the doors shut again and moves around the front of the vehicle to turn on the hazard lights. Gabriel will catch up with her later — or not. As she goes through the motions required to ensure they haven't left anything telling behind except for the testimony of the surviving Homeland Security agent, her brow knits an irritated expression at the memory of the last time he chose to take an ability from a corpse. How long had he stayed away, then?

Satisfied that the van isn't going to cause an accident in the shadow of the bridge, she slams closed the driver's side door, holsters her pistol and angles a look over her shoulder at Belinda's retreating shape and the two women helping her to the car that brought them here. Telling them to make sure that the Aniston girl makes it back to her mother in one piece is at this point unnecessary. Cat and Peyton are just as devoted to seeing this through as she is.

"We're taking you to your mother," Cat tacks on to Peyton's explanation of who they are as they escort her to the method of departure. Her tone isn't harsh, it's quite conversational. The statement is followed by a question, a thing she has been and is curious about. "What exactly happened when you manifested, Belinda?"

She doesn't look back; it's expected to her that Gabriel would make his own way from where they are, Leonard is with them, and Eileen she believes will be with them shortly if she chooses to be.

Wonderfully, Belinda's bare piggies connect with dry pavement. Which, being swarming with residual avian bacteria, tire tread, anything that may have washed out of the air or shaken loose from the bridge derelict above them, is not the most comforting of substances to entrust one's balance to, but it could be worse. It could be wet with things better left unmentioned, or Gabriel could still be here, radiating judgment and macabre curiosity.

She's going back to her mother, instead. Despite that they had always been a strange fit, she can't think of anybody she'd rather see, right now. "I don't kn-know," she answers, looking down at the pavement between her bare toes. Her feet don't seem flat enough to find adequate contact with the sun-warmed tarmac, tilted and tenuously balanced at precarious angles, or her balance has merely suffered in the past days.

Despite the rabid fervor with which Belinda's kept her wig seated for years, now, she's merely absentmindedly glad of the sun beating down on the naked curvature of her scalp. "I snuck into a bar. I was drunk, something… something happened with my schoolmate, and the lights broke, I heard a woman screaming at me to do something, then—" she squeezes a blink out of her eyes and her fingers wad sleeve fabric as her grip contacts in Peyton's arm. "Suddenly I was at the hospital. And no one could find my mom. I gave them her phone number, but…

"I think," but whatever she thinks begs to not be voiced aloud. The van doors clap shut behind her, and a body slides a coarse frictive inch before its movement turns silent, greased by Gabriel's preternatural gift. The girl falls dully silent, keeps feebly apace of the operatives around her, notices when the ground cools in the shadow of the waiting car.

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