The Sun Will Rise, Part I


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Sun Will Rise
Synopsis When Richard Cardinal and Warren Ray have a shared dream…
Date March 16, 2011


In darkness, Richard Cardinal can still see.

In darkness, though, he can find some measure of comfort.

A violent eruption of light and electrical humming sents the power grid back on-line, though the red emergency lighting at the top of the command intellgence center indicates that the entire facility is on emergency backup power. As the lights flick on in the ceiling, Cardinal's vision blurs into faint after-images, murky haze of illumination clouding his vision.

"We're back online!" Shouts a young woman in a black uniform sitting at a computer terminal. "We're getting ALIA back online…" Projected screens illuminate along the curved, matte-gray walls. Projected flat images of light that show a satellite view of the United States on one screen and Europe on the other. Dozens of red dots litter the east and west coast of the US, with more circles across Europe and Japan.

«Command Intelligence Center online» a voice resonates with metallic timbre from hidden speakers around the room, a familiar woman's voice. «Satellite systems are reporting sixteen independant strikes on the east coast of the United States. Active targeting systems are offline, power distributions are unequal. I am currently operating on a minimal situational awareness. These images are nine minutes old. No surface video is presently available.»

Automatic doors slide pen to the command center, followed by the emergence of clomping boots and whirring hydraulics as a short woman in sleek black armor marked with an 00-01 strides in, along with three other officers in black uniform similar to the intelligence crew monitoring the computer banks and screens of data and images.

"Richard," comes crackling through the helmet, though with a tap of gloved fingers on one side, the helmet splits down the middle and flips backwards in sheathed segments forming a collar at the back of Claire Bennet's neck. Long, dark hair is bound back into a tight ponytail, her eyes fixed with wide-eyed horror at the screens. "What— the hell is going on?"

Also present in the command room, a bearded man with shaggy brown hair rises up from behind a computer terminal, soldering iron in one hand and unmelted lengths of solder held between his teeth. He spits, sending pieces of metal clattering to the floor. "That should fix the main circuit," he admits, running an articulated metal hand through his hair, turning to offer a look to the screens. "The red dots are… bad, aren't they?"

«Projections indicate unknown origin of continental strikes. Uncertain if ICBMs were conventional or nuclear weapons. National missile defense has been crippled, technopathic involvement a high statistical probability. We are currently running blind until I can get communications back up.»

"Warren," Claire turns to shout at the bearded machine empath, "half of the goddamned facility is taking on water. Get your goddamned drones up to surface level and seal the ruptures in the pipes!" Authoratative and in command, Claire turns to look to Cardinal, having vented her frustrations on someone beneath her office.

"Richard, tell… tell me that you have a plan?"

Some things are inevitable. The war, the violence leading up to it. The world was heading in this direction long before Richard assumed control of the Institute. But there is a more long-standing inevitability, one that Claire Bennet is counting on.

Richard Cardinal always has a plan.

Doesn't he?

Cardinal's thumb and forefinger press against his eyes, rubbing the spectral after-images away with a pressure that deepens the worry-lines that've carved their way into the flesh of his face before his hand falls, staring at the screens for a silent moment as everyone looks to him. His tongue slides over his teeth slowly, wetting dry lips, the apple of his throat rising and falling in a hard swallow.

"We need confirmation on just what hit us before I can do anything, Bennet," he states crisply, sitting up, "Get communications back up - I don't fucking care how, someone swim up to the surface stick an old satellite dish at the sky if that's what it takes… keep our systems isolated from the rest of the grid, but get one of our isolation terminals connected once communications are back on. I want to know who's behind this — is it them or somebody else. What extant technopaths are even capable of something on this scale— Malice? Behemoth? I need information, people!"

"Spiders, polyurethane webbing." Warren stands up straight, wearing his unbuttoned black suit with the collar of his Arkham Armor peeking out around his neck. He reaches up and pulls his black goggles down over his eyes with a few dozen little antenna sticking out of the sides, then thrusts his hands out for two small keyboards to extend from his sleeves. "I'm on it."

Rapid typing ensues, and spider drones are heading up to seal the ruptures.

«There are currently five technopaths in the world capable of an attack of this magnitude.»

As ALIA's voice reosnates thorugh the room, Claire begins to shrink back from her attack-dog posture, turning to look over at Warren as the scruffily-bearded engineer sends his mechanical proxies to begin sealing water line ruptures. The last thing anyone needs is the power plant overheating.

«Gitelman, Hana; Wireless. Current location and status unknown. Last known location: Tikrit, Iraq.»

The image of a weathered looking Israeli woman appears on one of the walls, dark hair unkempt and wild, a white scarf covering her mouth and neck. It is a surveillance photograph taken in a marketplace in a middle-eastern city, one of the last known recorded images of Hana Gitelman, and it's over ten years old.

«Reed, Taylor; Malice. Current location and status unknown. Last known location, People's Republic of China.»

Several images flash by for the technopath known as Malice, each of them a different person, no race or gender the same. Interspersed with the images are scenes of carnage and destruction, violent attacks on military installations, cities on fire, a shaky camera image of a warplane casting a shadow over a small Japanese village. When Messiah recruited Malice, their power grew exponentially.

«Tetsuyama, Asi; 0N1. Current location: Imperial Intelligence Beureau head. Current status: Active.»

A Japanese woman in her late thirties or early forties appears on screen, short hair cut into a bob, holding a mechanical hummingbird on the tip of one finger. It's from a UN Security Council meeting just three years ago. Her gaze is a haunting one, dark and distant, the kind that even in a still image seems to follow a viewer around the room.

«Alistair, Mallory; Malware. Current location: Unknown. Current status: Deceased, disembodied. Last known location: Maryland Science Center.»

A photograph of a wild-haied brunette woman appears on one of the projected screens, along with an arrest record and crime scene photographs showing several bodies scattered in the lobby of a large building, surrounded by spent shell casings and broken glass, covered in white sheets stained with blood.

<And… myself. I profess innocence.»

"This is really nice," Claire grates out thorugh clenched teeth, "but it's not doing me any good. I need to take a team topside and find out what the hell is going on in the city. Harmony's already down in the armory getting suited up, everyone else is out there somewhere." Waving one hand towards the door behind herself, Claire fixes Cardinal with a pointed stare, as if to wordlessly imply so is your son.

Focused elsewhere at the moment, Warren's attention is situated thorugh the eyes of his proxy drones, hundreds of highly articulated spiders capable of spinning a synthetic webbing designed to seal high pressure ruptures in water lines and ordinary maintenance around the facility. Through their cameras, Warren can see that the entire A-Ring of the facility has been badly damaged. Electricity has not been restored, water is flowing down in from the ceiling in steady streams, and bodies of men in white labcoats float in the water.

"Very funny, ALIA. This isn't Hana's style… not Mallory's, either," Cardinal's hands clasp before his face in a lean forward, his gaze on the screens for a long moment, "It could be either of the other two. Tesuyama seems the obvious choice, but Reed— "

The near-snarl of Claire's words tears him from his reverie; it's easy to lose one's self in the game, easy to just push away emotion and focus on the strategy of it all. Sometimes it's the only thing he can do to keep from screaming. He leans back, lips drawn back in a grimace, "I know, Claire. Alright. Get down there— you, Harmony, and anyone else we have that can survive the radiation of a nuclear strike. Bring a geiger counter with you, I need to know what the damage is."

"There are dead people, I'll have drones wrap them up when I'm done with the pipes." Warren states in his calculating tone, his fingers never slowing down, especially that silvery latex one. "The spiders are spreading through the area to search for fractures and scan for potential weaknesses in the pipes. If Elle is somewhere safe, I personally propose we send my current Terradrone prototypes to intercept the strike before they hit the ground. We'll have to deal with a decade or so of radiation, possibly mutants, but the ground will be safe."

"Once I get topside I'll ping the trackers, see if I can figure out where Luther is." Claire's already bounding back on her heels, depressing a button on her collar to send the segmented plates of her helmet snapping back up and over her head before they clasp shut around her face, a pair of illuminated sensors in the front glowing bright blue like eyes in the irregular light of the intelligence room.

A thumbs up is afforded to Cardinal as Claire backs up, but her pace falters when Warren brings up Elle again. She hesitates, turns her helmeted head away and lets out a sigh that sounds distorted thorugh her voice filter.

She turns around, finally, heading back through the open doors into the flickering light of the concrete corridor beyond. Not a moment after Claire leaves, the woman at the console who had rebooted the systems stands up, threading a lock of hair behind one ear as she looks up from the lower tier she's on to where Cardinal stands by a balcony rail.

"Sir?" She isn't familiar, a wiry blonde woman in her late twenties, dark brown eyes giving her a distinct and sharp appearance. "Mister Cardinal?" Her head tilts to the side, and her abrupt appearance next to Richard comes as she rests a hand on his shoulder, jerking him from side to side.

On one of the screens, Richard can see a picture perfect view of ruins, gutted skyscrapers and rubble-strewn streets. Elisabeth is walking through them, a bright and hot sun beating down on her. A crow perches on a bent piece of rebar sticking out from the ground, caws and spreads its wings.


There's a white flash on the horizon, she raises her hands to shield her eyes, then is blown apart like a stack of leaves.

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