There's No Place Like Home, Part II


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Also Featuring…


Scene Title There's No Place Like Home, Part II
Synopsis An opponent with nothing left to lose is the most dangerous opponent of all, and Gabriel Gray has officially lost everything.
Date May 15, 2019

Pinehearst Tower

One hundred and sixty seven floors tall, the Pinehearst Tower dominates the skyline of Manhattan. Constructed on the northern edge of the Unity National Park, this cylindrical glass tower shines with hundreds of green tinted windows, and the structural framing between the windows glitter with the reflective surface of solar paneling that covers the structure.

The Pinehearst Tower is a self-sufficient urban arcology, complete with its own power plant, solar paneling and wind turbines, several shopping centers, interior parks and hydroponic gardens and living quarters for roughly two thousand employees of the Pinehearst Company. This structure was designed as an archetype to showcase cutting-edge "green technology" and was crafted by a predominantly Evolved workforce, cutting the construction time and cost by leaps and bounds.

The tower extends nearly half its height into the ground in layers of subterranean laboratories and research facilities. The building serves as the national headquarters for the Pinehearst Company, formerly based out of Hamburg, Germany.

The ground floor and first sixty floors are open to the public, while the remaining floors are restricted to Pinehearst officials.

The skies overhead are a pitch black coloration, swaths of black cotton that drive fast in the heavens, illuminated by intermittent flashes of lightning and the loud rumble of approaching thunder. The rain has yet to come on the roof of Pinehearst Tower, overlooking the rainy skyline of New York City in full panorama. A handful of men in uniform stand gathered on the helipad, along with an old man with salt and pepper colored hair, holding an umbrella in one hand, eyes fixed on the pair of blondes flanking his black-clad soldiers.

"We're about to embark on a very special journey today, what you might call the single most important assignment you will have ever had in your lives." Arthur Petrelli takes a few steps across the rooftop towards the gathered team, a confident look on his weathered features. "Under the direction of Odessa Knutson, I expect all of you to be able to perform your duties with exemplary skill and prowess. Your mission you have been briefed on is of the utmost importance to the survival of our future."

In the small group of soldiers, Sergeant Stephen Canfield stands with his head high and shoulders squared, a proud look on his face as he listens to Arthur's speech. "Your mission is to ensure the survival of our future, the survival of your families, your dreams, and your hopes that we have built in this bright future from the ruins of our dark past." A rumble of thunder rolls overhead, carrying with it the first few drops of rain that begin to patter down on the rooftop.

As he moves up to the front of the group, with Odessa at his side, Arthur's lips curl into a confident smile. "It's time, Odessa." Arthur holds out a hand, motioning towards the soldiers, "Your sacrifice in traveling into a darker, and more barbaric time will not be forgotten. I wish you all Godspeed, and-"

There's no sound to accompany the plume of blood that sprays out of Arthur's throat and sends him collapsing to the ground, but the chop of a helicopter as a military vehicle descends from the low cloud cover causes a strong down-draft on the roof as the rain begins to fall more heavily. High over the tower, a man in a pilot's helmet and respirator mask chambers another round into an antique bolt-action sniper rifle, sending a spent shell spinning through the air.

Arthur struggles up to his knees on the ground, the hole in his neck already beginning to seal shut. The soldiers scramble, withdrawing their weapons while Sergeant Canfield rushes to find cover that simply doesn't exist on the roof of Pinehearst Tower. As Arthur begins to gain composure enough to freeze the time around him, another gunshot rings out, perforating his cheek as the bullet punches through his mouth, sending him back down to the ground.

The pilot hisses as he chambers another round, that was supposed to be a headshot. The helicopter pitches and yaws as the wind drives relentlessly around the roof of the tower, the storm abruptly growing worse after the gunshots as Arthur's injuries begin to seal up again. This time, before the masked pilot has a chance to chamber another round, time grinds down to a halt, freezing Elle and the soldiers in place, leaving Arthur and Odessa alone in a silent world where raindrops hang like snowflakes in the air, where the world is a snapshot frozen in time.

"Fedor." Arthur growls out, "No, that's impossible," his eyes level on the helicopter as electricity crackles around his fingertips, "I had him killed." Bolts of lightning arc and pop up one of Arthur's arms as he raises his hand towards the helicopter, fingers spreading as a blue glow comes over his palm. "Whoever this is," his eyes narrow as the lighting reaches its full charge, tiny arcs leaping out towards the droplets of water hanging in the air, "he's dead t-"

The wind is still. It was still. But a sudden flurry of air and friction makes Odessa's hair fall out of whatever configuration delicate fingers had put it into, makes Arthur's jacket flap with it. A dark— blur, and nothing scarier than that, suddenly bursts from the metal staircase that makes up the fire escape and streaks between both time-masters.

It cuts a tunnel through the still rain.

The blur comes to a halt between two soldiers pointing their guns in a different direction. No one should be moving, and yet Gabriel is, plastered with water as the other two that moves with different rules in this particular moment. There are a few things he could say, heroic lines, but he'd never been good at playing that role. Even now, it doesn't fit well. Actions for the wrong reasons. Armed with the knowledge of a terrorist and a seer, both of which had spun things the way that needed to put Gabriel on this rooftop.

And so he's here. And looks as thunderous as the weather.

On the rooftop, soldiers stand in neat lines, dressed for battle - all dressed like soldiers, save for their petite, blonde leader. Odessa is dressed in a yellow, long sleeved minidress of all things, a contrasting black stripe running along the inside and outside lengths of her arms, from shoulder down to hip. Her legs are clad in thick fleshtone leggings like one might see on a cheerleader. Some things will never change, regardless of status, position, and the passage of time - yellow shoes with black stiletto heels click on the ground as the commanding officer follows Arthur's stride. Gold painted lips twist upward in a self-satisfied smile. This is her operation. She can finally prove not to Arthur, but to the rest, why she's given the status she retains. Why she's the one who's been chosen to —

A fine spray of blood peppers the right side of the woman's face and her eyes grow wide. Above all other things, Odessa is a self-preservationist. She learned long ago that all her best efforts to protect her loved ones turn out to be exercises in futility. The only one worth looking out for is Number One, as they say. Rather than push Arthur to the ground and attempt to shield him from the continued fire, Odessa puts distance between the man and herself, head swiveling skyward to regard the helicopter. Mind reeling, it's hard to tell whether she stopped time first, or if Arthur beat her to it. But something doesn’t feel right. It makes her skin crawl and her bones ache dully.

It also loosens some of her platinum blonde hair from its ratted ponytail.

Odessa stares in confusion at the blur she cannot pause - now a man she knew and who knew her very well in their previous lives. "Sylar?!"

Of all the people Arthur imagined would be here in the end, Gabriel Gray — Sylar — is not one of them. As the hole in Arthur's cheek seals closed fully, he instead directs the hand channeling the pulsing waves of electricity towards the darkly clad man standing in direct defiance of him. "Gabriel," his tone is like a father talking down to a misbehaving child, "exactly what do you think you're doing here?" His head tilts to the side, one dark brow rising slowly.

"Don't do anything you'll regret, Gabriel. We all worked so very hard to give you back your life after the series of very regrettable choices you made." Lightning dances around Arthur's fingertips, sparking and sputtering as it contains a shimmering globe of high voltage between his fingers. He looks over to Odessa, then back to Gabriel, "You should go home, Gabriel. Go home to your wife, and forget whatever nonsense Helena Dean might have filled your head with."

Arthur Petrelli, for once, has absolutely no idea just how wrong he is.

It's enough to make Gabriel smile, a desperately sad grin as the blue lightning makes strange light. "Helena Dean wants to save the world," he says, voice raw, backing up with all the wariness of a wild animal ready for a scrap, his own hand going out, although nothing glows from it, nothing needs to. "She's not going to, we both know that. I would have helped you, Mr. Petrelli. I would have fought for it."

His voice is almost respectful, of all things, which does little to mask the unhinged quality it’s taken. Odessa might be familiar with it, and she gets a glance from Gabriel, his mouth drawing into a line before he swallows. "Been a change of plans. I can't let you stop them, from making it— "

Right again. Blue-green lasers leap from Gabriel's fingers and sear the ground between them. Suspended rain drops fizzle. "If you want to switch sides, Odessa," Gabriel says, a little louder, whimsical, focusing a predator's gaze on Arthur, "now's good. It wouldn't be the first time."

One of Odessa's hands shoots out and the blue green rays of light stop centimetres from the ground, but close enough to still put small pockmarks into the rooftop. "Don't do this, Sylar," Odessa begs softly. "We're just trying to protect ourselves! All of this that we've built!" Her free arm sweeps around almost wildly, her eyes just a little too wide. "Look at it! It's good, isn't it? Isn't it good?" As an afterthought, she stops flailing her arm vaguely at the world about them and stretches it toward Arthur. The crackling pauses, though certainly does not dissipate. There's conflict on her face. Loyalty to the first man to understand her - the one who later spared her life when the government called for her death - or loyalty to the man who claims to understand her now and offers her the respect she deserves? "Don't make me choose," she entreats once more in earnest.

"Oh please," Arthur says with a roll of his eyes, "here, let me make the decision for you," and the bolt of lightning finally discharges from his hand as it leaps in a violent arc towards Gabriel, crackling forks of the bolt of electricity rocketing outwards towards the water hanging in the air. The lightning doesn't strike Gabriel, though, but rather grounds out on an enormous sphere of water that quickly condenses from all of the raindrops suspended in the air around them in this frozen time. The sudden charge of so much lightning and water creates a blast of steam that erupts into a billowing cloud of fog. The break of concentration required to call forth the lightning, and the sudden eruption of steam knocks Arthur's focus away, causing the frozen time to come to an abrupt end.

Suddenly, the world around Elle changes from what she just recalled. Arthur is six feet away from a stain of his blood on the rooftop, steam explodes from between the old patriarch and a man silhouetted in the rolling waves of fog. As the steam pulls back and rain begins to fall again, the dark brows and glowering countenance of Gabriel Gray — no, to Elle Sylar — is revealed, raindrops hanging still in the air around him, at the command of his hydrokinesis.

The chop of the helicopter blades returns for Arthur and Gabriel, and the pilot in the vehicle begins to pull away, trying to get distance from the tower. Because this was totally not in the plan. The helicopter circles, then comes down to hang near the edge of the roof, unloading a handfull of people off of the chopper onto the higher platform above where Arthur and the others are. Briefly, Gabriel can make out Lucrezia Bennati among those getting off of the chopper.

Why can't any event that Elle is in attendance for actually go as planned, for once, without interlopers popping in to randomly save the day? Clearly it is a fate destined never to happen. Clearly. At least somebody had been wise enough to check the weather forecast before unbundling Arthur's rank-and-file out here into this mess. A large, plain black parasol is being gripped grimly by the electrokinetic, warding off the light drizzle as if it were a hailstorm of iron projectiles. As it is, she has been looking quite composed, serenely wary, and (more importantly) dry beneath that cover, and that is the rough stance she had been frozen in all during the epic time-battle.

When time unfreezes, that parasol is the first thing to spin back into movement, the stick settling with a thump against her shoulder as the blonde comes to a startled halt. It takes her back as much as the rest of the squad to see Sylar standing there out of nowhere. "Arthur!" she calls out reflexively when she sees the elderly man disappear into a column of fog, trying to get her bearings back with a rather long, angry blink.

Even as she does so, she wastes no time: seeing Sylar is enough, isn't it? Asking questions first is for sillyheads. Palm glowing in a brief surge of blue, she raises her arm to unleash a fierce, calculated bolt towards the former watchmaker from beneath the safety of her cover. Growl.

If Gabriel saves the day? It was by accident. No time to respond to Odessa, no hope, really, in terms of what decision she might opt to make. That's up to the throw of the dice. He can't follow all variables.

Gabriel swivels in the midst of the steam and the solid rain fall still hovering at a beckon of his hand, towards the electrokinetic's cry of the older man's name. Gabriel's eyes go wide as a second leap of electricity goes arcing for him, hand flicking to bring the rain into a whipping, solid column of water, catching the arc on its way and forcing it to travel up its path before dispersing in a mix of steam, sparks and flying droplets.

That trick is only going to work so many times. "Elle." Speaking of growling. Gabriel's feet leaves the ground, abruptly levitating several feet upwards as his hand goes out to rather abruptly shove Elle back by several feet with a hook of telekinetic energy passing painless through her torso, preciously close to the edge— although there's the subtlest of tugs as if to make sure she won't. In the next moment, searing lasers fly from his fingertips in a path towards Arthur, a soldier crying out as it burns over his arm in that arcing throw of laser light, which is getting bluer and bluer every second, making rain hiss.

"Sylar, no!" There's too many variations to consider here at once and not enough time to do it in. Odessa's head whips one direction then the next to try and make some sort of decision of where and when to act. Assessing her surroundings and taking mental stock of it all, this whole situation is much more complicated than it should be, she thinks. Too many variables. Damn you, Arthur. With a furious glare, Odessa's arms shoot out to either side of her body. Those who resist the tug of the halt to the trickle of sand in the glass feel an indescribable sense of power ripple out and beyond the temporal manipulator just as a flash of lightning illuminates the sky, the crash of thunder in its wake artificially deafening against the absence of chaos.

The rooftop becomes a pocket of reality frozen in time. Rain still falls from the sky, on the heads of the mobile and immobile alike.

"Ellie!" Indeed, Elle Bishop has been left intentionally unaffected by Odessa's ability. "Take him down," the CO barks her order (and possibly going over the head of Arthur in the process), "But I want him alive!" The chaos may not be entirely eliminated, but the majority of interference has been shut down for the time being.

The remaining soldiers along with Stephen Canfield begin moving to the platform that looms over this portion of the roof, heading up a zig-zagging staircase to get to the people that were dropped off by where the elevators come out. One soldier near the top suddenly lets out with a burst fire of his gun, followed by hideous screaming and howling as he tumbles over the railing and plummets down the fifteen feet to concrete below, head first. Following him, a buzzing cloud of wasps converge around his body, swirling in a stinging cloud.

That was Lucrezia Gabriel saw up there.

The helicopter Arthur had been so concerned about earlier finally takes off from the roof again, but this time it doesn't ascend back to the clouds — not with that storm brewing — but rather descends down along the side of the tower. Once the helicopter gets out of sight, there's a sudden sound of loud gunfire filling the air, an eruption that is preceded by the whining windup of a minigun and the shattering of glass in the tower wall.

From the floor of the tower, something unexpected emerges, five beams of deep violet colored laser beams that slice through the concrete in snaking patterns, causing whole portions of the roof to suddenly give way and begin collapsing down to other floors that collapse into other floors. The beams trace up through the sky, before flickering out entirely.

Something went wrong downstairs.

Now sealed away within a pocket-dimension all their own, there's a crooked smile that comes from Arthur. The smile is both from the effect of Odessa's power, and his pleasure at the display of Elle's obedience. Any miscreant dog would have taken the opportunity to stab him in the back when he was weakened, but now, it shows where her loyalties lie. Turning to Gabriel, it's the flick of laser-light that catches Arthur off guard, his eyes growing wide as his body immediately erupts into a column of flame, not that he's simply caught alight but that he has become a living humanoid silhouette of fire. The lasers penetrate the form, though they don't emerge on the other side. In a crackling roar that causes more steam to rise up from his living fire body, Arthur travels in a column of flame across the rooftop to land behind Gabriel.

When he lands, the flames wash off of him with the momentum of his travel, quickly snuffed cinders blowing away from his body as he holds up one hand and creates a concussive blast of sound directly behind the SCOUT officer. The blast collides with Gabriel's forcefield shielding, dispersing in rolling waves off of his body, and Arthur's black brows furrow into a look of consternation and disapproval. "Gabriel," a scowl comes down over his face. "You're going to lose your badge for this." Ever so smarmy, Arthur's overconfidence is astounding.

… Sylar has hydrokinesis? All isn't fair in love and war. If that doesn't tip a stupidly uneven playing field even further, Elle doesn't know what does; at the moment though, she's just preoccupied with getting back her footing after being shoved a frightening distance to the roof's edge. It doesn't take her long, though as soon as she's recovered, she focuses a rather tense-jawed glare on Gabriel.

"If I hit him, you're not getting a choice," Elle snaps loudly at Odessa without looking back at her. This is less insubordination than a reality check: Gabriel has 3609569^10 abilities, she's lost the element of surprise, and it looks like pretty soon she'll have to be warding off a storm too. Not the best combination of factors; if she can even get a lock on him, she'll be happy.

Nevertheless, she moves quickly forward (thought not directly forward, but a little more cautiously) with narrowed eyes. So focused is she that she only notices that time has gone screwy outside with the most peripheral of senses. Without preliminary warning this time, she under-handedly throws her palm wide to let a blast of lightning at Gabriel. And without waiting to see if that hits, she does the exact same thing one second later, this one coinciding in timing with Arthur's concussive blast hitting the forcefield. He can't divert her forever. Can he?

It's unfortunate that, in the words of Flint Deckard, a man with a godlike control over everything ever, is still fallible. His skin remains attached to his bones, still, even as the concussive blast hits him, flows around the crackling forcefield— and Elle's lightning bolt finds its mark. A mix of blue lightning the white electrical veins of the forcefield ripple over his body, his back going rigid and mouth gasping both air and falling rain in a silent cry of pain. It should, by rights, kill him, but the forcefield fends off the bulk of the damage, even as his knees hit the ground.

In the next blink, darkness suddenly consumes the multiply powered man— no, he becomes it, in the shadow of Wu-Long that Odessa will at least recognise. An inky smoke-demon of kinds, whipping across the rooftop, over the patches of fallen in rooftop that the violet lasers had caused.

Colette, is a thought that shimmers through the attenuated man. It's a sad one. There's much to live for, Odessa was right. There's a lot of good, here.

But not enough.

Gabriel comes skidding to a halt as he tumbles out of his wraith form, with less grace than he would have appreciated. His hand catches on the ledge of the rooftop, not uninjured, but— not dead. And injuries only slow him down so much. "Losing…" His voice comes out a croak, maybe more hurt than he's letting on, as he moves to face them, hands back against the ledge, a slightly wild look in black-glass eyes. Black clothing manages to hide the singes of Elle's attack.

But there's smoke rising that has nothing to do with the electrokinetic attacks. The sleeves of his coat create small furls of white smoke, and rain sizzles where it might connect with his hands… which have started to glow a dangerous radioactive orange. Taking his weight off the edge, he lifts his palms in a parody of surrender, the light dancing off his face. "Losing more than my badge."

For a moment, Odessa is stunned. Granted, it's taking a good chunk of her energy just to keep their selective little portion of the world segregated from all else. She's done it before, and it saved her life a long, long time ago, but it takes so damn much work.

The situation plays out much differently than she had expected. Odessa steps forward slowly, hands still stretched out to either side of her almost in a mirror of his mockery. Neither is surrendering, but their motions are for different reasons. "Sylar," she says gently, continuing to meander toward him. A glance is shot over her shoulder to Elle and Arthur in turn. I'm handling this.

"This has been good, hasn't it? You have an honest life, a family…" It's more than anyone can say for her. "Go back to that. Go somewhere green. Or go somewhere in the mountains… And watch the snow fall." She closes her eyes for a moment and flinches as she shifts her concentration. Experimentally, she rolls one wrist and then reaches her hand out toward him. She's standing too close already. She can feel the heat rolling off of his body, but she stands there with her hand out to him. "Or you can leave all of that behind you, and you can come with me. If you want to make this world a better place, then changing the past isn't the way to do it. We can work together."

Odessa smiles gently. "We can be the change we want to see in the world." The words of a pacifist… spoken with a forked tongue.

Arthur turns under the falling rain, streams of water trailing down his brow as he looks up to where Gabriel stands, seeing the sickly yellow-orange glow radiating out from him, smoldering his clothes. Then, slowly, Arthur's eyes shift up to Elle and then to Odessa. There's something to be said for loyalty, but there's also something to be said for opportunity. With Gabriel's attention on Odessa's words, Arthur moves a few steps to come stand beside Elle. "Congratulations Miss Bishop," he says in a rough voice, "You've just been promoted."

As those words spill out of his lips Arthur raises both of his hands and the wind picks up. That storm that's been swirling around the tower for so long now finally shows its true origins — Arthur. Having stolen Helena's ability from Peter, the weather grows more violent as the storm clouds darken further, and with one stroke of his hand, a terrible thunderclap and a blinding flash of light heralds a tremendous downcurrent in the form of a microburst of hurricane force winds, and a searing bolt of lightning cracking down towards where both Gabriel and Odessa stand.

Elle herself is having a hard time grasping why the earthly hell Odessa is doing what she's doing, and the severely lowered position of her eyebrows— her mouth very slightly agape— attests to this, even as Arthur comes up beside her. The edge of her parasol stays still as stone, stick riding low on one shoulder, the agent beneath it gradually bringing her bottom lip into a curl as she watches the exchange.

The orange glow of radioactivity, however, has her wary; whatever she's supposed to be doing right now, it's doubtful that triggering another November 8th via lovezap will really help. That's why it's so surprising to her that Arthur apparently does it for her, and she brings up her free arm to shield her eyes from the massive sear of light that follows.

Kind of like the terrorist who revealed he has however many explosives beneath his coat, Gabriel's stance is both wary and threatening, the pulse of light seeming to grow by the second, hotter and hotter. And he listens, as much as he knows Odessa is lying without even knowing about it. His life is far from honest and no, he doesn't have a family.

Not that it isn't tempting. To go somewhere that's—

The crack of thunder overhead is his only warning, snapping a look to Arthur and then back up to the sky, where lightning makes the clouds glow, about to break through as wind tears at all four figures on the rooftop. No time, radiation ensuring that to touch Odessa and extend his forcefield— which for some inexplicable reason is as ingrained an instinct as survival itself— would be counterintuitive, so when he flings his hand out, the time mistress is sent flying back under whiplash force of telekinetic energy and Gabriel barely has time to get himself out of the way, a blur of movement.

The crack as lightning hits the concrete of the building is deafening, breaking it, searing it black and for a moment, rain only sizzles when it falls there. In the same moment, that blurs connects with Arthur Petrelli like a train, both men slamming back a few feet as Gabriel's hands grip onto the front of the older man's clothing, sears it, burns skin, and they don't stop. They go up in a swoop, with a sudden muffled boom of a breaking sound barrier.

In a way, he is going somewhere that's green. Lots of stories say so, as Gabriel and Arthur disappear from the rooftop in a rocket's trajectory, towards the hanging clouds. Rain falls in their wake.

It takes Odessa by surprise when she feels the momentary shift in the air, the crackle of electrical energy originating from the atmosphere rather than from Elle.

You've just been promoted.

Odessa's eyes grow wide as saucers and she pivots on her heel to fix a furious and simultaneously terrified look on Arthur. "You— !" How could he do this?! Can't he see what she's trying to do? It's all for him! All of it has been for — The woman's frantic thoughts are cut short as she's thrown unceremoniously out of harm's way. For a moment, she almost thinks she'll keep her concentration and her control over time.

But the way the sword hilt on her back catches the ground doesn't send her more or less safely tumbling across the surface — it sends her pell-mell and skewed, so that she smacks her head on the asphalt, leaving her dazed and dizzy when she finally comes to a stop at the edge of the rooftop. The effect is even more staggering to her as the waves of time come crashing down about them all again, resuming things for all others smoothly with no indication as to what's just transpired all around them.

Previously in this storyline…
There's No Place Like Home, Part I

Next in this storyline…
There's No Place Like Home, Part III

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