Truth And Punishment, Part III


martin_icon.gif paulson_icon.gif rain_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

akado2_icon.gif gael_icon.gif

Scene Title Truth and Punishment, Part III
Synopsis Akado Ichihara's move against the Company comes swiftly and without warning, leaving agents scrambling to recover and wondering why.
Date May 18, 2010

Fort Hero

"Jamie! Jamie can y'hear me!?"

Blood is trickling down the stairs like a tiny stream rolling down a mountainside. Propped up in the stairwell, senior agent Jamie Wu is unresponsive, bullet holes riddling his body that stain his clothing dark under the crimson glow of emergency lights. The cold up here on the above-ground levels of Fort Hero has actually penetrated the walls, frosting windows and making it so Martin Crowley's panicked breaths are seen as steamy clouds. That same steam is rising off of Jamie's body, off of the barrel of the gun held limply in his hand. "Jamie!"

Fifteen Minutes Ago

"Attention everyone!" Climbing up onto the cafeteria table, Martin Crowley addresses a gathering collection of agents roused from their sleep by the blaring roar of a security breach klaxon. "Fort Hero is currently under a code red security emergency! We're running solely on backup power, we've got technicians tryin' to figure out what happened right now! Security and communications compound-wide are down! Agent Buckley is handing out walkies, we're going to need to divide up into teams to do an eyes-on assessment of the facility!"

Rushing in through one of the doors, agent Gracie Lee calls out to Martin from behind him. "Crowley! Crowley— we've got three medical technicians dead in the lab, Campbell is gone!" Martin whips around, eyes wide behind the dark frames of his glasses, a horrified look crossing his face. "Grant's trying to track him down now, Alton is still in holding! He says he saw Paulson letting him out!"


Running a hand over Jamie's eyes to shut them, Martin rises from his crouch on the stairwell and looks down to the two agents with him, Investigations Team leader Benjamin Ryans and his reluctant partner Rain O'Niel. Swallowing visibly, Martin looks up to the stairwell ascending to the third floor of the above-ground portion of Fort Hero, Jamie's gun held in his hand. He pulls the slide back with a click and squares his shoulders. "O'Niel," he breathes out, "take point."

Fifteen Minutes Ago

Breathing heavily as he ascends the southwestern stairwell, Martin Crowley looks like he's paying for having a desk job most of his life. "We— we have t'get up to the Data Center above ground. Have t'make sure it's— secure. The entire Isotope tracking system's maintained up there, it'll still be runnin'— runnin' even under 'mergency power." Slouching one shoulder against the wall, Crowley looks back to Rain and Ryans on the stairs, shaking his head and staring vacantly at the two. The worry and fear in his eyes is evident.

"We need t'find out what happened t'Agent Paulson. We can't just— " Martin tenses up visibly, "we can't just go in guns blazin'" Looking up to the top of the stairs, he reaches for his radio and presses down the button, bringing it to his mouth. "Gael, this is Crowley. We're almost to the surface, over." Martin's eyes flick back down to Ryans, head shaking slowly. No one expected this.


Rain nods his head to Martin's direction of taking point. He was calm until Gracie ran into the place shouting about dead medical guys, and Paulson… That had him making a pained face, but his head gave a nod. Now he leans down over the dead Senior AGent, gently closign the man's eyes and speaking softly to him, something about finding rest and such before he rises to his feet and moves in front of the group, moving up the stairwell with ease, not having the same trouble that Martin is as he moves along, ready to fling up one of his barriers with a moment's notice. He has his tranq gun in hand, though no real gun, just the tranqulizer.

He creeps up along the stairs, listening tot he Assistant Director as he speaks. "Paulson woudln't do this of his own accord. He's a good man, a pain in the butt, but a good man. I just… can't see him betraying us this way." Feet scuff on the floor as he alights up the stairs at a steady pace.

The body on the ground, brings the immediate response of the older agent reaching into his coat and pulling out this own gun. While Martin is assessing the situation, Ryans takes a moment to slip the magazine out of the firearm, checking his ammo before slapping into place again and chambering a round with a jerk of his hand on the slide.

Benjamin steps up behind Crowley, eyeing the body, lips pressed tight, before his head turns to look upward. A look is shared with Martin, a sigh escaping through his nose, before he turns to glance back to Rain, giving a jerk of his head. As the kid moves past him, a hand drops to Crowley's shoulder holding him there, while the older agent move around him to follow the kid. When it comes down to it.. Crowley is brass, his backside doesn't need to be taking risks.

Of course, considering recently… Ryans is taking a huge risk giving his back to Martin.

"I want a shield up before we get to the top." Rumbles the older man as softly as he can with his deep voice. He's all business… the how's and why's not important to him at the moment. A strand of dark hair slide down his forehead, the fedora left behind, even though he donned his duster for the trip up. While him and Martin are armed with something more deadly, Rain isn't so he simply instructs the kid. "I want you to shoot first, and we'll sort it out later."

Rain can feel, Ryans' finger tips on his back, as the old man moves with him, gun barrel pointed away and to the ground, at least the kid knows he's there.

Rain glances over his shoulder to Ryans with a few blinks from his eyes. "Can't move with them in place boss. I can pop it up to about six feet in front, and taht's as far as it goes without me dropping to raise a new one, so it'll have to wait /till/ we get to the top." He winks at the older agent, then turns his eyes back on his own feet and where they're headed.

He creeps up the stairs, step by step. "It's a tranq gun, won't permanently harm anyone. I don't like tranqing people, but I've gotten past the moral issue." This is murmured as he walks, moving along, creeping until he reaches the stop of the stairs, at which point he flicks his wrist in a slight gesture that he sometimes uses when bringing his barriers into being, and the thing springs up, the shimmery liquidy kidn of barrier slipping into being in front of him, thouroughly blocking the stairway.

"Paulson wouldn't do this…" Martin says with a hint of emotion in his voice, one finger pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, "he— he would never do this." There's a tension in Martin's throat as he looks up to Ryans' back, then down the empty stairs, the blaring croak of the klaxon roaring in his ears, reverberating off of the close quarters of the stairwell. With Ryans and O'Niel already ascending to the Data Center, so too is Martin after one last lingering look to the body behind them.

Fifteen Minutes Ago

At the crossing of two hallways in a four-way junction in Fort Hero's subterranean belly, assistant-director Crowley and administrative assistant Gael Cruz stand in conversation amidst the red emergency lighting and the blare of the alarms. "The Data Center is still running, we need to make sure Akado isn't trying to disable the Isotope system on our end! We have no assurance that he doesn't have deactivation codes! If he gets control of the satellites he could destabilize their orbit and send them crashing back down to earth, we'd be completely blind!"

Shouting over the blare of the alarms is necessary, and Martin is wincing at the noise, nodding to Gael's instructions. Assistant director as he is, Gael Cruz supercedes his authority by a decade and a pay grade. "I'll take these two an' go up!" Martin shouts, pointing back to agent Ryans and O'Niel over his shoulder, then looking to the trio of Veronica Sawyer, Allison Richards and Maria Delgado behind Cruz, "where's yuor team headed!?"

"We're going to secure the lobby! I sent Donahue and Shell up ahead of us!" Gael slaps a hand on Martin's shoulder, nodding once affirmatively before breaking away and making a signal to his team to follow him down one end of the corridor. Martin nods in return, watching Gael leave before looking back to Rain and Ryans, waving for them to follow him as they split up.


The door to the Data Center is propped open, as it usually is, an old wooden chair with its back under the door handle keeping it held out into the hallway. Within, the glow of red lightning serves as a backdrop for the flickering LEDs and spinning reel-to-reel tape machines still in use here, juxtaposed against a terminal bank of five flat screen monitors and more cutting edge computer hardware. Analogue systems like the reel to reel machines serve as a redundant backup system against technopaths, their abilities useless to retrieve data stored in that fashion from machines this old.

The shimmeringing distortion of Agent O'Niel's telekinetic barrier in front od the doorway makes the room look watery and warped. It makes the Christmas-light glow of colored LEDs seem all the more surreal amidst the glow of the emergency lights. There, behind the desk at the computer terminal, someone is hunched over, fingers clicking away at keys, working frantically on something. He can just barely be seen between the monitors, with much of them obscuring view of who it actually is.

On the ground nearby, three Company technicians lay dead on the ground, their necks broken and limp. They weren't even armed.

The senior agent looks about to snap something at Rain, but stops himself with a tightening of his jaw and fingers tightening around the handle of the gun. This is not a time for berating the young man about having kidney's for brains.

Instead, he lets it slide and glances back to Martin behind him, there is no real way to know what the older man is thinking, and his tone is frustratingly calm. "He might not, Martin… but how many Agents have we said that about? And something like this happens?" Brows lift slightly in a questioning manner, at the assistant director. He may think the same thing as Crowley about Paulson, but he has to be realistic about it.

The shimmery and shifting sight of bodies on the floor, and a form at a computer, Ryans brings up his gun, resting it in both hands as he speaks up, "Hands up where we can see them and step away from the computer." There is a distinct order to his voice, as the order is barked out by the Senior Agent.

Rain looks into the room, and he supresses a growl of rage at seeign the dead technicians. They weren't doing anything but thier job, and now they're dead for it. His nostrils flare and then he pushes out a slow breath before looking to Ryans to see what the older agent wants to do, the younger Rain waiting for his word. In a combat situation, he'll listen to the man where he wouldn't in say… a meeting situation.

It's not Rain's fault he has to explain everything to the old man, he's just old, so he doesn't seem to mind the man's irritation, if anything it seems to amused him despite everything that is going on around them.

When Ryans goes back to business Rain is already ready. He's crept to the side of his barrier, and has his tranq gun peeking out from the side of it. He doesn't waste any time in squeezing off a shot at the target behind the computer.


Rain's dart hovers in mid-air eight feet from where it exited the barrel of his tranquilizer gun. The moment that happens, there's a sudden rumble in the air, a harmonic resonance that comes from deep vibrations in the floor and walls. At that sound, Rain's gun is yanked from his hand even as he's thrown backwards by an invisible force in the center of his chest, throwing him over both agent Ryans and Crowley and down the entire length of the stairwell, colliding with the floor at the base of it hard enough to both knock the wind out of him and leaves a massive bruise across his back and shoulders. The distance from the barrier now being almost an entire floor causes his barrier to wink out.

The moment the barrier goes down, one of the computer monitors wrenches out from its metal frame at the desk and sails like a frisbee towards Ryans. The rapid-moving monitor slams into the senior agent and knocks him backwards and through the air. The impact should send him head first down the concrete stairs and likely to his death, but a last minute yank of telekinetic force suspends him in mid-air.

Martin pops out from behind the door, gun trained on the man now revealed behind the monitors where the one absent display leaves a hole, and he stares down his iron-sights at the partner he's had for years. Martin's hesitation is rewarded by the snap one of one his arms and a yelp of pain before he is dragged inside and thrown up against one of the walls, crashing hard and painfully against the concrete.

"Telekinesis…" Paulson murmurs, "an invisible force capable of moving objects at long distance. It is neither a projection nor a projectile. You trained me very well, Martin." Paulson steps out from behind the desk, both hands raised as if in smirking response to Ryans' order. "Martin," Paulson's attention moves to the assistant director, "all these years… all these years we worked together. All these years and we were puppets. The Company, your job, everything. It's all a lie."

Narrowing his eyes, Paulson manipulates Martin to pull back from the wall slowly, brown eyes settled on Martin's blues. "Akado," Martin croaks out, jaw trembling, "A— Akado stop. Stop this— stop— " Martin is slammed back against the wall again, emitting a pained yelp when he is.

"I'm not Akado," Paulson hisses, "this is me, taking control of my life from the people who stole it from me!" While Ryans is held immobile, his extremities are not. Ryans may have been disarmed, but any good agent may carry more than one firearm.

The impact of the monitor into his chest knocks the air out of Ryans chest with a woosh of air and pain. There is no doubt he'll have a large mass of bruising across his chest and sore ribs later. His head hangs there for a moment as he collects himself, eyes on the floor, listening to Paulson's words. It's not the first time he's heard words like that, he's thought the very same thing at times.

A test of his arm, he finds it working. So while Paulson is busy, the Senior Agent reaching behind him, hand sliding under his coat to the tranq gun at his back. He doesn't waste time in talking about his own feelings, his own doubts about what they do… and the reason why he still does it. No. As soon as his fingers wrap around the handle, he wastes no time, yanking it out of it's holder with a jerk of his arm, ignoring the burning pain in his chest, and fires several rounds at Paulson.

Rain is just not one of those agents, he doesn't carry extra weapons, the use of lethal force is not something he'll partake in if he can at all help it. He picks himself up off of the concrete floor, letting his chest relax as he moves, not trying to gasp in breath yet. He picks himself up offo f the floor, and stats to run back up the stairs, slowly managing to draw in air as his body relaxes.

His feet pound up the stairs, the kid running upwards. The scuff of hsi shoes on the floor is heard as he comes back up the stairs, running into the room. He is running headlong towards Paulson, and anyone who knows his power will know his intent. Dive for the man and pop up a barrier when he's in range to do so. Of course, he'll reach the man after RYan's fired darts, so he won't be impeding with his aim once he gets there.

The gunshots have Paulson diverting his attention from Crowley, eyes wide in panic, but much to his amazement the darts hang motionless in the air. Crowley and Ryans both drop from where they was suspended, every last ounce of Paulson's telekinetic ability having pinched those bullets out of mid-air. Were he not trained as long as he has been, the darts would've been the end of this here and then. Unfortunately, with all his focus on suspending the darts in mid air, Paulson is literally blindsided when Rain comes barreling up the stairs and snaps his barrier up at the last possible moment before collision.

Paulson is slammed backwards the moment the barrier springs to life, sending him up off of his feet and airborne through the towering display of flat-panel monitors and aluminum framing. He crashes over the displays, smashes to the ground, rolls across one shoulder and then slides into a wall. The noise of pain and surprise that came with the impact also accompanies a low and uncontrolable rumble before one of the eight foot tall and several hundred pound reel-to-reel computers is ripped up from the floor and flung heedlessly towards Rain.

The machine clips the corner of Rain's stationary barrier and tears open, spilling wires, dislodging reels and spilling spaghetti-string magnetic tape everywhere before it crashes down on the floor beside him, just narrowly missing the blonde.

Paulson pulls himself up to his feet right after that impact, flinging another and older desktop computer into Rain's shield with a crash while the door to the balcony behind Paulson explodes off of its hinges letting in a blast of arctic cold. In that same moment, there's a noise from the roof of Fort Hero outside, the whirring chop of a helicopter's blades winding up. "You think you're doing the right thing," Paulson murmurs, back to the door, "but you're just sheep."

The whole floor rumbles noisily as one after another, computers, monitors, chairs, desks all are ripped from the ground and sent flying towards Rain, buffeting against his barrier, a table shatering, an old CRT monitor exploding on impact, and Paulson is running, darting out the door and only the balcony and then— jumps.

A grunt escapes Ryans as he hits the floor, jarring his shoulder — another bruise to try and explain to the girls. Rolling to his feet, the senior agent is scrambling to get to his feet, one hand pushign him off the floor, the other pulling out the last weapon on his person, the twin of the handgun he had yank out of his hands before. He hurries to where he can get line of sight on Paulson as he's busy pelting Rains.

Hands come up to cradle the gun in both hands and keep it steady. Unlike Rain, the Senior Agent isn't against a certain level of violence when it's needed. He doesn't want to do this, but he's been left no choice.

"I'm sorry."

It's only whispered, before Ryans starts firing after a man he had respect for, but maybe it's that respect that keeps the older man from going for the fast kill.

Rain is utterly shocked when his little blind tactic works, his eyes flying wide open with the surprise. That takes all of half of a second before he collides with his own barrier. He doesn't go boucning off. He hits, and it bounces him at a rather painful angle onto the ground, on his back, though it doesn't break his line of sight, so the barrier remains in place, and thank God too because he's rolling a moment later trying to avoid the falling monstrosity, only to feel the impact on his barrier, energy draining from mit's weight and force. Then there's desks, and computers, and all manner of things flying at his barrier.

Things shatter, and Rain wavers a bit, the rush of high mass items draining his energy at a rapid pace. His head slumps backwards, an effort to keep it up and keep eye contact with his barrier. He does however, crawl towards Martin, letting his barrier drop once the stuff stops flying. Once he's close to the man he throws up another barrier, but has to lay on his side to keep it going and not break eye contact.

Gunshots ring out through the data center as Ryans moves towards the door where Paulson had fled. Bullets perforate snow on Paulson's heels, and a rumble of telekinetic force shakes the balcony, sending a sloughing heap of snow down atop the senior agent from the roof, giving Paulson enough time to clear the distance across the helipad towards the Company helicopter waiting. Seated in the passenger's side of the small chopper, Ryans recognizes the bearded countenance of Akado Ichihara, sees the one-handed wave and motion of his fingers, and the pilot seated beside Ryans is a long-time Company employee, one that clearly looks more like a zombie at the moment than anything.

When Paulson pulls himself thorugh the door into the chopper, he slides the door shut with a slam, and as the rotors spin, the helicopter kicks up a whirling gust of snow and ice, and already Ryans can feel his body shivvering from the cold coming through the open door, feel the his heat being sucked away by the polar chill. At this temperature, gasoline is nearing the freezing point, wherever they're going in that helicopter, it can't be more than twenty or thirty miles at the most.

As the helicopter lifts up, Akado nods his head to Ryans, no attempt made to secure control of the senior agent. Instead, it reads more like a recognition of good game from a pair of individuals playing a friendly round of chess. Which side is Black and which side is White is still up for debate.

Rain doesn't see much of the chopper, he's a bit still behind the stack of junk that built up from being flung at his barrier. He's laying there, next to the unconcious form of Martin Crowley, his own form nearly unconciouss. He could field thousands of bullets with little trouble, but naturally, Paulson, or more accurately, Ichihara, threw big stuff at him, which is the bane of his kinetic shields, mass, not force. So, for now he lays there, exhausted, not having had to use his barrier like that in a long time, nto since Pinehearst anyway.

Standing there covered in snow, feeling the very warmth sucked out of his body, Ryans can only stand there helplessly as the helicopter lifts off. His gun hangs limply at his side as Paulson gets into the helicopter, it's empty anyhow, no use at pulling the trigger of an empty gun.

Blue eyes narrow as Akado acknowledges him with that nod… there is no returned nod, jaw clenches with the surge of anger the Senior Agent feels, but his face remains emotionless as he slowly watches the helicopter lift away with their targets inside, and a part of him has a feeling they will find the pilots body later.

Once the helicopter passes from view does Ryans slump, shoulders rolling forward, his empty hand going to his chest. He finally lets the pain show as he lets out a hiss of discomfort from clenched teeth.

Somewhere within the bowels of Fort Hero, on a desk, sits a picture of two families smiling and happy over a new life. Akado and Benjamin in a different time.


Then the world changed.

Was it a hint of things to come?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License