Truth And Punishment, Part IV


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Truth and Punishment, Part IV
Synopsis While Akado Ichihara is enacting his own brand of punishment on the Company, Luke Campbell is taking an opportunity in the chaos to escape captivity.
Date May 18, 2010

Fort Hero

Being woken up by an alarm klaxon that hasn't sounded in over forty years is jarring.

Chaos has filled the concrete halls of Fort Hero as much as the electric sensation of fear has. Electricity has been reduced to red-hued emergency lighting and flashing orange strobes that show paths to emergency exits of the facility. Distant cries of Company staff calling for medical personnel is understandable, in that there is a trail of battered and crumpled men and women behind where two agents rush down the concrete corridors. Corbin Ayers and Bryan Buckley have all had rude awakenings before, never quite like this.

Fifteen Minutes Ago

Standing atop a cafeteria table, shouting over the blare of the warning klaxons, Assistant-Director Martin Crowley addresses the gathering of Company agents around him "…all we know is that Campbell was let out've his isolation ward in the lab, an' it looks like someone's tampered with 'is negation supplements, we found two medical technicians dead by use of his ability and Campbell nowhere in sight. We're goin' to split up to look for him as well as the individuals responsible!"

Offering out a radio to Corbin, senior agent Bryan Buckley flashes a fanged smile as he slaps the black plastic device down in Corbin's hands, "I hope you can keep up, kid. Crowley's got us headed for the rail platform in the basement. Remember, shoot to kill." Bryan's brows furrow and his head tilts to the side, "Don't hesitate."


Distant sounds of gunfire pop noisily at the end of the corridor they're both sprinting down, noisier and more resonant when they empty out of the hall and onto a high mezzanine overlooking the railway platforms of the third subterranean level of the fortress-like military installation. The flash of muzzle report comes from a Company agent down on the rail landing, firing at a young man ducking behind the concrete support pillars, chipping off flecks of stone with each shot and creating the zing of a ricochet.

With the electricity turned off, the escalators have stopped working, which ultimately just means they're stairs down from the mezzanine. Laying on one side of the stairs, a smoking and charred corpse of an agent is crumpled over, flesh reddened and blistered, hair smoldering and clothing blackened.

«Ayers, Buckley, this is Cruz. What's your status?» Crackling over the radio Corbin was handed when this whole chaotic moment began, the Company's senior assistant to the directors Gael Cruz demands intelligence. With security systems fort-wide shut down, the Company is flying blind. «Have you found Campbell?»

Fifteen Minutes Ago

"You need to listen to me." A low telekinetic rumble sends Luke Campbell gently up against the concrete wall of the corridor. Stepping forward, agent Albert Paulson tilts his head to the side, brows furrowed and bloos spatter glistening across one side of his face. "I'm heading upstairs, you can escape through the bottom level of the facility. Keep going down until you reach the rail platform, each of the tunnels is marked by a rail line, head for the Bronx tunnel and you'll stay underground the entire way, you won't have to deal with the snow."

Looking down the corridor, Paulson averts his eyes from Campbell for a moment, then snaps his attention back to Luke. "Half a mile down the tunnel on your right hand side you will see a maintenance access door, I've left it propped open. If you make it to the door, go inside and push the cinder block out of the way, the door will magnetically lock since the emergency power has activated, no one will be able to follow you."

Paulson lifts his chin up, watching Luke with a furrow of his brows. "I got you in to this mess, Lucas. It is only right I get you out. But you're on your own from here. Just remember, these people? They're ruthless. It's kill or be killed."


Luke has no idea what's going on, and he didn't even black out this time! All he knows is that he's being broken out, fortunately the more mundane way rather than a giant space/time continuum bubble thingie like at Moab. This time, it's a guy busting him out. And then he's had people shooting at him, and not at his hands. Having been at the receiving end of gunfire already, once they opened fire he fired back, leaving, well… roasted agents. He flinches a little, since this is the first time he's actually killed people himself, but it was either him or them, and he chose himself over them. Tough break, guys.

He'll send flowers.

Or maybe he'll just, y'know, run away.

Hurrying down to the railway platform, he frantically looks around for signs, then heads for the one labeled Bronx. Dodging and weaving between the concrete pillars, he heads for the door that the agent said was left open, and he's hauling ass to get there. No more gunshot wounds plz.

Don't hesitate. Easy for Buckley to say.

"I don't understand why this is happening. Is he still being puppetted?" Corbin inquires as he checks bends to check the blackened corpse of an agent, before cursing a bit and moving on. This isn't how he wanted this to go. If he would have stayed put, Corbin would have tried to petition in his favor for a mindwipe and release, assuming the loss of life had been limited to, well… being controlled into doing it.

But as far as they know, he isn't being controlled anymore. And now he has shot to kill orders.

«It looks like he's going down toward the tunnels. Is there any way to seal them off?» he asks over the radio, cautiously moving along, but not near as ready to fire as Buckley might be. The only person he's ever shot with real bullets had killed his best friend— and even that only hit a vest.

«Negative!> is Gael's response over the radio that crackles in Corbin's hand, «Security systems were disabled, the blast doors won't come down! Do not let him get away, Ayers! I repeat, do not let him get away!» Buckley is already moving while Corbin is on the radio, hopping over the smoking body on the stairs and thundering down them towards the agent stationed on the rail platform. As both Buckley and Ayers arrive at the landing below the mezzanine, they find a winded and terrified agent Grant Fitzpatrick looking down at his gun, cursing to himself as he fishes his pockets, trying to find a space clip.

Luke's dropped down off of the subway platform and out of sight, running parallel to the rails. "Ayers," Grant breathes out exasperatedly, checking himself over to radiation burns, patting down his jacket, looking no worse for wear other than a little scared. "Campbell's— I don't know. Agent Donahue just opened fire on him, he didn't even tell him to stop. Campbell freaked out and just— " there's a hitch at the back of Grant's throat. "I— I'll stay here in case he— doubles back."

"Right," Bryan says with a sarcastic sneer, checking his gun before running to the edge of the rail platform, looking left and right before leaping down to land in the gravel, listening to the sound of Luke's shoes crunching down one of the tunnels lit only by a faint orange glow of emergency lighting. "Ayers! C'mon!"

Taking off down the tunnel, Bryan's silhouette disappears into the Bronx-bound tunnel, following the tracks. Grant breathes in deeply, a hand at his chest, trying to calm himself down, breathing wheezing and rattling in the way an athsmatic does on over-exertion. He waves one hand, flippantly, towards the tunnel, a wordless sign of go on without me.

Luke is looking for that door, hoping he finds it soon! How far down the tunnel was it, again?! He looks over his shoulder to see if anyone's following him, and the answer is yes, so he quickly faces forward again and runs as fast as he can. How far away is half a mile? Let's see…. 300 yards? No, that's a football field. Er… wait, is a mile bigger or smaller than a kilometer? Nngh. That's not right either. 5 thousand…. uh… Oh whatever. He'll just run until he sees it.

"Yeah, stay here. Without you we wouldn't have any Grant and Lee jokes," Corbin says, trying to settle his nerves with banter, but failing. No way to cut him off, and specific orders not tto let him go. Now, he's starting to wish he would have gone down these tunnels, or knew exactly where they let out. They're not something he ever ended up using…

Before he takes off down the rest of the tunnel, he pulls a clip out of his pocket and tosses it back to Grant, giving him something to defend himself with— Corbin hasn't fired a shot, and the less ammo he has, the less likely he'll actually hit anything… He just hopes no one asks him about that fact later.

Keeping his gun lowered, he runs as best he can, following the flashing lights and the sounds of footsteps. "Does this thing fork any, or is it a straight line?" he asks Buckley while running with him, though not as strong physically. He's a archives guy. Not a sprinter.

Dropping to take a knee, Buckley levels his gun and fires three shots in rapid succession down the corridor, bullets ricocheting off of the concrete to the right of Luke, another punching into the gravel in front of him after whipping past his head close enough that he could hear the bullet buzzing in his ear. "Fucker!" Bryan shouts at Luke as Corbin runs past him, scrambling back up to his feet.

"This tunnel's a straight shot out to about a block away from Minicipal lot 336, where the old Bronx facility was!" Bryan's hastened footsteps crunch noisily underfoot, and as he runs he's glaring ahead at Luke's silhouette in the dimly lit corridor. "There's no branching tunnels, it's a one-way trip! There's nowhere he could possibly go!"

Up ahead all Luke can see is an endless length of gradually curving subway tunnel, arched and ancient, cracked in places and permeating with cold like something freshly removed from a freezer. The emergency lighting flickers overhead, maybe a blip in the lines, or maybe they're working to get the electricity back up and running from whatever Akado did to sabotage it.

Luke has given up figuring out how far half a mile is by this point, no doubt due to the fact that MORE people are shooting at him. He looks over his shoulder again and lifts his hand, emitting a short microwave. After all, he doesn't see who's shooting, so he'll just hit whoever's chasing him with some nonlethal hurt. Maybe they'll give up and go away? And now, some more running is next on the agenda, although he's wincing in pain at the wounds to his side and shoulder, since they're not healed yet.

Microwave blasts of any kind are unwelcome things. As he's the one upfront, it's him that the microwave burst impacts, making Corbin very grateful that it's a non-lethal dose. It still singes the edge of his coat, and suddenly his fuzzy beard covered face is reddish with something similar to a sudden a sunburn, though this had been caused in a moment.

Luckily he raised an empty hand in front of his face, to take most of what would have gotten his eyes. "Son of a— " That really hurts. "Campbell, you have to stop! You have nowhere to go. It's negative eighty uptop. You'll freeze to death the moment you surface."

Shooting at him isn't helping things, maybe talking will. They're not all ruthless killers.

It's hard to tell how far and how fast Luke's been running, but the chase has felt like a prolonged one. Up ahead, just around the bend from where he is now, the young escapee can see exactly what Paulson mentioned. There's a metal door, propped open by a cinder block with a flashing orange light above it, a large mechanicam mechanism is on one side that is likely the magnetic lock Paulson mentioned, while a currently deactivated key pad rests on the other side.

Snarling, Buckley's sprinting approach bypasses Corbin and looks to be gaining ground on Luke. The crunch between each rapid footfall is hastening, and Bryan is more of an athletic man than either Campbell or Ayers. He's got further to run, but all he's got to do is get close enough to take a clear shot.

"Ayers cover me!" Bryan shouts in his sprint, "he stops, you shoot!" It's almost like a game of chicken at this point; does Luke stop to microwave Bryan, only to be shot in return, or does he try and keep running with the hopes of outrunning Buckley.

Luke can hear the shouts, and see the door, and almost faints in relief. He leaps forward towards the door, trying to run away instead of turning to face his pursuers. He can try to ignore the pain, it's better than being shot again. Maybe that athletic guy will run out of bullets soon. Will he make it to the door? Because if he does, he's totally going to kick aside that cinder block, and likely break a toe in the process, but hey.

And what about Corbin, who doesn't want to shoot anyone. Much less a scared teenage kid lashing out with a very dangerous ability. Instead of stopping to set up for a shot, he continues running, with flash sunburned face and hand, singed clothes having protected most of the rest of his body from the burst, but not enough that he's not aching as he moves.

"Campbell, stop!" If he hadn't done this escape, if he hadn't killed so many of their agents…

There's no way that they're going to be able to take him alive now. The black coffins might be welcomed to take him away, even if they did, but he's sure more than a few angry agents would take the shot. But the one being told to shoot him, isn't one of them…


That was a toe.

The kick to the cinder block does indeed fracture Luke Campbell's left big toe as he slams it through the doorway on his way in. The maintenance door slowly moves shut on a hydraulic hinge, even as the crunching footfalls of Bryan Buckley's approach comes closer and closer. The moment the door clunks shut those last few inches, drawn by the emergency magnetic lock Bryan runs straight against the door, slamming it with one hand.

"Fuck!" Bryan shouts, "God damnit!" He stomps soundly against the gravel, jaws clenched and arms flailing as he backs up, takes a step forward and kicks the door in frustration. "God damnit Ayers, I told you to take a shot!" Wheeling around to yell at Corbin, Bryan stalks a few paces away from the sealed door.

On the other side of that two inch thick door, Luke can hear the argument brewing outside masked partly by the hiss of steam pipes and the sweltering heat in this tunnel. There's only one light, directly above him, but situated on a concrete sill nearby to where the overhead light shines is a single flashlight.

Akado had planned everything to the best of his ability, planned his entrance into the facility, planned Luke's escape route, planned his own escape route. But the Company is different than it was, hired new people since Akado's days, and for all that he has had Paulson's assistance in this…

…there's always room for unexpected variables.

Sure, Luke can hear the argument, but he's a bit preoccupied with declaring every expletive he knows in pained rage as he hops on his other foot. That @#$%&^%^%$@#$@# block!! Ok, now what the hell is he supposed to do?!

There are worse places for Luke to be right now than a long lightless railway tunnel where the air's thicker than water and steam lists away from blistering pipes where pressure's found its way out or ambient moisture's found its way in. The garbled drown of Bryan's voice opposite the hydraulic door carries hollow through the humidity. Expletives ring off of slick walls and bulky piping at a hushed echo.

Pain and associated cursing aside, the railway tunnel's oddly quiet. Sssafe in the shadow of the chaos that preceded it. Almost lazily so.

Until the eyes turn on. Twin rings of unholy blue cut out of the black some two hundred feet into the abyss beyond the touch of Luke's single light. Coyote eyeshine. Also, the sound of something being drawn off a belt before Flint fires with a whisk and a poff.

"He didn't stop, and I'm not a very good shot. You don't want me to hit you instead!" Corbin says back, not quite yelling as he does, but he looks a little relieved as the boy disappears behind the closing door. "Is there another way in? An access tunnel, anything?" He's starting to wish he would have looked at the designs, but in a way—

He hadn't want to be the one to shoot him anyway.

Outside of the access tunnel, a different voice than Gael Cruz' crackles over Corbin's radio, «Ayers, it's Sawyer. Your team find Campbell yet?» Bryan's eyes affix on the radio clipped to Corbin's hip, then flick back up to the archivist, unaware of what's happening just a few feet away on the other side of that metal door.

"Then you need to go back in for training, I figure you would've learned your lesson after your piss-poor firing at the bookstore!" Bryan scowls, visibly, storming over to Corbin to actually deliver a one handed shove to the middle of the shorter agent's chest. "You're a goddamned embarrassment, and you let Campbell get away!"

Luke was preoccupied with his toe, so he didn't notice the freaky eyes or the dart headed his way until it actually hit him, and he finally loses his balance and falls down, trying to catch himself with his other foot and instead ends up sprawled on the floor with another round of curses. However, since he was hit with the dart he soon loses consciousness, which… is probably a good thing.

"Next time you're better off killing everyone and leaving out the front door." Deckard's words of wisdom are less intimidating than his stare, what with his voice being all coarse and nasal and queerly sympathetic in the dank and the dark. Luke leaks off to sleep to the tune of his boots scuffing over damp concrete on the approach. "Nobody ever survives escape attempts into mysterious underground tunnels."

Sawyer may have gotten an answer, if Corbin hadn't been shoved in the chest and yelled at. The man even hits below the belt, by bringing up the bookstore, and his shooting there. Instead of fighting back, though, he stumbles against the blow and lets his gun drop with a clank under the emergency lighting. "I'm not the one who let him out," he says harshly, rubbing a hand over his still burnt face.

An embarassment. That'd been basically what the nightmare had shown him. Some things never change.

«Ayers… I repeat, have you found Campbell? Do you have visual on the helicopter? Can you give us any idea as to numbers?» Veronica's voice comes in crackling and sputtery over the radio, and between the question about a helicopter and the fact that Bryan was expecting vitriol— expecting Ayers to take a swing at him— his internal fire is put out. He wanted something to help alleviate this frustration and range building up in him and instead, Agent Buckley exhales a deep and stressed sigh.

Bryan's eyes alight to the ceiling when there's a snap of illumination, the red emergency lighting being replaced by the glow of the subway lines' ceiling-mounted lamps. Electricity hums on throughout the compound, lights flicking on in a row down the corridor in both directions. Dark eyes fire off a look to Corbin, lips downturn into a scowl and agent Buckley runs his tongue over his teeth as he shakes his head, disappointed.

"You wanna call it in?" Bryan asks sarcastically, motioning to the radio.

Nose rankled and sniffed against suffocating humidity, Deckard squints up after electricity's boomslang snap through the walls and ceiling, chilly eyes dimming dark for the beat or two it takes him to step over Luke and rap his dart gun (clong clong clong) against metal doors too thick for him to see through. "Hey," he says louder than before, voice raised to pierce what air and radiation can't, "how does this one open?"

A look turned over his shoulder at Luke confirms that he's really down for the count and gun lowered to his side, he takes a few seconds to rub cloying sweat and runoff away from his face. To little effect. Hair spined dark and polo soaked through across the back, chest and under the arms, he looks like he's spent the last few hours in a sweathouse.

"Fine, I'll call it in," Corbin says, pulling out the radio to respond, when he hears the knock knock and the faint sound of a voice on the other side. A voice he knows. How the hell did the old man get down here before them!? «This is Ayers, just a minute, we might have him.» he says into the radio, as he moves over and punches numbers into the pad, the door coming open with a mechanical hiss.

"I'm not even going to ask how you managed to beat us."

Long face aglisten with steam, sweat and grime, shirt clinging off his wiry frame, Flint scuffs his wrist up under a leak at his nose while he looks wearily between the pair of them. Wearily and ~warily~ when his glare cuts a little too sideways after Bryan. "I was down here jerking off when the lights went out. Also," he says. And lies, still giving Bryan the stinkeye. Also, "you told me to keep an eye on the tunnels."

A glance is given to the kid, then Corbin looks back at the old man— the only human being he's ever actually fired live rounds at with the intent to kill. Only now he's a little grateful that the man is there at all.

Maybe in all his embarassments as a Company Agent, he did one thing right.

«We got him.»


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