United We Stand Part I


ash_icon.gif edgar_icon.gif griffin_icon.gif harper_icon.gif juliette_icon.gif kris_icon.gif ling_icon.gif lynette2_icon.gif matt_icon.gif melissa3_icon.gif perry_icon.gif peter_icon.gif risa_icon.gif sanderson2_icon.gif west_icon.gif

Scene Title United We Stand, Part I
Synopsis In an effort to make a plan to deal with Rupert Carmichael, Messiah discovers wolves at the gate, and wolves within…
Date November 5, 2010

Howland Hook Facility

Freedom is often cited as one of the principal rights of civilized men.

From a far distance, the Howland Hook Facility that resides on Staten Island's northwest coast resembles so much any other crumbling remnant of the world that was before the bomb. Old and dilapidated concrete-walled buildings with shattered windows on the low floors surrounded by the yellow and black frames of construction equipment, towering cranes and bulldozers that have tracked treadmarks across soft earth and over broken asphalt.

But freedom is not something tangible, not something that can ever truly be given or taken away.

Beyond the razor-wire topped chain-link fencing bearing banners of the Maxwell Development Company, the true purpose of this abandoned railyard and shipping business cannot readily be seen, and for months it has served as the secretive headquarters for the anti-government group MESSIAH, even through changes of the guard it has persevered. Shadows stir in the dark beyond Howland Hook, tonight. Boots crunch gravel underfoot, binoculars view the building through the veil of night with piercing accuracy in shades of green night vision.

Freedom can be an illusion; the mirage of free will created by an even more powerful control than one could have imagined.

On the ground floor of the Howland Hook Facility, in a wing of the building not typically used for meetings, Peter Petrelli has made a call to arms across the remaining network of Messiah still loyal to him and the cause of eradicating their former manipulator Rupert Carmichael before he can cause all hell to break loose. It is a storage warehouse, emptied of its contents with merely high rafters and shattered windows, save for one noticable piece of cargo — an enormous bolt of red cloth on a metal spindle, laid out in the middle of the floor with shears and scraps of the same fabric around it.

A truly skilled manipulator knows how to give the illusion of freedom, while still keeping those they wish to manipulate on a short leash.

Standing where the large bolt of cloth is laid on its side, Peter Petrelli's darkly-dressed silhouette stands with arms crossed over his chest, head bowed and red scarf still proudly worn around his throat. He won't let Rupert Carmichael ruin the ideal of Messiah. Nearby, others have gathered in a half circle around him. West Rosen looking like he's just crawled his way out of a drainage pipe, dirt smudged on his cheeks, hair toussled and dark clothing dirty. Kristian Bender in his jeather jacket, dark eyes watching Peter with a judgmental stare. Risa Lynette hanging behind them, her arms wrapped around herself for warmth, hood of her sweatshirt pulled up over her dark hair.

True freedom is earned, in the physical and in the psychological. Few people are ever truly free, be it from their own psychological limitations, or those imposed on them by others…

There's an important meeting to be had by Messiah and its tentative allies tonight, one that could change the course of their war all together. Stepping away from that large roll of cloth that the scarves of Messiah are cut from, Peter looks to be making a point. The symbolism of the scarves all being one isn't just conjecture. The material is here, just as people are today. But unifying the disparate threads of Messiah into a fighting force will prove to take much more effort than just symbolism and theatrics.

…whether they realize it or not.

Though Melissa has, in some ways, distanced herself from Messiah, such as not wearing her scarf either this meeting or the last, she arrives promptly, wearing her ankle length coat and a hat. And even once she's inside, she leaves both on as she heads towards Peter. "Did you get my message?" she asks him, before nodding to Risa, West and Kris.

Lynette comes in, just wrapping the scarf around her neck as she makes her entrance, which is a quiet one. She's dressed simply, in jeans and a black, short leather jacket, that scarf being her only accessory. It's a rare thing. She doesn't even really draw attention to the fact that she's there, she just slips in and leans against a wall to wait.

Ling had arrived a bit early, if only to change into her more typical MESSIAH attire - and now she stands on the end of the half circle around Peter, red scarf contrasting strongly with the black catsuit she is seen to occasionally wear on MESSIAH missions. Her arms are crossed as she eyes their new de facto leader, grimacing as she waits to hear the news of the evening.

Seizing one's destiny is not a matter of forging it, not a function of some true choice, but rather the wholehearted acceptance of necessity. Perry has seen what is coming. He has felt his thumb upon the detonation trigger. He has felt himself at the cusp of decision, and though he has seen no further, he is dedicated to at least reaching that point, if that is necessary.

As such, these past weeks have been ones of preparation. Steady, painstakingly careful work with wires and transmitters and primers. Mixtures, now benign, a few catalysts away from becoming volatile. Inert matter, a swirl and a spark away from conflagration. Certainly, metaphors abound as time strides restlessly towards the eighth.

But Perry is no UNA Bomber. He's not a lone crazy. He's a crazy with a fellowship, however disparate and frayed at the red edges. His fingers are roughed from the work, singed by his soldering iron, pricked by the ends of stripped wires, his eyes a little heavy and unfocused from fighting back minutia vertigo, Pericles Jones looks frayed at the edges himself, and he is as unfashionably dressed as always, in out-of-style jeans and a white t-shirt with the words 'Engineered Solutions Inc.' in simple black text on the front.

Perry enters, weary eyes viewing the assembled from behind prescription lenses. He dips his head in vague greeting, hands in his pockets. Whether or not he's come with another bag-full of contention can't be discerned as of yet, but for the moment he's keeping his peace.

He doesn't have a scarf anymore, Vincent has it. He doesn't have a reindeer tie anymore, Vincent has it. He doesn't have pinstriped polyester pants anymore, Vincent has them. Edgar is dressed in some of Samuel Sullivan's donated clothing. Some of them don't fit quite right, especially in the chest area, but he's had to make due. From his vantage spot, balanced on the arm of one of the abandoned cranes, he watches as the members of Messiah arrive.

The speedster's been tailing the members that he knows, gathering a list of those he doesn't. Keeping secrets from Lydia. She's been distracted anyway and has visited the trailer farm less and less. Perhaps it's pre-wedding jitters, apparently all women get them. That and tampons.

The sight of Melissa has his eyes narrowing a touch, he didn't realize that she kept up after he'd been incarcerated. To Samuel, he described her as the friend who didn't deliver and there's a pang of betrayal as he watches her trudge through the doorway. She looks as normal as ever. Running a hand over his dusty colored pants, he pulls a knife from around his back. No, it was stuck in there, though it sometimes feels like it. When he's certain the last person has straggled in, he disappears from the top of the crane and blurs out of sight.

"I'm glad this many of you showed up…" Peter intones with a tilt of his head forward into a slow nod. "I'm sorry to have to drag you all together again like this, especially with everything coming to a head so soon with the visions I know some of you had. But it's important, and it couldn't wait."

Some people aren't here, and that worries Peter. Marjorie, Griffin, Nadira; too many faces in the crowd he was hoping to be able to count on that are now missing or couldn't make it out to Howland Hook after curfew on such short notice.

"I got a message last night from, of all people, Knox." Mention of the Messiah member who has been missing since the division of Peter and Rupert's factions brings murmurs of distrust from Kris. "I know— I know most of you might not like it, but from the sounds of what I read, Knox has been sitting in Rupert's corner as a spy for a while now. He told me he's been in contact with Catherine Chesterfield, who's an old friend of mine. He… also says he knows where we can find Rupert."

The notion has West standing up straight and staring wide-eyed at Peter. "What? Why— why haven't you just gone after him yet!? What the fuck are we waiting here for?" West's hands wave out wildly to his sides as he takes a step forward.

"West, easy…" Risa murmurs, reaching out to lay a hand on his shoulder tentatively. Though even as she tries to quell West's worries, her own dark-eyed stare focuses up on Peter, expectantly.

"I can't do this— shouldn't try to do this alone. Knox's message says that Rupert has settled down in the ruins of the Richard Rodgers Theater in Midtown out on West 46th street. He's got the rest of Messiah hunkered down there with him too…" Lifting one hand up to scrub at the back of his neck, Peter exhales a worried sigh.

"He might be planning to settle in there and weather the storm of the riots. With Midtown all but sealed off, there's likely to be the least amount of violence there…" Though as Peter makes that observation, Kris slaps a fist into his open palm and has an insight of his own to offer up.

"Then I guess we'll have t'bring him some of our own, won't we?"

Mention of Knox has Melissa's brows lifting. "Wait, you say that Knox is a spy for Rupert, and we're just going to…trust that this isn't a trap?" she asks, hands shoving down into her pockets. "Just screams trap to me. I'm voting that the first thing we do is send someone to see if he's really there, or if it's just a bunch of goons or, knowing how he likes explosions, it'll be set up so when we walk in it goes boom."

There's a hesitation as she glances around at some of the more familiar faces, then the unfamiliar ones, before she looks to Ling for a long moment, then Peter. "If he is there, I've got some help. Eileen and Gabriel have agreed to help. Richard Cardinal wants to help. And though Wireless is hunting him on her own, she did give me a little present. Negation darts."

"Did he say why he was contacting you? A sudden change of heart seems… rather convenient." Lynette has never been much of a trusting soul. In people or lucky breaks. She looks over at Melissa, an eyebrow lifting before she looks back over to Peter. "I have to agree, it sounds like a trap. Days before the 8th, a group of people gunning for him get word on his hide out? Maybe they're all hoping we're just desperate enough to leap before we look, so to speak."

Ling strokes her chin as she eyes Peter, then Melissa and Lynette. "Knox is… a tricky one. He has never struck me one such to willingly lay a trap. It would likely have to be something of Rupert's doing, which would not be a surprising measure at all." The Chinese woman waves her hand back and forth, small waves of smoke wafting back and forth as she does. "I agree the possibility exists, and I agree that we should send someone we know has not been… touched by Rupert ahead to see if he's really there." A pause, and a bit of a sigh as she scowls, realising what this means. "Which I suppose would automatically volunteer me for such a task."

"Uh- uh- assuming that this information is accurate," Perry says, his stammer bleeding into the first syllable of his first word, "we uh- owe it to Carmichael to kill him. He can't um- he can't be suffered to live, not knowing what we know b- uh- but he deserves the respect executing him will bestow. I don't see another ethically viable um- ethically viable choice."

The bespectacled young man lifts a fist to his chest, tapping it lightly, as if clearing something from it. "I'm willing to take part, if it turns out to be good. The information. In reconnaissance as well as uh- as well as execution.”

While everyone is wound tighter than a spring in the watch of an ADHD, there's a snap and a column of purple smoke rises from that spot on the floor. It's the thing that goes bump in the night, or the thing that goes slice slice in the day. A whirl of wind clears it all up and what is left standing there, kukri held by clenched fists is Edgar Smythe.

He learned all about making an entrance at Carnie Camp.

"Well well, fancy mee'in' you lot 'ere." He grins, his blue eyes narrowing a touch. They flit between all of the members gathered and his jaw clenches tighter than a nun in a room full of lounge lizards. When they rest on Melissa, there's a twitch as she doesn't quite look as normal as he first thought. "You really should 'ave better security." The knives get flipped away and he folds his arms over his chest. "Now… abou' usin' me as yer patsy… was i' all your idea Pe'er? Or were i' sum'on else's?"

The arrival of Edgar Smythe, like something out of a Carnival sideshow has Peter and several others reflexively backing away from the distinctive pop-hiss of smoke from a canister. Were it off-white and not purple, screams of negation gas would have likely been the order of the day.

On Edgar's emergence, Peter stares wide eyed at the speedster. "Edgar," is sharply hissed out, but not with an expression of frustration or curses, foiled again! Rather, Peter looks remarkably relieved to see the knife-thrower again.

Kris, however, looks guilty.

"Edgar, how did— " Whatever direction Peter was trying to take the conversation in is abruptly killed off at Edgar's arrival. "Edgar, we— I never— " huffing out a sharp breath, Peter looks askance to Perry, then over to Edgar with a furrow of his brows. "Edgar a lot's happened since you've been gone, I— none of us wanted to abandon you on that mission. I wasn't even there to help. Trust me, if there was any way we could have saved you without jeapordizing everything we— we would have."

But while Peter seems unable to be antagonistic about this, West has no such compunctions.

"How the fuck did you get out of DHS captivity?" The flyer pushes away from Risa, marching across the floor towards Edgar. "We thought the goddamned Institute had you locked up in one of their coffins. Jesus Christ Edgar, how long have you even been free?" Melissa sees traps, so does West.

Lynette and Ling get nods from Melissa, but before she can turn back to Peter to continue talking Edgar makes his entrance. She gapes at him for a moment, then she moves towards him, quickly. She's going to try for a hug, a tight one. "Oh god you're not locked up! How did you get out? When did you get out? Are you okay? Why didn't you call me, dammit?"

Then she steps back and looks over towards Peter and his crew, eyeing Kris. "Why do you look so guilty, Kris? The anger, I could see. You didn't trust me either since I wasn't around because I was in DHS custody, but why the guilt?" She shifts slightly, her head tilting.

Without looking away from Kris, she addresses Ling. "You are a natural choice, but there's Eileen. I'd rather risk a bird then you. It would pathetically simple for Rupert to mindfuck his way into negation gas."

Lynette is among those blinking in surprise, but given that she's really not been terribly close to… well, most of Messiah, her reaction is muted comparatively. Given his speech, though, she looks a little wary, but also like she can't believe what she's hearing. It makes her pat her pocket for a cigarette, only to belatedly remember she isn't really smoking anymore. Alas, because these meetings have a habit of being headache inducing.

Eyes narrowing at Edgar's arrival, Ling's form becomes just a bit more ethereal - it seems that she is as unnerved as the others. "Edgar. I believe the question at hand has been asked well enough already. I am surprised to see you here." She's not sure she smells trap, given DHS seems to have their sights as much on Rupert as they. Any trap, naturally, would come after he's dealt with. So so she believes.

A look is given over to Melissa, Ling grimacing. "I do not normally doubt you, Melissa, but I do not see Eileen here. I would recommend you get into her quickly, if you intend for her to help us out this evening." Gabriel as well, but she chooses not to mention him - his inclusion still makes her rather uneasy.

Intruders disrupting organic unity is a man like Perry's worst nightmare, and nothing could be more disruptive than a smokey, ninja-style entrance. This is serious business, this is revolution and bloody schism. Quit horsing around!

Not that Perry raises this complaint It would be sort of hard to articulate - an argument about the aesthetics of terrorism. The corners of his lips turn down, not much more. His best effort is just to ignore the interruption, as if Edgar were just a late arrival, and a rude one. "I- uh- I assume these allies are vouched for? Why- uh- why would they help us if they aren't full- uh- fully dedicated to our ideals?"

When West begins his approach Edgar's knives come out again in a whirl of steel that glint a near blinding light toward the flyer. West and Melissa aren't the only ones that smells a trap. "I go' out because sum/one needed my 'elp." There's a brief glance toward Melissa and her approach is evaded with a blur of a twirl as he comes back into focus a few feet away.

"Sum'one 'oo ain't afraid o' no Dee Aych Ess'er them bastards'at stole my new tie." The one with the blinky reindeer, presumably. "Brough' me a crane an' zipped me outta there an' back teh Moab. S'where I's 'eaded anyway, eh?" Peter's stammered explanation of events and Kris' guilty countenance are eyed with a level of suspicion befitting McCarthy in a room full of Russians.

When Perry gets back to business as usual though, Edgar ends up settled near him. Nothing like chaos to off balance the order.

"Whoever it was that saved you, Edgar… I owe them a lot of thanks." Dark eyes flick to Kris, when he comes under fire from Melissa. "Melissa— Jesus Christ, easy. Kris was the man who's job it was to get us all out on that assignment we lost Edgar on. Cut the goddamned kid some slack. He did everything he could."

This, of course, just causes Kris to retreat in on himself further. Furrowing his brows he closes his eyes, then pauses when his phone vibrates in his pocket, picking it up and sliding it open. It's a battered old TracFone, not one of the old Rebel varieties. "Ali?" One of Kris' brows raises as he just turns his back on the conversation, walking away from the meeting as if he's had enough and seeming to be more than willing to entertain the calls of a girl than Melissa's suspicions.

"Can we focus on the meeting?" Peter sharply states with a look to Melissa, then over to Kris. He doesn't see the teleporter going too far, however, noticing Kris mostly standing in place now, just listening to the girl on the other end of the phone.

"Knox…" Peter finally returns to the topic at hand. "He didn't say why he got in touch with me after so long, the message was very brief. Melissa and Lynette are right, though," Peter agrees reluctantly, directing that to the others. "It could be a trap, which is why I called you all here. If Knox has been in touch with Cat, I want to know if that's true. I know a couple of you still keep lines of communication open with her, and I'd appreciate it if someone could verify that Knox has been feeding her information, and what her assessment of the situation is. Cat's a trustworthy person, more than any other person I know, so if she says Knox is on the up and up I'll believe her."

Shifting his weight to one foot, Peter rests his hands on his hips, thumbs hooked through his belt loops. "But if you've got people ready to help work with this, than I'm not going to turn them away. If even half of the people who left with Rupert are still on his side, then we have a lot of trouble coming our way. Thalia Ashford, Allen Rickham… those two alone could tear us apart with their abilities, which means we're going to need to be extra careful."

Furrowing his brows, Peter exhales a slow, steady sigh. "Worse yet, is that most of them are probably doing this against their free will. We can't just go in there guns blazing and killing people, in case that was on anyone's mind. They're— probably— still our friends and comrades somewhere in there."

But then, Peter turns his attention to Perry. "Perry is also right, though. Rupert can't be allowed to live, not after all of the terrible things he's done to us." It's right about then, that there's a bright red crackle-flash of pinkish sparkles and a ripple of heat, and Kris abruptly disappears from sight.

"You're right," Melissa agrees with Ling, before nodding to Perry's questions, all the while giving Edgar a hurt look. "They're Ferry. At least Eileen is. Gabriel's one of us. And trust me, all of them want Rupert dead." And out her phone comes, so she can give a ring to her favorite bird woman.

"How was I supposed to know, Peter? Everything I heard about that mission I had to hear from the news after I got out of jail, not from any of you. I'm clueless there.. And yes, I've got people. Give me a sharpshooter and if Rupert is in there, we don't have to worry about him. Gabriel's abilities are impressive, as I'm sure you know all too well, and Eileen makes the perfect person to find him and coordinate our movements. And my ability is good for disabling a large number of people without killing them."

She glances up. "But first I'm going to send Eileen to the address Knox gave us. Best to ascertain that he is there before we make any plans." She doesn't seem too concerned about Kris's disappearance, just takes a few steps away herself to make her phone call.

Lynette folds her arms as Kris disappears. Displeased, perhaps, with how the whole meeting is unfolding. Her Ferry meetings have always gone so much smoother. Much be something about terrorists that makes their blood run a little hotter.

"Well, my goodness, it's all figured out already, isn't it?" Of course, Lynette is also a terrorist. Or attempting it, anyway. She looks over to Peter, though, as she goes on. "And what are the rest of us supposed to be doing during all this?"

There's a curse in Mandarin as Kris disappears, Ling shaking her head. "Fantastic," she mutters, looking back at Peter. "Melissa and I had been intending to get in touch with Cat in recent weeks about several things. Many of which are moot at this juncture; but this… avenue of communication still exists." She glances back over Melissa, wrinkling her nose. "If Eileen is unavailable, I am still willing to see exactly who or what is waiting for us in Midtown. I have little else preparation to make, at this moment."

"Infiltration? Distraction and insertion?" Perry says, his attention devoted rather intently on what he views as the practical issue, the issue of decapitating the rival faction, one bound together by a terrible and irresponsible coercion. "Some special operation or covert element might help us avert casualties. But what are we supposed to do to them? Can we- uh- can we reasonably save them all? Some sacrifices may be necessary. Better to die and preserve some dignity, rather than be- uh- be chained and will-less."

Edgar inches away from Perry, coming to a rest a few feet away, in his own little space. Too many large words make him nervous, big words are what the man uses to confuse decent common folk. Folk like him. He's not completely against leaving some of this false family to die, if sacrifices are going to be made, it's not going to be him this time. That's what the look on his face says as he flits his gaze between Peter and the man.

His knives are still held in a firm grip, ready to be used the next time West decides to cross at him, but for now their points are down. "Yeah… Wha' 'e said," the carnie offers right after Perry finishes. Of course he didn't understand it all, but that's not the real point.

"We're going to save as many people as we can, Perry…" Which is about as comfortable as Peter gets to saying that he expects casualties. Openly admitting that he may be forcing people to fight their own former comrades isn't an enviable position.

"But, as much as Melissa like to think she's in charge of this, she's not. I'd like all of us to be involved in this. We all have a stake in making sure Carmichael is killed, and I know I'm not going to just stand on the sidelines because someone who walked away from us tells me to."

Bitterly, Peter shoots an askance glance to Melissa, his brows furrowed. "It's great that you're taking the initiative to get people together and plan, but we're not going to sit on the sidelines. Messiah is going to decide how to handle this as a team. If Gabriel wants to help you, so be it. But Messiah isn't a dictatorship anymore, we make decisions as a team…"

"I for one would like to not just sit on my ass while all this is happening. If Carmichael's actually out there in Midtown, I saw we go get him. You wanna' send bird-girl out there, cool. But I owe Carmichael five knuckles across his goddamned face for what he did to me, what he did to Claire." Brown eyes flick askance, and West looks to Edgar, then over to Lynette. "Why don't we— "

West is cut off by the concussive force of an explosion blowing him clear off of his feet.

The entire western-facing wall blasts apart with the force of a shaped charge, sending pieces of glittering glass, flinders of wood and concrete shrapnel into the building. Portable floodlights suddenly shine into the demolished opening, ears are ringing from the explosion, but the backlit silhouettes of armored figures standing in the entryway are unmistakable.


«Department of Homeland Security, you are all under arrest!» Crackles over a bullhorn from the back of the front row. As Peter lays stunned on his back on the ground, clutching his head and covered in stone dust and debris, he spies the black armored form of two members of FRONTLINE approaching from through the entryway.

«Wright, watch for movement!» Crackles a short, slender figure in their distinctive armor as she raises a black assault rifle towards the knocked over figures in the room.

«Copy, Sanderson.» Juliette Wright returns with a crackle of his comms, sweeping his rifle's scope towards where the large bolt of red cloth lays and where Risa is struggling to get up onto her hands and knees. A heartbeat later another shaped charge on the opposite end of the facility blows open a wall of newspaper-plastered windows and sends more debris flying into the warehouse floor. Boots move across asphalt and through the opening in the wall, white-clad men in plastic biohazard suits with respirator masks carrying MP-5 machine pistols in one hand, cans of negation gas ready to be deployed in the other. Beginning to march into the warehouse ahead of them in a pair of single-file lines, black-clad DHS tactical operations officers in riot-visored helmets and flack jackets are ready for action.

Behind all of them, standing silhouette with one of the portable flood lights shinine at his back are a pair of men in long coats. One of them stands tall with short cropped hair, a silvery bluetooth headset plugged into one ear, his gray greatcoat buttoned up to the collar.

Desmond Harper.

The other, his black wool jacket fastened shut and a scarf around his throat to keep out the cold is ostentably in charge of this operation. But the presence of Matthew Parkman adds one final nail into an already large coffin.

Outnumbered and outgunned, Messiah will need a miracle to make it out of this.

Or calvary of their own.

Melissa glances to Peter, giving him a cool look. "I never said that—" BOOM! Melissa ducks down instinctively, her back turned, for at least a moment, towards the explosion. She didn't get hit by the explosion, but her face is contorted in pain regardless. Nope, no shrapnel sticking out of her somewhere, there's no reason for her to be feeling any pain. Oops, until she spots Matt. "Are you fucking insane?" she yells, voice showing that pain, before she lashes out with her ability, not towards those in FRONTLINE armor, but towards the two suits. Well, them and anyone who happens to be near them.

A hand presses against the side of her head as she yells to what must be Messiah members. "Move your asses now!" And then she's following her own advice, except she's moving towards Peter. Stupid fool, even after getting a tongue lashing, she still tries to save him.

When Melissa heads toward them, Parkman narrows his eyes at her through the haze of dust and powdery debris. Being familiar territory and given the mental duress she's under, it doesn't take long at all for him to slip into her thoughts and push a suggestion there before doing the same to Edgar. They're among the known entities, and one has already slipped from his fingers once.

There just might be a grudge there.

Inside Melissa and Edgar's heads, one slightly before the other, a firm yet commanding internal voice rings out like a sounding fork.

Stand down. Surrender. It's the only way to get out of this alive.

As Peter talks about the new way Messiah works, Lynette can't help but smile. Does she look a little proud? She looks a little proud. She even glances over to Perry, like they accomplished something.

Of course, then all hell breaks loose.

And frankly, Lynette is new at the whole terrorism thing. Being raided isn't an entirely new experience, she did used to work for a gangster. But that was cops with warrants and was handled with a smug smile and an invitation to inspect whatever they'd like.

It's possible the offer came with a suggestive wink, if the cop was cute.

But this is a little different. And whether this is FRONTLINE or The Institute's FRONTLINE or whatever, it has Lynette in a panic. A no way in hell am I going back there panic. So moving her ass? Yeah, she's on that.

Very little time is wasted on Ling's part before her form shifts abruptly to a cloud of smoke, though for the moment it retains her ethereal shape, smoke swirling at her feet as she drifts backwards, eyes aimed dead at the DHS and frontline members who have decided to crash their meeting. She has already narrowly avoided full Institute custody once. She has no intention staying in that situation again. "Damnit, Kris," she intones in the whispery voice. How in the world else are the group of them going to get out of here is beyond Ling, and for the moment she is unwilling to leave everyone else behind.

For the moment.

Down the road or across the street? Edgar would rather die than allow DHS to take him again and if he's going to die…

He doesn't have negation gas, they do, but he's not negated yet and they don't have that asshole Haitian in their midst. The speedster's face contorts into a grimace as he glares at Parkman and fights against his own compulsion, the one that commanded him to seek redemption for his past… the compulsion that happened after Parkman started talking to him. "God.. damn… you… bloody… bastard! I ain't goin'! You can kill me firs'!!"

Smoke pellets at 700mph must hurt and whether or not they hit the target he's aiming for, they do go off in a purple haze that allows the carnie to take full advantage. Snapping more and more of them in his wake, it's the only distraction he's about to give his fellow Messiah members before he disappears off their radar for good.

All but one. He was flung into the past to save Melissa and he's not going to make that trip a complete waste. Grabbing her around the stomach, he hefts the tiny woman over one shoulder and zoom zooms as though his life depends on it. And it does.

In the carnie's wake, a faint trail of blood can be found… Apparently, he decided to cross the street.

The speed with which Perry decides to run, rather than fight, should not be taken for disloyalty or cowardice, at least not as such. It is certainly convenient that he should decide, logically and practically, that the more of them escape the better, and that, without a known ability, he'd provide meaningless resistance to this grim battalion of government dogs. But please, understand that if it made any sense to stand and fight to allow others the chance to get out, he'd be doing that. Trust him.

Things being as they are, Perry's head is down and his feet moving the moment shit hits the fan. He's following the trail of bloody safety lights to the nearest exit. In a terrible, almost-Thelma moment, his glasses slip down his nose, and he nearly smacks himself in the face rushing to keep them on. This is not the time to lose his visual acuity. Not with his ears already ringing and his body already shaking from the sudden shock of the explosions.

He didn't even know if he could bring himself to come. His recent adventure into the past, his chance to see his wife hours before her death, to hold her and tell her how he felt, was painful. It was even more painful when he had to follow his sister as she stole his son from him, after forcing him back into their life. He's let his sister have her time, but he's not going to wait much longer. He spent some time debating on whether or not to come when he recieved Peter's call to arms.

He's almost glad he's come late, now.

Griffin arrived right on time to see the DHS agents blasting their way into the building. For a moment, there is hesitation. He could run. He could leave, and live to fight another day. Live to see his son again. But then, that sense of self-loathing kicks in. Wouldn't he just be worse if he left his comrades…if he left Peter, and Lynette, and Ling, to the government. To those horrifying men. What kind of man would he be if he left them to a fate he's already seen, and did nothing to assist them?

He's also quite glad he brought six of his stolen guns with him, four of which are equipped with hollow points.

he front door is clear, with all of the insanity happening on the other end of the building in the warehouse. Griffin, dressed in his standard suit, doesn't allow his feet to touch the ground as he slingshots across the open expanse in silence, the doors opening for him. Once inside, he moves as fast as he can through the halls, his vectors propelling him along toward that warehouse. His red scarf is wrapped around his face as he moves at top speed, pausing as he nears the warehouse entrance to get a good idea of the situation.

Not good.

Four of the six Institute retrievers are immediately knocked off their feet by Edgar's 700mph pellet attack. The speed and hardness of the softball sized smoke grenades shatters ribs, breaks gas mask faceplates and sends them crumpling to the ground while others dive for cover.

Gunfire explodes into the warehouse as people start running away. FRONTLINE is quick to act even with only two officers spared for the exercise. Captain Adelle Sanderson trains her rifle on Perry's direction, opening fire qith a squeeze of the trigger as rubber bullets blast out into the night with a riotous report.

All of Sanderson's training and marksmanship in the world couldn't make her bullets hit home, though, not when a barrier of shimmering red energy pops up between her and Perry's retreating form. The kinetic barrier ripples like the surface of water when the bullets strike it, prompting a warning of «Forcefield Manipulator!» crackling over her comms.

When Juliette's slim form comes stepping in, she sees one of the two men who was struck by the shaped charges getting up, blood having torn open his side and down one arm, half of his face missing where rock shrapnel and glass tore away his skin. But Peter Petrelli's flesh begins to mend itself shut even as he rises, his body spitting out shards of glass and pieces of concrete.

«Holy sh— » Wright hisses before a spherical barried of glowing red light expodes right in front of her, slamming her backwards like a gigantic kinetic fist. The armored FRONTLINE agent finds her visor shattering as she flies backwards off of her feet and right back out the hole she made in the wall with the charges.

The spherical kinetic barrier dissipates as Peter clenches his fingers shut, only to take several rounds of gunfire into his back, knocking him off of his feet as blood sprays from his shredded clothing and demolished knee. As he falls onto his back, Peter lifts up both hands and creates another shimmering barrier, this time the barrier appears around the entrance between the Retrievers, Matt Parkman and Desmond Harper. Half of the DHS assault team is cut off, leaving fifteen men and six retrievers inside and the others segregated to the building exterior by the semi-opaque forcefield.

Griffin recognizes the ability in play. It's his sister's. Even if she isn't here physically, she's here in spirit.

"West! West!" Peter shouts over his shoulder, "West get everyone out of here now! Find Kris!" As Peter looks back, though, he finds West crumpled on the floor in a twisted heap, his hair matted down in his face and stone dust powdering his form, dark in spots where blood has soaked through his clothing.

He isn't moving.



The Basement of Howland Hook

Emerging in a crackle-pop of pinkish-red sparks and flames, Kristian Bender skids to a halt as his momentum is carried through his teleportation. With the phone held to his ear, Kris looks over his shoulder, the tunnels below Howland Hook where the barracks are unoccupied. "Alright, I'm clear, what is it you wanted Sir?"

A voice smoothly croons over the other end of the phone. «That's… that's wonderful, Kristian. Okay, I need you to head down to where my office was, you know the one with the reading desk and the snow globe?» There's a curt nod when Kris hears the instructions, disappearing in another crackle-pop as he does.

Emerging back inside Rupert's old office, Kris explodes into reality with a shower of popping sparks and a wave of heat, moving towards the desk upon which a snowglobe showing the city of Manhattan from before the bomb is set. "Alright, I'm here… what's up? Boss, I can hear shit upstairs, I— I gotta get back up to help them."

«Oh, you will, Kris. But first I need you to do something special for me. You've been so very helpful up until now, but there's one last assignment I have for you…» Rupert Carmichael's voice softly calls out over the phone, even as Kris raises one brow slowly.

"What's th— "


Kris' eyes glaze over.



Outside of the Howland Hook Facility, Desmond Harper moves away from some of his men, one hand touching the ear piece of his blue-tooth headset. "This is Harper, we're on. Keep Eldridge and the rest of the team ready, I want to make absolutely sure we get Petrelli alive."

As the call is being made, the noise of helicopters approaching loudly reports how serious this situation is getting. Two NYPD police helicopters approach Howland Hook with searchlights on, shining down into the battlefield. A third, black helicopter looks like a military Chinook, its own floodlight searching for an appropriate landing area.

Reinforcements are arriving.

Inside, the remaining retrievers not incapacitated by Edgar's attack stagger to their knees, faceplates on their mask cracked and breath winded from the smoke pellets hissing noisily in the air. As if in like kind, somewhere in that smoke, a pop-crack-hiss from two sprung canisters begins to issue yellow-white negation gas into the air, spinning canisters spraying it wildly.

Ash tuts softly at the sight of everyone down there waiting for his friends. "This is about to be a very bad night for you boys." he murmurs, lifting his AR-15 up and settling it against his shoulder. The under slung grenade launcher is what he's after, and he's got a row of five of the small frag grenades on the ledge in front of him. "Hope you guys appreciate how much this cost me." He murmurs as he lines his sight up, then tilts it upwards a bit to compensate for the grenades weight.

A dull 'whump' sounds as he fires off the frist grenade, trying to drop it on the heads of the suits. They woudl be command. A second round is very quickly loaded, aimed, and fired, and a third round before he scoops the other two up and grabs hold of the rope line he's got hanging down the front of the nearby building. He jumps off the side of the building, rappelling down a story before loading another grenade. The second and third were aimed for the biggest clump of guys, the fourth one is aimed for the men in armor, FRONTLINE. Another thump sounds as he fires it off, then rappells down another story before loading his fifth round.

He lines it up with the intent of landing it between the government people, and the rest of Messiah to give them more cover than what's already being provided by Edgar. Then he's on the ground, and takes a knee, assault rifle lined up, and he begins lighting off bursts of gunfire at the Institute men, not bothering to try and shoot the Frontline guys at the moment. The entire clip is emptied, shell casings hitting the ground before the man pops the clip and slams home the drum magazine he has for it. He's up and moving by that poitn though, sprinting… not away from the men, but towards them, lighting off bursts of his rifle as he moves. Ash, for once, is not in his combat suit. He's in a pair of loose jeans, and a t-shirt, not having had time to get combat ready completley after he heard the explosion, though he still has his knife on his belt, and his assault rifle, and well, the five grenades he launched.

When helicopters are heard Ash glances up and grunts, turning and begins to fire into the underbellies of the choppers, peppering the cockpit areas with bullets in a steady stream. He's got plenty of rounds in the assault rifle after all. But no rounds are shot towards the military vehicle, knowing his shots won't penetrate that one.

"Goddammit out of my head!" Melissa yells at Matt, just before she gets flung over Edgar's shoulder at high speed and whisked away. "What about the others?" she yells as Edgar runs them out of the line and fire and to safety. She's appreciative, honest, especially since it takes her out of the range of the pain she was feeling.

It would have been foolish not to expect violent resistance, but the Kevlar Parkman wears beneath his suit and winter coat won't do him any good against a grenade, or even large quantities of shrapnel. Thankfully, word comes down via one of the sets of eyes in the helicopter that there's a man on the roof, just in time for Parkman and Harper to get out of the way of the dark, explosive egg before it drops on their heads.

Thank the Lord for Thermal Imaging.

Parkman lowers the arm he'd raised to keep the debris out of his eyes once the majority of the new dust and dirt the ordinance kicks up is clear. The hissing sound of the gas being released is enough of a signal for him to slip on a mask of his own, ensuring the seal is tight. "«Get that thing surrounded,»" he snaps into his own Bluetooth, the annoyed edge in his voice a searing one. "«And get a clear shot on the fucking ninja, please.»"

Lynette's relief at Griffin's arrival is pretty obvious, at least to him, as she ducks her way behind the telekinetic and lets out a sigh. Despite the electricity at her fingertips, Lynette has never really been a fighter. Or, at least, it isn't her first instinct. "Thanks," is let out on a breath before she pushes on through those doors. And then she turns to wave Perry this way before she slips out of sight. Strategy: Scatter.

A half solidified arm reaches out carefully to Peter Petrelli, Ling being careful not to touch him when his forcefield is one of the few things keeping people at bay. "Now would be a good time to leave, Peter." Melissa is gone, Perry, Edgar, and it seems Lynette is on her way. A glance is offered down to West's seemingly unmoving form, even as she begins to drift backwards. "Do not be foolish while the rest of us escape."

Perry is unaware of the peril he was just in. He'd feel gratitude towards Peter if he knew he was moments away from being decked by rubber bullets. As it is, he just barely catches sight of Lynette's ushering, and however aloof he may sometimes act, he's more than willing to believe that anyone's judgment is better than his in this situation. Dialectics are not an effective defense against ballistics. He can't argue like a child on the playground 'we shot you' - 'no, you missed'. He's out after Lynette as quickly as he may. Scatter? Hell yes. To the four winds, and just as swiftly.

Not until he's decided that he and Melissa are a safe distance away (somewhere along the South Jersey shore) does Edgar stop running. Nor does he answer the pain manipulator. Practically dropping her on the ground after the short jaunt, he sinks to his knees in the sand and collapse onto all fours. Only then can Melissa see that the speedster actually took Parkman's warning seriously.

Rolling onto his back, he closes his eyes and curls his fingers into a loose fist. The thin red slice across one wrist is seeping at a fairly good pace that was only made faster by the sprint for safety. "The res'… fuck'em…" He feels badly for Ling but he's certain the smoke screen provided would have given her ample time to get away.

Griffin wastes little to no time, once he gets a good idea of what is going on. His hands flit to his jacket, pulling it open to reveal the six gun he has holstered to his bodies. The top four float out of their holsters, coming up to hover over his shoulders, the safeties clicking off. After drawing the scarf up to ensure that it covers his face and nose, he draws the last two guns from their holster.

A small nod is offered toward Lynette as she slips past him, the man tapping the sight of the gun in his right hand against his forehead in a morbid salute of sorts, his eyes gleaming bluish-white above the red scarf. Then, the man turns toward the door leading into the warehouse, eyes narrowed.

His last two vectors reach out of the door, up into the rafters, where they grasp hold of handholds. After a final smile is offered to Lynette, Griffin suddenly slingshots out into the warehouse, hovering over the heads of the other members of Messiah. All six of the guns are aimed at various FRONTLINE soldiers, firing the moment he's out in the open. He comes to a stop, seeming to hover in the air near Peter for a moment, offering the man a brief smirk behind the red scarf.

He drops to the ground, standing next to Peter Petrelli; the two unused vectors lash out out the nearest standing FRONTLINE soldier, reaching out to grab the armored figure's ankles and quite literally yank their feet out from under them.

He may not make it out of this free. But he can certainly take out as many as he can so the others can escape. Part of him almost doesn't plan on getting out of this. It would be poetic justice, to be taken in again after he attacked his own sister, wouldn't it?

"Run, Peter! Protect the others! I'll be right behind you!" This is shouted over the sound of gunfire. He might be right behind Peter.

40mm grenades raining down on DHS and FRONTLINE officers alike is akin to carpet bombing, though with a slower cadence of explosive report. The first grenade lands directly behind Juliette Wright, exploding into a fragmentary blossom of stone debris and concussive force. Wright is sent flying inwards to the building before landing flat on her face and skidding on the ground. The back of her armor is torn open from the blast, blood mixes with a mercurial fluid that serves as the reactive armor inside of the suit.

Wright's silvery-crimson blood runs down her sides and drips into swirling drops on the ground. Her voice, synthesized through her helmet, crackles and sputters erratically in a pained groan as she tries to push herself up to her feet.

The explosive blasts from Ash's raining grenades shudder the walls of Howland Hook, and while Agent Sanderson had managed to take cover, the rattling of gunfire from her AR-15 being leveled towards Griffin comes with a redirection of forcefield energy. Disappearing from the hole in the wall, the forcefield instead appears as a vertical sheet between Peter and Griffin, rubber bullets reflecting off of it with noisy repulsion.

Negation gas continues to fill one end of the warehouse, and as Peter reaches out to take Ling's offered hand with his own, levering himself up to his feet even as Griffin is yanking the feet out from under Sanderson. The black-clad female soldier lands on her back, a staticy hiss of fright echoing from her helmet as she lands on her back.

"Where's Kris?" Peter asks as he changes the shape of the forcefield to a sphere, encapsulating himself and Ling, with Griffin too far away to protect at the moment. "Christ— West…" Still unmoving, West lays bleeding on the ground while the others have scattered.

"Ash!" Peter calls out as he sees the miraculous calvary outside of the building, shooting up at the helicopters. "Ash we've gotta go!" Blood may coat Peter, but Claire's regenerative ability is ensuring that he'll survive this encounter — for better or worse.

With Lynette, Edgar, Melissa and Perry making their escape, Peter knows that just running from DHS won't be able to make the difference. "Griffin! Ash! We gotta go!" It won't stop him from trying, though. As Peter turns, negation gas draws close, and he offers a look over his shoulder to Griffin, brows furrowed and eyes wide, before Ling's sense kicks in.

Live to fight another day, or die before the cause is won.

It's a hard choice.


Below Howland Hook

The sound of duct tape peeling away from wood is noisy, not nearly as noisy as the explosions and gunfire that shake dust from the basement ceiling, though. Looking up to the flickering fluorescent lights overhead, Kris is crouched down beneath the desk, peeling something from beneath it.

In his programmed state, the young teleporter knows nothing of what to expect, knows nothing than what is asked of him. When his hand withdraws from below the desk, there is a partly tape-shrouded device, resembling an old cell phone with a lever on one side covered by a plastic box.

"I found the detonator," Kris speaks smoothly into the phone.

"What do I do next?"


Above Ground

One of the helicopters in the sky over Howland Hook wobbles at the gunfire, a door gunner who had been readied to call out on the bullhorn taking a shot square to the chest, falling out of the helicopter and smashing his chest on the edge of the roof, flipping his limp body end over end before he crashes down to the ground below.

The other two police helicopters break away, circling as they try to put distance on themselves and Ash, while the Chinook moves away from its landing area.

«LZ is too hot! I will not land this bird! Repeat, the LZ is too hot!»

Harper hears the words crackling over his headset, even as he leans around a portion of shattered wall beside Matt Parkman, just having barely avoided being decimated by the 40mm grenades. Out from the cover though, dozens of DHS operatives lie injured on the ground, and from the view inside, only two of the Institute's men are left standing.

The sudden explsion of gunfire from Griffin Mihangle's kinetically manipulated firearms sends the white-clad men toppling to the ground, blood blossoming out from their plastic suits in the moment before the negation gas washes over griffin, clinging to his skin, burning his eyes, sending all of his telekinetically manipulated guns clattering to the ground in an instant as his vectors vanish.

A good leader has to remember they're a leader. Remember that others are counting on them. A leader has to remember that sacrifices happen in the course of war.

Lives are lost.

Rupert Carmichael may have been the serpent hissing in Peter's ear all these months, but some of his wisdom wasn't entirely manipulative in an untoward way. Sometimes the lessons taught by Messiah's faux tactician were necessary — were important.

As Peter turns, encased in the sphere of his forcefield, he too realizes the importance of retreat.

But not without trying.

Like a hamster-ball, Peter moves with Ling's smoky form in tow across the floor of the warehouse, what little gunfire still happens inside pinging off of his force screen as he rolls through the hole FRONTLINE had come in, towards Ash's position. An opening irises in the sphere of kinetic force as it expands in size to accommodate two corporeal men. "Get in!"

Ash watches the helecopters peel off and away from their landing, a grin on his lips, and to emphasize his point, he lets off another burst of rounds, this time at the Chinook, sending the rounds smacking off fo the bulletproof windshield. It won't do anything to the vehicle but chip the windshield, and scare the bejeezus out of the pilots, but that is the intention. "My kingdom for AP rounds." he growls before turning the gun back on the rest of the government men that are there. He blinks a few times as he realizes that… damn near all of them are down. The downed FRONTLINE officer is noted, and a squeeze of his trigger sends bullets down range at her prone form. Ash doesn't fuck around with the guys in armor, they have a tendecy of not damn well dying. Like the zombie energizer bunnies.

Ash is moving the entire time he's firing too, not staying still to become a target, dodging and weaving, firing towards Matt and harper any time either of them pokes their head out of whatever they're hiding behind. Any movement from the downed government men earns a burst of fire from him as well, until, with a click his drum mag goes empty. He swings the gun around onto his back, and lets out a long laugh, ringing through the air outside of the Howland Hook. "You fuckers wanted some monsters to hunt. Well you've got them, and you'll pay for it in blood." He pulls the knife at his side and begins to advance on Harper and Matt's position, only to blink when a big red ball rolls up to him. Ash's head turns, eyes scanning his surroundings. "Griffin." he says with a grunt and a nod towards the building, clearly not about to leave a man behind that he can try to save. His eyes flicker to Peters, then towards the building, his knife gripped tight in one hand as he wastes precious seconds in indecision.

Melissa lets out a soft grunt as she's dropped, and she scrambles to her feet, looking around before looking down to Edgar. "Some of them, yes, but they're not all bad people, Edgar. I—" She spots the cut now, and drops down to her knees, opening her coat and holding a hand out. "Knife please. That needs bandaged and all I've got is my shirt." But at least she can make sure that it doesn't hurt, which she, of course, does.

Of course, the whole thing will get blamed on Harper.

Harper who was supposed to bring enough support.

Harper who was supposed to have the intel on who was present, and who was supposed to plan accordingly based on that intel.

Harper who was supposed to make sure this went off relatively smoothly.

From where Matt Parkman is hunched to avoid being a target, things aren't looking good for Desmond Harper.

That glowing red hamster ball is the object of Parkman's fixation, and he watches Peter Petrelli's progress as he draws closer and closer to them in order to get to Ash. Yes, his target is moving, but they both have some ground to cover before they can meet in the middle, as it were.

But distance is the least of Parkman's worries.

He dives in, not bracing himself for any feedback and gliding easily through when there isn't any.

You're playing into their hand, Peter. You're giving them exactly what they want. Unlike with Melissa and Edgar, the voice that might as well be shouting inside the younger Petrelli son's head is clearly Parkman's. I can help you, protect you, but you have to turn yourself in. I know what Carmichael's been doing. But you're only signing your own death warrant by trying to keep it in house.

With a steadying sigh that seems out of place in the hurried pace of what amounts to battle, Parkman blinks, hoping for all their sakes that he can believe Richard Cardinal regarding this, of all things.

Once they get out, Lynette finds a place to duck down and turns to watch the others. Panicked breaths sound loudly in her own ears and that blood pumping through her veins sends little white jolts of electricity zipping through her hair. She can't help it, really. But she watches Peter's progress, making sure he gets away, and crouching there ready to see about gathering the courage to do something if he doesn't.

Ling makes no hesitation in sticking close to Peter, even if she doesn't need to she somewhat expects him to have another lapse of his better judgement. Granted, it may only be a loose belief that Messiah might yet have the chance to prevent her from meeting a bloody end that keeps her from leaving Peter behind, but it is more than is afforded to most. "Do not wait, Ash. We must go now." A glance is give back to Griffin, before her smokey ehad turns back. ''NOW, before the gas hits.//"

Honor to those who do not escape. And the only way to do so is to live on and complete the work. Perry sets this thought in a loop in his mind, using it like a mantra. With purpose, he speeds away from the scene, leaving his car where it is, parked a discreet distance away but still… too easy for helicopters to see. He'll find somewhere to lurk, he'll stay awake all night. Going to sleep… is not likely. Not after this.

Honor to those who do not escape.

The knives are where they always are, two of them being strapped to his legs. These ones are the smaller throwing daggers and not the large kukri that he normally uses. Lifting up one dusty colored pantleg, Edgar pulls a small knife out of a sheath with his good hand and passes it to Melissa. "'ere… Jus'… I'm goin'teh…" And his eyes close as he drifts off into unconsciousness.

It's possible that he's blacked out from lack of blood, hard to tell how much he lost.

The glow fades from Griffin's eyes, revealing the green eyes there. He empties his held guns toward those who are still capable of firing, his face twisted into a sneer beneath his scarf. Then, throwing his empty guns off to the side, he ducks down, picking up a pair of desert eagles. He likes these, and tucks them away. He'll keep these. He grabs the last pair of guns, narrowing his eyes.

The guns raised, Griffin turns, surveying his surroundings, trying to determine the best course of action. DHS ahead, open skies behind, and the door he came out of to his right.

Guns still firing toward DHS, Griffin begins to move toward that door he came out of. Too bad it's cold as hell outside, and his bad knee is acting up today, giving him quite a bit of objection over things as simple as walking, let alone running. The limp slows the man down considerably, now that he is negated and unable to use his Vectors to aid in walking and moving.

He can try to get out of here, but there's no denying that, without his ability, he's little more than a sitting duck. If he is chased after, they won't have any trouble catching up to him.

Perhaps this is what he deserves for his sins.

When the gunshots stop, Harper makes a beeline away from the building where the fighting his happening. Jerking a tug on Parkman's sleeve as he does and pointing for an adjacent building and a low point in the terrain where a concrete culvert serves as drainage for the railyard.

Beating feet for cover, Harper lifts one hand to his headset. "This is Harper, we're going to need that second team in here. We're under heavy fire, choppers can't make the LZ. I need Eldridge and Roland out here ASAP." Running down the concrete slope to the culvert below, ducking his back up against it. "Additional telekinetic on scene, possibly a speedster still in the area. Looked like Smythe but I can't be certain."

Turning his attention over to the helicopters circling on a pass, Harper slides his thumb on a dial on his headset, changing channels. "Chopper three, get over the building, keep it between you and the gunfire. We need those trops, drop them right on top of the goddamned roof." Another slide of his finger changes channels. "Sharpshooters, are you in place yet? I need you to give cover fire to the Chinook."

Matt! It's a snarling voice echoing inside of Peter's mind, the frustration and anger of Peter's mind manifest in his subconscious. I'm not— I am not trusting you again! I have to stop Carmichael and I'm not going to let you stop me! Snapping his attention around, trying to find the source of the voice, Peter can't help but stagger some as indecision trips him up as well.

As Peter argues with a voice in his head, the roar of the Chinook makes a second pass over the building, its dual rorots cutting noisily through the air as it briefly makes a pass over where Ash, Peter and Ling are before doing exactly as Harper instructed, using part of the Howland Hook building as cover while lowering down to drop reinforcements on the roof.

A sudden thunderous impact has Peter's forcefield flickering and nearly shattering as the round from a .50 caliber anti-material rifle impacts his kinetic barrier. "Goddamnit," Peter hisses as he sees Griffin running through the warehouse in a limp in brief view of the opening in the wall.

Peter has exactly what Ling was worried about — a psychotic change of mind — and turns around, moving himself and his kinetic barrier back inside of the building, this of course is enough to help make Ash choose which order to take, and as he joins Peter inside of the forcefield, the pair and Ling's unwillingly dragged along smoky form are brought through the warehouse, deftly skirting the smoke cloud of the negation gas that now masks their exit.

«We'll have them surrounded in less than five,» Harper's voice crackles over the radio in Matt's ear, «Come on there's nowhere for them to run once the second team gets in place. Get your head down and let's wait until they surrender.»

Under cover of the gas and smoke, Peter hesitates before calling out to Griffin, not having a hard time catching up to the telekinetic, the front of Peter's forcefield opening like pac-man's mouth before closing down around Griffin and protecting him inside of the already strained barrier.

"C'mon, we have to go back for West and Risa," Peter intones as he turns to look over his shoulder to where Risa is crouching on the floor, hands folded behind her head back in the warehouse, tears streaming down her cheeks and West laying in a crumpled heap beside her. She's too afraid to run, too afraid to get shot.

Matt. If what Richard has said is true, if you trust him you have to trust me. I found Carmichael, Matt, he's in Midtown with the rest of Messiah! If the government is trusted to clear this up, he'll just go to jail, or worse get away!//

Staring into the warehouse,a vein throbs at the side of Peter's head as he projects his throughts to Matt. We can take him out. We can stop him, but you have to trust me to know what I'm doing.

Ash looks to Peter as the man turns his attention into the building. The impacts on the forcefield aren't ignored, nor is the concrete ripped up around them from the stray impacts. Ash simply scoops up one of the guns form the fallen institute guys and unloads it towards the Chinook. When the gun clicks empty he lets it drop to the ground with a clatter, hand slipping behind him and unclipping the only hand grenade he has with him, the rest stored away elsewhere in the city for safekeeping. The pin is pulled out from between his teeth and he turns, not throwing it towards the chopper, instead he rolls it just so in the direction of Matt and Harper.

Then he turns and hurries into the force field with Peter, muttering as he ducks inside of it. "Why do I feel like a fucking hamster?" He looks up, around, sighs and runs with the group into the building. He pats Griffin on the shoulder with a heavy hand when the man is scooped up inside of the thing. "Just like a dot huh?" he asks in a reference to Pac Man, then glances around, and moves along, stepping out of the force field if need be to scoop West up in his arms, holding the younger guy carefully. "I've got somewhere we can go Peter if you don't. Head for the sewers." He flashes the man who started this whole Messiah mess a grin and then waits to see what happens.

Shit," Melissa mutters Edgar passes out. She shakes her head lets her ability fade while she takes one of the knives, cuts a bandage from her own shirt, and uses it to tie Edgar's wound, as snug as she thinks is necessary. Luckily she's had enough wounds to have a good idea of that necessity.

Once Edgar is dealt with, for the moment, Melissa stands and pulls out her phone. She uses it to find out where she is, then to find a cab company in the area, and then they're promptly called to pick up her and her 'drunk friend'. Because, one way or another, she has to get back to New York, and she can't leave Edgar here. Especially not after he's saved her. Twice.

He's not there, Matt answers without missing a beat, already on the move behind Harper to take better cover, though trying his best to keep his mental lock on Peter, even if he can't see him. Molly looked. I know where he is, Peter. And he isn't working alone. This goes far deeper than you could ever imagine. Please. You can end this now. None of your people have to get hurt. Right now, you're only make it worse for all of _us_.

And that us has a definite ring of camaraderie - one that flies in the face of most anti-government, pro-Evolved propaganda, so far as Matt Parkman's image is concerned.

To Harper, Matt's lack of verbal response and the concentrated look on what of his face is visible beyond his mask makes his actions clear enough. While Harper calls for more firepower, his superior is taking the more subtle route to victory.

Still, that leaves Parkman's life in his untrustworthy underling's hands.

"Fucking hell, Peter," Lynette grumbles to herself as he goes rolling right back in there. She doesn't get any closer, in fact, she sneaks herself further away. But she's not the cavalry type. Rushing in to the rescue. She's really more of the 'passing out martinis at the victory party' type. But she also can't just leave. She knows if she goes in, there's a high likelihood she won't be around to protect Gun Hill on the 8th… but if she doesn't… who knows what will happen to these people.

For a woman with very few loyalties in life, it's a new feeling, to be torn between them.

Ling just glares dead on at Peter - Griffin was bad enough, but insisting on going back for West and Risa is insanity. "While I wish no ill to Risa or West, if you take us back there towards that gas, Peter, I worry what will become of us!" Ling's smokey features don't allow her to wrinkle her nose as she would like, but she knows it's no use pressing the issue fuurther - she's trapped in this bubble for better or worse. "I do hope this gambit turns out to be worth it."

Griffin is still trying to run as quickly as he can, but that knee of his is not good for running. It gives out as he steps wrong, the man falling to his knees with a bellow of pain. He's scrambling to get to his feet as he sees the barrier close around him, and green eyes turn back toward Peter, Ash, and Ling. He doesn't say a thing as he struggles up to his feet, wincing at his knee. Ash's pat on the shoulder prompts him to blink a few times, baffled. His face, however, says it all: Why did you guys come back for me?

That isn't to say he's not thankful that Peter came back for him. He was fairly certain he would be gunned down, or captured alive and taken back. Never to see his wife or son again.

Griffin turns an uncertain gaze toward Risa and West. Risa, he wants to save. West…if West is still alive, he could bring him to Abby, perhaps. Or the Delia girl. After a moment, Griffin glance to Ling, and then toward Peter. "She has a point, we may not make it if we go back for them…but then, you came back for me, so who am I to deny them the same courtesy? I'm following you, Peter."

Unfortunately, Lynette's decision is about to be made for her.

What do you mean he's not? Molly must be wrong, we have— someone saw him in New York City today! Where did you see him, Matt? Where is Rupert Carmichael!? Looking to Ash, Peter offers a sharp nod of his head in agreement, turning to head back towards the warehouse as the gas starts to dissipate and the sound of helicopter rotors begins to become clearer.

Outside, the clink, clunk, plunk of a grenade hitting the concrete of the culvert has Harper's eyes going wide, gloved hands grabbing Matt by the shoulders and rolling with the heavier man to try and get him out of the way of the blast. The grenade goes off, a concussive explosion that sends shrapnel peppering into Harper's body followed by a scream that is lost on deaf ears.

The force of the blow throws Harper atop barkman, blood reddening the side of the younger man's face, his jacket torn up, concrete debris raining from the sky in clattering impact. Harper slides off of Parkman, falling onto his side, breathing shallow and wetly as blood pools out beneath him from the grenade's impact.

Miraculously, Parkman is unharmed.

Harper saved his life.


The Howland Hook Basement

Standing in the middle of the basement hall outside of Rupert's old room, Kristian Bender angles his head to the side as he stares at the device in his hand, then looks up to the wiring visible at the corners where walls meet ceiling. Rupert Carmichael had contracted Laura Morgan to build countermeasures into Howland Hook long before Messiah ever moved in.

Countermeasures in case of invasion he'd said, countermeasures to clear away any evidence of Messiah's activities.

It was all a lie.

Thousands of pounds of C4 lie rigged within the walls of the structure, green lights shining now on the activated security countermeasures.

A door slams shut, a stairwell access that leads upstairs. This is the way it all comes crashing down.

This is the way Rupert wins.

"We can't leave them b— " Peter's voice is cut off by the sound of a door opening just a few feet away, his posture tensing as he sees Kris step out into the hall with a vacant look in his eyes, holding an enormous radio detonator in one hand, cell phone loosely in the other up to his head.

Cell phone.

Jesse Murphy had been on his phone the moment prior to his psycotic break at Columbia University that cost his life.

Larson Riggs had been on his phone on the rooftop of the building he was scouting on prior to unexpectedly unleashing his insects on the entire Messiah team the day Edgar was captured.

Kris had left just before DHS arrived…

"Kris no!" The forcefield collapses as Peter loses his concentration on it, rushing towards the young man carrying the detonator.

"Fortis…," Kris mutters as he flips open the cover on the detonator, his brown eyes glazed over in the command of Rupert's programmed trigger.

Peter's shoes squeak on the floor as he tries to frantically close the distance between himself and the teleporter, grabbing Kris by the wrist and trying to wrench the detonatoe from him. Down the hall, Risa's wide, dark eyes are staring at the chaos, a hopeful look on her face that help will come. That this isn't the end.

"Est…" Kris' thumb touches the silver toggle.

Peter slams Kris into the wall, holds out his hand to Ash, maybe asking for help, maybe about to ask for Ash to put a bullet in the teleporter. Whatever it is, Peter Petrelli's words don't reach Ash in time, even if his hand does.


The last thing they hear is a rumble swallow Kris' words and a white flash of light and waves of heat.

From the culvert outside of Howland Hook, the sound of a chain-reaction of explosions is deafening. The ground shakes, the windows of Howland Hook light up like a fireworks display and the entire building shudders as C4 charges layered through the entire building go off one by one. The resulting explosion is massive, ripping apart the building in a fireball that devours the structure, blows out windows and sends an incinerating tongue of heat and flame out of the roof as it splits apart and blasts debris and fire up into the night air. The Chinook is caught in the blast, as are the DHS officers on the roof as the fireball spreads upwards and the walls are pulverized by the concussive blast.

The explosion lights up the night's sky like a lighthouse beacon, a towering inferno of smoke, flames and debris raining down for a quarter mile in every direction.

Flames roar, smoke twists up in thick tendrils high into the sky, a burning epitaph to the remainders of Messiah, a further play from Rupert Carmichael for power and the insurance of his grand design.

The rough and tumble that occurs moments prior to the explosion is more than enough to shake Parkman out of his trance-like concentration. Shaking his head to clear the fog of surface thoughts and in an attempt to get the volume back to a tolerable level, Parkman rolls to his knees. It's then that he sees Harper, and more notably, the blood. But the choppers can't land. "Stay with me, Harper," he says at the agent, the words just as terse and official as anything else he's ever said to the man. He may not like Desmond Harper. He may not trust him. But dammit if Parkman is going to let the man die on his watch.

With all the stimuli plus his trying to get Harper onto his feet so they can move while also trying not to make it worse, Parkman has little luck clearing his head of even more distraction. But the thoughts that drift through there like cobwebs trailing from a broom snap his eyes wide.

"«//PULL BACK!»" he shouts into the Bluetooth in the same instance he lunges forward, with Harper supported at his side.

And it is decisive! Lynette's eyes widen as the explosion starts, but she doesn't have the time for even a well placed expletive before the explosion throws her from the site of the building and the chaos therein. She doesn't move at first, because… well, she was just blown away, literally. Once she can move though, it'll be a night of carefully picking her way to the nearest Ferrymen safehouse.

The explosion could be seen for miles, from all the way across the Hudson in Jersey, Melissa Pierce could see the ball of fire lightning up the north Staten Island shore. The flames burn bright, hot, and with them carry ashes and embers for those who did not find salvation in the hands of Messiah.

There would no longer be meetings under the rafters of Howland Hook, no security in th cover of the shelter Rupert had arranged for them. In one fell swoop, so many lives were snuffed out in an instant and so many more yet to come. Death, as they say, claims people in unexpected ways and unexpected avenues.

The swiftness of death is often times underestimated. It comes quickly, without remorse.

Helicopters not consumed in the conflagration circle Howland Hook, confused members of the Department of Homeland Security chatter on radios endlessly. It will take weeks to come through the wreckage of the administrative building, weeks more to find identifiable remains of the individuals who were killed in the fiery explosion. Even then, positively identifying them could take even more time, time that the world simply doesn't have left to give.

By Matthew Parkman's side, Desmond Harper stares up at the column of cinders and smoke rising up from the crater where Howland Hook's administrative building once stood. A smoking, glowing epitaph in the name of Messiah.

Rupert Carmichael's coup-de-grace.

One Mile Away

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

A rippling wave of heat and flames explodes into the air as Peter Petrelli, Ashley Williams, Griffin Mihangle and Ling Chaos materialize from a blast of flames and smoke. The four individuals crash down into the salt water and scrub grass amidst rotting, rusted hulks of tugboats beached on the northern shores of Staten Island.

A fiery conflagration glows brought through the stickbare trees beyond, and Peter lands on his knees, water sizzling on contact with his body. Unshouldering his jacket, he throws the leather off and lets it slap down to the water with a hiss, his skin reddened from heat and flames not just from the borrowed ability of Kris' teleportation.

Exhaling a strangled sound from the back of his throat, Peter hunches forward and slams his balled fists into the water and rocky sand, his back trembling and jaw clenched.

He couldn't save them.

Ash blinks, rather slowly. His skin burns from the intense heat. They died… or they should have. Ash's head turns, slowly, looking around him. "When we find Rupert… we're going to cut his fucking tongue out, and then we're going to carve him apart piece by fucking piece." He looks at Peter, his eyes cold and hard as they've ever been. His teeth grind lightly, and his head shakes a bit. He begins to slog his way towards the shore, seemingly unfazed by the deaths of his compatriots, then again, he did just talk about butchering someone while they're still alive and kicking. His head tilts to the side either way, then looks back at Ling, Griffin, and Peter. "Come on. I have a safehouse in the sewers. Weapons. Food, clothing, shit we need. We can mourn and rage there, but we need to get the fuck under cover and now." He stops and waits to see if the three will come along or need to be dragged along. He's fully prepared to fling full grown adults over his shoulders to carry them back to where they need to go. He sheaths his knife, after wiping it off and drying it on his shirt, then checks his rifle, pulling a spare clip for it from his back pocket and sliding it home, then racks the slide as he waits.

Shocked eyes found Kris as he showed the true horror of Rupert's brainwashing. Griffin hardly had time to react before everything happened all at once— Peter grabbed Kris, Peter reached out, there was a loud sound and intense heat— and then, he's crashing into the water of the harbor, landing on his knees with a grunt, wide eyes staring at the shockingly cold water.

Griff turns his green eyes back toward the fiery scene where Howland Hook was, his eyes wide. Rupert tried to kill them— Rupert killed everyone in that warehouse.

After a moment, the man looks up to Ash, then back to the scene before them. With a nod, Griff raises to his feet in the water with a grunt, moving over to Peter's side. "You did all that you could, Peter…we should get somewhere safe." A glance is cast up toward the skies, the hook-nosed man frowning.

The sudden relocation is something Ling has grown accustomed to, but in the moment it happens it is incredibly disorienting for the smoke woman as she reforms back into her solid self,s tumbling forward in a bit of a haze. Unlike the others, she doesn't feel the heat or the burn, but instead she leans forward with her eyes wide and hands on her knees, breathing hard. Her hands tighten their grip for a moment, and Ling of all people seems to be in a bit of a state of shock, her normal calm and cold front broken and cracked as she raises up slowly straight up again, looking between who's there - and who isn't.

The fact that anyone is missing bring a grimace to her face.

She had surprised Peter once by cracking an attempt at a joke. A hand runs down her face, attempting to collect herself as she turns her back, face hidden under hand. "You should have left me," she says quietly, eyes closed. "I would have been fine." Perhaps she would surprise him again.

The keening noise Peter is making turns into a throaty growl that is soon strangled out as Peter hunches forward and dips his brow against the icy cold salt water lapping at the pebbled sand. The creaking groan of old, rusting ships fills the void of his silence in the time it takes him to lever himself up to his feet, shakily. Boots sink into the wet sand, arms hand limp at his side, and Peter stares vacantly into his shadow cast in the water at his feet.

I should have stayed behind, echoes in Peter's head. But Matt is not here to hear it, to judge it, and that silent deference of his own personal guilt comes as his open hands curl shut into tightly closed fists.

Lynette, Perry— Peter isn't sure if they'd gotten away in time. That West isn't here proves that he wasn't strong enough to save the young man, worse of all that the image of Risa's pleading, hopeful expression is burned into his corneas.

He would have survived the explosion fine, but he couldn't send people away without going with them. He tried to— tried to stay behind and send West with Ash.

But he wasn't strong enough.

Just like Midtown.

"Let's go," is coldly offered in agreement after the protracted silence. Leaving his burned jacket behind, Peter turns towards Ash, brown eyes vacant and filled with an expression of unstated guilt over what has happened.

There'll be time for pep-talks, speeches, and shifting of allegiances later. Right now it's back to scrabbling around in the sewer like so many rats. Right now, it's back to being on the run.

"Lead the way."

Right now, honor the dead.

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