Unseen Hands


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Scene Title Unseen Hands
Synopsis Agent Corbin Ayers and Veronica Sawyer are accompanied by Agent Paulson when they go to investigate the former office of Agent Akado Ichihara, only to make a serendipitous discovery within.
Date April 26, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

The snow is finally showing signs of letting up for now, though this deep into Midtown's eviscerated heart, it doesn't much matter. It's rare for people to be out here, amidst the crumbling skeletons of blasted skyscrapers and gutted office buildings, the dead heart of New York destroyed by nuclear fire. The tracks left by a snowmobile across ice-crusted snow are easy to follow, but aside from the threats of polar bears escaped from the Central Park Zoo, there's little out here in the ruins to follow the two snow mobiles cutting across what was once Rockefeller Plaza.

At the corner of Madison Avenue and East 50th street, the once glass-faced skyscraper for the DDB Worldwide Communications Group looms as an entirely skeletal thing, little more and iron girders and shattered glass buried ten feet deep in snow with some sixty floors rising up above the ice.

Across from it, the blasted husk of St.Patrick's Cathedral is an ominous architectural corpse, stained glass windows blown out, cold wind whistling thorugh the shattered stone, everything abandoned and empty feeling. The lead snowmobile comes rolling to a stop where snow blows in thorugh a gutted side of the skyscraper, and the man driving it disengages the engine and slides off on one side, sinking almost knee deep into the snow when he does.

Fur-trimmed hood pulled up over his head, Albert Paulson shifts his weight and turns, watching the snowmobile shared by agent Corbin Ayers and Veronica Sawyer approaching his position. He squints behind his snow goggles at the ice flakes blowing across the plastic visor, lifts a hand to shield his mouth from the wind and adjust his scarf. This is a hell of a time to be testing the structural integrity of a ruin.

And they have six floors up to go.

When Corbin Ayers pulls up behind the one driven by Paulson, Veronica climbs off the back of the snow mobile first. Her face is all but hidden from the red scarf wrapped tightly around the lower portion of her face, covering noise and mouth, while her eyes are hidden behind snow goggles and beneath the hood of her snow parka. With her body obscured, she almost mirrors the short man — though his broader shoulders give a hint to his masculinity while her small frame suggests she is female — even if down-filled nylon doesn't show much of her curves.

She tilts her head up, hood falling away as she does so, to look up at the skeletal framework of the building they need to explore. She arches a brow. She's not afraid of heights, but navigating a broken building in a blizzard is different than skydiving and rock climbing. Especially when she doesn't trust one of the men at her side.

It's cold. Very, very cold. Corbin used to think he was good in the cold, and then the cold became even more cold. Turning off the snow mobile, which luckily didn't require any awesome driving on his part (they would probably flip over and explode, like a Michael Bay movie if he had to). Pulling his gloves tight and checking his coat, he stomps through the snow, high and thick, with a sheet of ice little deeper down to help make it more solid, and he looks up at the building.

"I remember it was on the sixth floor," he says with a bit of a wince. "Well— at least if the floor gives out it'll be too cold to really feel much." And the bleeding will be slower— but that's also exactly how Hokuto died. Slowly bleeding out in the freezing cold…

He shakes his head. "All right— with the snow this high we may have to find a window to crawl in."

"The entire west face of the building's blown out here, we can walk down one of the drifts right in to the second floor." Paulson notes, already on his way to do just that, trudging through the snow and sinking to mid-thigh at times as he makes the agonizing approach to the blasted windows of the skyscraper. These rectangular steel-framed windows are twice the height of a man, more than enough to simply walk through, and Paulson's eager approach is likely so that he doesn't have to spend much more time out here than he has to. After all, with his medeterranean complexion, it's likely he isn't fond of this weather.

Paulson is right, at least, about the approach. Moving down a snow drift and thorugh the blasted west face of the skyscraper, the agent is able to make his way onto an ice-crusted lobby of the second floor, where demolished and fire melted cubicles, scattered drop ceiling tiles and molten furniture warped by heat and flames is now coated with an inch of ice, like some sort of surrealist painting brought to life.

Crunching across the icy floor, Paulson treads carefully, noticing the slant of the floor itself as he looks for the stairs. "This place is a nightmare…" he murmurs, turning to look back over his shoulder at Veronica and Corbin. "Watch your footing," he offers, pressing the weight of one foot down on the floor, "everything's crooked and icy in here."

Sawyer follows through the snow in the footsteps of Paulson — his feet are bigger than hers, even if he's the same height! — as it's easier. "Sixth floor. Couldn't be the second floor, right?" she says wryly as she steps gingerly into the building, looking around and pulling her googles down to hang at her neck so she can see better.

She gives a nod to Paulson, a tacit thanks for warning them about their footing, even if she can't bring herself to actually say any words of gratitude. "Do us a favor and keep an eye out for collapsing beams or something so we don't end up dead, yeah?" she says lightly — no doubt that's why he was pegged to join Ayers and herself. "Let's see if the stairwell is stable," she suggests.

"I remember there's a couple stairwells— the one closest to his office was this way?" Corbin says, after orienting himself on the shattered second floor. Suddenly wishing they'd come with all kinds of climbing gear and other things. This is reminding him of that movie, with the guy who cut his rope and fell to his death so he didn't take his buddy with him.

Good thing they have a telekinetic? And that this place didn't have glass floors, too.

"I went up and down the stairs a few times…" Back when he was not dating the man's daughter… "But there could be freeze or run off, or damage from the bomb… If that stairwell doesn't work, there's others. And the elevator shaft— which I'm thinking would be a last resort." With what they have it's possible, but stairs sound so much better to him.

Thankfully, by the time the three agents reached the northeast stairwell, they find it largely intact. The stairs themselves are there, though the walls aroundit are demolished, the exterior of the skyscraper offering nothing but freezing cold wind howling thorugh themetal framework. Paulson pushes thorugh the doorway first, looking up the steps, then holds out his hand as a low tremor runs thorugh the floor at his feet and a sonorous hum of his ability. "Stairs seem safe enough…" he offers in a quiet tone of voice, steadily beginning to take the lead on the ascent.

Up the first flight and to the landing between the second and third floors, Paulson pauses to look out the framework of the demolished windows, out to the frozen streets and drifting snow ten feet deep beyond. Paulson is silent where he stands, brows furrowed and lips downturned into a frown as he stares at the ruins beyond, waiting for Corbin and Veronica.

The climb up a stairwell with no walls protecting them is a sobering one that Sawyer takes slowly, angling herself so that if she stumbles, it will be inward toward the interior of the building rather than off into the wuthering and icy wind to the snow below. When she catches up to Paulson, she stands on tip toes to look over his shoulder, before canting her head curiously. Three more floors to go by her count.

"Something the matter?" her husky voice is quiet, as if to speak too loudly might disturb the ruins they stand on, send the building crashing to a second death.

"Besides the wind threatening to send us falling to our cold icy deaths if it catches on our hoods?" Corbin says in his own whispery voice, shrugging a bit as he picks his way up the stairwell, sticking close to the wall, and keeping his hand against it for extra support. "You have the radio, right, Sawyer? I somehow doubt cellphones will be working out here right now, not in this weather. Any cellphone towers still out here are probably dead."

Radio for help would work better. Maybe he should have got a satellite phone. Worst field agent ever, or worst field agent ever?

"Think we can keep going up this way, Paulson?" he asks the guy in front, keeping his voice down as much as possible, but also not really wanting to just stand there— even if the view of a shattered block of city covered in snow is a sight people don't see every day…

It's a sight that actually… looks familar, in retrospect. Like a dream, when the Nightmare Man had been playing with Tarot Cards. Until now, he hadn't drawn the connection, but now he breaths out a puff of warm air.

"This shouldn't have happened…" Paulson offers in a hushed tone of voice, dark eyes looking out over the ruins, "the Company should've been able to stop it. If I'd— " Both of Paulson's gloved hands clench as he cuts himself off, dark eyes catching sight of Veronica with a furrow of his brows before his head hangs, eyes shut and he shakes his head. "Nevermind— let's go."

Turning away from the vista, Paulson makes the ascent up without confirmation to Corbin if they can go up or not, he just goes. Paulson's pace up the stairs is a bit quicker than before, like something is nipping at his heels, other than agent Sawyer. It gives Corbin and Veronica some space as he distances himself from them to check the stairs ahead.

The huff from Corbin gets a glance back over her shoulder from Sawyer, brows arcing. Everything okay? "Yeah, I got radio, we're good. Hopefully we won't need it. Someone tell me why we didn't ask for Delgado's help on this one? Oh, right. She was on some other thing…" she says drolly before Paulson's quiet — is it guilt? — comments turn her face back to him.

"A lot of things shouldn't happen, but it won't bring back the past. Let's keep moving before we freeze," she says in a matter-of-fact voice. Are the words meant to hurt him, or are they meant to assuage his guilt? Or perhaps more for her own sake? Hard to tell. Most likely she herself doesn't know.

As he moves faster, Veronica is content to keep her slow and steady pace upward — if she falls, she has to count on his reactions to save her, and that's not a gamble she is ready to take.

"Yeah, we should have stopped it," Corbin says outloud in agreement, looking out across the landscape again, whether it reminds him of a dream or not. How many things would be different if they had? His mother and sister would be alive, for one. Hokuto wouldn't have lost her father and may not have retreated so far into herself that she became what she did— so many things would have been different.

"This is the sort of thing that the Company was founded to stop— and everything after… it's…" It's not what he joined the Company for, he knows that much. When the secret isn't a secret, his job kinda became… odd. And it's only getting weirder. "Right, can't change it." Cause it's not the only thing he would change if he had the chance to— not by a long shot.

A few steps behind Veronica, he takes up the back, watching his step and being extra careful. He's not counting on anyone catching him if he slips, either.

Making his way up the stairs, Paulson clears the fourth floor, looking out over windswept office space where blasted walls, toppled desks and shattered glass lay strewn about in thick sheets of ice. Long, hanging icicles loom like rows of teeth at the ceiling, some of them long and thick enough to form pillars of frost where they meet the floor, glittering multifaceted columns of frozen water. Paulson hesitates only long enough to take in that sight before continuing up and around the stairwell's creaking ascent to the landing before the fifth floor.

There he stops, abruptly, and holds an open gloved hand out to the stairs behind him. Stopped there just before the landing, Paulson creeps up a bit further, listening to something under the howl of freezing wind playing the skyscraper like a warped harmonica. Dark brows furrow, and Paulson looks back down to Corbin and Veronica, holding up one finger and pointing above, then doing a little pantomime walking motion with two fingers.

What's that Lassie? You hear footsteps?

When Paulson indicates for them to stop, Veronica holds up the hand to Corbin behind her, glancing over her shoulder and then back up to Paulson a few steps ahead of her. She tilts her head, brows furrowing as she concentrates on the noise and on drowning out the other noises of creaking architecture and howling wind. She reaches into her coat for a gun, holding it down at her side as she glances back up with brows lifted at Paulson. "Can't hold him in place through the ceiling, can ya?" she whispers, her free hand lifting with gloved fingers splaying out in a parody of a telekinetic's "hold" on someone.

Much like Veronica reaches for her side arm, Corbin also pulls his out, keeping it pointed downward. Notably, his is one of the taser guns, because he doesn't want to shoot a homeless guy with real bullets if he can avoid it. "It could just be a homeless guy— though you'd think he'd freeze to death out here in this weather," he whispers quietly against the wind, hoping it doesn't carry too far, but waiting for the next gesture. There's a nervousness about him, and a seriousness.

This is an office he visited long ago, many times. He stopped for breathers on these stairs, back when they weren't exposed to the street…

"I need to see what I'm working with." Paulson whispers, looking up at the ceiling again. "Ayers, Sawyer, try and stay close." With that, Paulson's not drawing a gun, no need, instead he creeps up the stairs, trying not to crack the ice underfoot with slow, light steps. As he moves up each stair, there's a nervous flick of his eyes back to the people behind him, then up to the next floor. Slowly ascending towards the demolished wall that leads into the sixth floor, Veronica can see Paulson lift one hand slowly, gloved fingers spread as he approaches the doorway then just stops dead in his tracks, eyes going wide.

Below Paulson on the landing and approaching, Veronica and Corbin see him creep forward, brows furrowed and eyes darting from side to side, like he sees something unusual, but then a moment later there's a crack-snap of glass crunching underfoot and a loud buzzing hum as a wave of blue light comes exploding through the doorway, shooting over Corbin and Veronica's heads but hiting Paulson dead on.

The agent slides backwards with a yelp and a scream, falling backwards past Corbin and Veronica, clothing smoking from the blast of microwave radiation that scorched him. Paulson crashes down on the landing at the bottom of the stairs, and the sound of footsteps breaking into a sprint are heard just past the top of the stairs.

At the sound and that flash of light, Veronica immediately ducks, crouching down, her free hand gripping the icy steps beneath her to keep from flying off the side of the building as Paulson goes falling past her. Her head whips around to glance down at Paulson and Ayers with wide eyes, before she turns back to the doorway, raising her gun. "Fuck, is it Campbell?" she hisses, before rising to a half-standing position to move as silently and as swiftly as she can up the steps, ready to shoot at anything she sees once she reaches the top — her goal will be to take him out alive, especially if it's Campbell, but her priority is to get out alive herself.

And everything goes to hell in a flash of blue light. Is microwave light blue? That's not something Corbin's ever had the chance to investigate. It reminds him more of an electrical ability than anything else, but— how many people have seen it and survived. "Paulson," he exclaims, looking back and hoping that the man is stable on the landing, and not about to fall to his death, or anything. Smoking they might be able to deal with. Stable is better.

But then Veronica makes her way up the stairs, by herself, gun ready. "Sawyer— damnit," he mutters, before pushing his way after her, still holding the taser gun. Though he's not sure what that would do. She's got the radio, so he can't radio for back up, and part of him wants to check and make sure Paulson isn't dead— but the rest needs to make sure that Sawyer doesn't get herself killed.

She's one of the few Agents he actually likes these days.

Up on the sixth floor landing Corbin and Veronica find themselves in the middle of what can only be described as a lair or a nest. Newspapers cover the walls, clippings, cuttings, whole pages, all from the time of the bomb onward. Cork boards are stacked up against walls, rolling blackboards marked with chalk lists of names, addresses, dates and serial numbers. There's a cork-board opposite of the blown open doorway they enter with photographs of Company agents pinned up all over it, just like the ones found at the scene of the recent murders. Then, there, running for his life thorugh the large and open space of this office-like hideout is a small young man, toppling over a space heater to crash on the floor behind him, spilling kerosine and catching alight immediately, sending a curtain of flames up into the air between he and the agents.

Turning slowly, fire rising up between he and both Ayers and Veronica, Luke Campbell stands with brows furrowed, one hand held out and rippling waves of bluish white energy rolling over his palm. "Leave." Luke spits out, brows furrowed and fingers twitching, his other hand is clutching his waist, where the blue sweater he wears is darkened with wet blood. On a table near where he knocked over the kerosine heater, there's a first-aid kit open, pliers, needle and thread.

"Get out of here!" Luke screams as fire starts making its way for the stacks of files and paperwork.

Split second decision: Shoot to take him out and try to keep him alive for questioning regarding Samson Gray, meanwhile risking life and limb if he loses control of his power in the resulting pain and injury or shoot to kill and live but have no answers regarding the bigger case… it's a toss up, a coin-flip, a dice roll, and Sawyer has nothing of the kind to help her make her decision. There's Corbin with the tranq gun that might not make its mark due to wind and shaky Ayers' hands as a back up, and whatever Paulson might have up his sleeve if he's even made it up the stairs. "Tranq," she breathes out to Ayers under her breath.

At the same moment, without warning, she shoots — aiming for the hand that seems to be the source of his power first.

Technically it's a taser gun, but same difference, cause it has about the same effect in the end. Corbin doesn't even wait for the command to get fully out of her mouth before he's stepping up beside her and firing at the retreating back, illuminated by fire. His hands may be shaky, but he has been spending a few hours in the shooting range every couple of days, just for these kind of things— it's made his arms hurt…

Though the cold may make hands more shaky than he'd like, but he's hoping the shock charge is enough to take him down.

The gun goes off, the loud report of a Company-issue .45 caliber handgun. A fraction of t asecond later that round is exploding through Luke Campbell's outstretched hand where the microwave radiation is spreading from, blood follows the bullet, spraying across Luke's face before continuing on its path through his right hand and into his left shoulder, kicking him right off of his feet, spinning him around through the air and dropping him onto his stomach to the cold tile floor.

That is what Luke Campbell wakes up to. Being shot.

The pain is like fire under skin, excruciating, Luke's right hand screams with pain, his power splutters and dissipates when he hits the floor. All around him is the eviscerated interior of an office building, cork-boards marked with photographs, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, boxes of non-perishable food, a few boxes of handgun ammunition of the same caliber firearm that Veronica just shot a child with.

There's also fire, so much fire. A line of fire spills from a kerosene heater tipped over across the tile floor, and through the curtain of roaring flames, agent Veronica Sawyer and Corbin Ayers stand with weapons out. It's about that exact moment that Corbin's taser darts hit Luke. Not only has he been shot by a high-caliber handgun, but now he's being tasered. The boy's body wracks on the floor, back arches, jaw clenches and arms begin shaking and trembling as he convulses from the charge.

Sleep feels like it washes away almost immediately from Luke's mind, bringing realiyu into view like the backhanded smack of an angry sandman. Opposite of the fire, a man stalks up behind Corbin and Veronica. Smoldering from where he was fried by microwave radiation, agent Albert Paulson waves a hand at the kerosene heater and with a clutch of unseen hands, flings it telekinetically out the window of this paper-filled nest. It crashes against the metal framework and disappears in a fiery trail down to the snow six stories below.

Frustratedly, Paulson whips one of the newspaper clipping covered cork boards aside and out the window too, trying to keep the fire from spreading. Now all that burns is kerosene on the tile floor, enough to be able to avoid, and what will eventually burn out on its own.

Luke wakes up and it's to pain. LOTS AND LOTS OF PAIN.

Also, fire.

But the pain is more important, considering that he now has a hole in his hand and shoulder, is being tasered, and godamnit he never got that sandwich. He screams loudly, and around the jerking and twitching from the taser and the pain in his shoulder he somehow manages to curl up into a fetal position.

Once the suspect is down, Veronica pulls out the radio, her gun aimed at the writhing young man. «Luke Campbell in custody with multiples injuries. Send…» what, a van? through the deep snow? «Send the helicopter.» She rattles off the address and slips the radio back into her pocket as she glances around at the fire. "Grab what we can… Paulson, can you float the files out?" She finally kneels beside the kid on the ground to apply pressure to his wounds, reaching up to hand her firearm to Corbin so she can use both hands. Apparently she's not as heartless as she seems.

"Next time let me take a picture for evidence before you throw it out the window," Corbin says to Paulson, moving closer to touch the poor boy and try and see how out he is. Nevermind if he's not out he might turn into a microwaved blood splatter, he can still be a little— "Veronica, make sure that that goes to the Company only. We don't want those fucking black vans to come by— especially since this is an internal Company matter first." After all, most of the victims recently had been their own agents.

And he just really doesn't want to give anyone over to those black coffin guys if he can avoid it.

Casting a glance around the office, he tries to compare it to how it looked in his head all those years ago, trying to remember where he might have put the important files…

"Sorry, it was on fire." Paulson snaps to Corbin, though he's not deserving of the tone. Tense and singed, Paulson creeps over to look down at Luke, then up at the photographs and clippings all collected around on the walls. When Sawyer leans down to tend to Campbell's injuries, Paulson's dark eyes flick around the room, to a tree of photgraphs with some missing, it's the same thing that has Corbin's attention. It's a collection of Company agents in a tree, almost like a family tree to the untrained eye, but to Corbin it's a tiering of classifications of security. Bob, Angela and Linderman are at the top along with a gentleman that Corbin recognizes as Charles Deveaux. Cascading down the list are other old-horse agents, including Gael Cruz. A few pictures are missing, likely of the dead agents that were found.

"Who… the hell is this kid?" Paulson murmurs, looking down to Luke on the floor, "what the fuck is going on?" The telekinetic agent hisses, not having any real indication of having heard Veronica's request about floating anything.

Below the cork board, there's boxes, cardboard boxes filled with Company agent dossiers, most of them sorted through, most of them untouched. These people up here on the board are here because of some significance, but what it is isn't certain. Maps of the city are spotted by Ayers soon after the boxes, maps modified with marker and pencil to show roads destroyed by the bomb, city sewer tunnel maps. This was a staging ground of some kind.

Nearby to the boxes and maps, there's trays that stink of chemicals, the kind used in a darkroom. Clotheslines are hung with photographs of a trailer park and a tired looking woman that Corbin and Veronica both recognize as Luke's mother. There's photographs of Corbin and Hokuto in the window of Ichihara bookstore, taken from right across the street clipped next to photos of the crime scene after her murder.

Luke isn't making any move at all to microwave anyone, he's too busy suffering. "Someone shot me!" he gasps out, since he can't think of anything else that would put a hole into his hand and shoulder like that. Oh wait… these people have guns. "You shot me!" he jerks away, then looks around. "Jesus, this place is on fire! Where is this? Fuck, not again…"

"Yeah, about that, I'm sorry, but you were trying to melt us, see," Sawyer mutters, swapping out her gun with real bullets for one with darts instead. "This will sting," she adds, perhaps unnecessarily before shooting him as gently as possible in the uninjured arm. Walking, talking Microwaves are dangerous microwaves.

Her dark eyes narrow as she looks across to where Paulson stands, and shakes her head. "We're going to have to interrogate him later after he's patched up and when we have Rene in the room. He must be somehow in cahoots with that Batsu guy — or they're both staying here maybe. I really doubt this kid was keeping track of Company agents and founders." Once she's assured that the kid isn't going to bleed to death nor get up and use his power, she gets to her feet to get a closer look of the photos. "That's his mother… and Ichihara's place… Strange." She glances with a worried look at Corbin, unsure if he ever found the person who killed his partner or not. "We need to figure out the connection between Ichihara and Batsu. And we need to have keep surveillance on this place — Batsu will be coming back here, I'm sure of it."

"I somehow doubt all of this was in the files that he had up here," Corbin says quietly, looking around the room, while Veronica takes care of sedation. There's that picture, the one outside Hokuto's shop, that holds his eyes, followed by the crime scene photos. How would a homeless guy get their hands on those? How is Batsu connected to Ichihara…?

"Keep him sedated. We need to get back to base, I need to check on something." Something is certainly bothering him quite a bit, as he stands up, pulling out his phone and beginning to take pictures. The files may not travel well in the snow and the damp, and they could lose a bunch in the wind— unless Paulson's better at keeping the files intact than he is at keeping himself intact.

"Looks like that new psychologist will finally have someone to peck on." And maybe this will allow him to continue to avoid being pecked on himself.

"Leave it here." Paulson states flatly, stamping out the fire on the floor with a few quick presses of his shoe down to the tile. "When the helicopter gets here they'll send some agents down to get everything, Martin isn't going to do this half-assed. If you called for a helicopter he's going to send men in to lock this place down, there's not telling what's tucked away down here." Looking askance at the photographs, Paulson's throat tightens as he spots a familiar face at the bottom of that totem pole of individuals, marked with a bloody kanji.

Albert Paulson, or as it is listed on his dossier photograph at the bottom, Montgomery Biard

Dark eyes blinking at the photograph of himself in the list, Paulson's back tenses and his eyes flick to Luke, and then to the doorway. "I'm— going to go check on the roof." He splutters, taking a few steps back before turning around and heading for the stairwell.

The dozens of floors he has to ascend will give him time to think.

And maybe stop feeling sick.

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