Up In Smoke


abby_icon.gif colette_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif maddie_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif melissa2_icon.gif tommy_icon.gif

Scene Title Up in Smoke
Synopsis As temperatures continue to plummet in New York City, people try to stay warm however they can. Sometimes, this can lead to bad situations as things go up in smoke.
Date April 9, 2010

Street in Front of Cliffside Apartments

Long Island City, a run-down neighborhood on the western edge of Queens, just across the water from Manhattan. From here, the skyline that was changed forever by the bomb is a constant reminder of what once was. A window into the past as well as a scathing reminder of the present. The waterfront is a largely industrial area, riddled with freight train stops, warehouses and shipping companies; the vast majority of which have ceased operations or gone entirely out of business in the wake of the the bomb. While this neighboorhood was spared from the disastrous nuclear fallout, it was crippled by the equally disastrous economic fallout. Businesses closed left and right, leaving blocks of abandoned facilities all across the neighborhood. As the property values took a steep nose dive, so too did crime in the area rise. Now, rife with gangs and refugees, the once bustling region looks more like a ghost town.

It is a dark cold night in New York City, though that is no different from any other night in the recent month since the Atmokinetic began their attack on the eastern seaboard. Since the power has been proven rather unreliable, many residents of the Cliffside Apartments have begun to use kerosene heaters and other gas powered options as a way to make sure that they can stay warm. At night, it is not uncommon to see the flames flickering away in the windows of the apartments. A common piece of advice is to not leave open flames unattended. Unfortunately for one pet owner, they decided to ignore that little bit of sage wisdom, and as they were away for shopping their pet cat knocked the candle over.

Flames quickly started to gather from the wick of the candle, spreading along the floor until they reached the canister of kerosene that the owner kept for fuel for their heater. There was no bang, kerosene isn't much of an exploding fuel so much as it just burns. When the canister melted, flaming liquid quickly swept down the hall, quickly engulfing more of the rooms with fire. People being to panic as the fire turns into a raging inferno. People are milling around the street, searching for loved ones and waiting for any kind of siren to be heard. The fire glows orange against the black skies as reports are told over the police scanners. Screams can be heard from inside the building, from those still trapped inside when the conflagration enfulfed the building in a matter of minutes.

On his way home to pick up Sable and their instruments for practice, Magnes is wearing his long zipped up black-leather trenchcoat, stopping above the knees of his white jeans with silvery chain designs going up the ankles over his black snow boots. A fire, a fire of all things, in the snow, great.

"Here's where I get horribly maimed." he mutters to himself, stopping on a roof across the street. He grabs a scarf from his pocket, wedding it in some of the slushy snow, then wraps it around his face so he can breathe easier in the smoke, and flies over to the upper windows of the building. "Jump into my arms!" he exclaims, but the Latino man in his mid thirties seems very reluctant, and ends up just getting pulled from the window and lowered to the ground with gravity.

It's not claimed and tagged, but the Cliffside is still some of Tommy's turf. Not claimed or tagged because he doesn't want to draw too much attention to the place. One of those apartments in this quiet neighborhood is a stash spot, guarded around the clock by a pair of well-armed junior thugs who's lives depend on taking good care of the sealed packages stacked neatly in the closet.

Tommy is in the neighborhood to spot-check the place when he sees the golden glow that spells trouble with a capital T-R-U-BB-L-E. Trouble for some young punks if they didn't rescue the product they vowed their very lives to protect.

Two floors up and at the street side of the apartment panicked screams can be heard coming from one of the windows where a billowing cloud of choking black smoke rises up from the inside. Curled up against the bare walls, sleeve of her dark hoodie pulled up over her face, a young and dark-haired teenage girl stares upwards at the glor of orange flames on the opposite side of the tenement from her. Swatting at them with a carpet, the swarthy and heavy-set super of Cliffside is in a panicked frenzy.

"These— motherfuckers! These motherfuckers I tell them! I tell them to be careful!" Emanuel Chavez was just supposed to be doing one last show of apartment 201 to a young prospective buyer when the flames rapidly began to consume the building that has — and never will be — up to code.

Poor insulation between floors, lack of working fire alarms and shoddy wiring probably all contributed to this blaze becoming so out of control. "You sons of bitches, sons of pig-fucking bitch flames!" Screaming at the top of his lungs, the rug that Chavez is using to swat out the fire on the side of the apartment where an exit is now catches alight itself.

Popping up and sticking her head out the open window, Colette Nichols feels the sting of cold air on her cheeks, wind blowing at short, dark hair and her shrill voice echoing down the road. "Help! Help!" She covers her mouth as the wind catches the smoke and blows it back into the apartment — she's trapped with Chavez by the roaring flames. "Someone help!"

How did Tamara now see this coming?

The shout from street level has Colette angling a look down to the young man across from where she is. "Hey! Hey up here!" The wind picks up again and COlette sucks in a lungful of smoke, staggering back and away from the window and into the apartment, landing on her hands and knees as Chaves backs away from the encroaching flames.

"I hate this building, hate it on fire!" He pauses, considering the implications of the unintentional pun, and just rolls with it. "Go— go back to the window! The fire, she is below us too!" There's a warmth coming from the wooden floorboards, smoke issuing up between the cracks.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

Melissa's with Abby, as the pair are hunting for a place not on Roosevelt for Melissa to move. Roosevelt Island just has bad juju. And as they approach Cliffside, Melissa seems to be in decent enough spirits. Not great, no, but decent. Until she sees those flames and sighs. "Well…guess this probably wouldn't be a good place," she mutters, shaking her head.

But then there's a familiar voice, and Mel's head jerks up as she scans the open windows until she spots Colette. "Oh god. Abby, Colette's in there!" she says, rushing forward towards, but not into, the building.

Ten minutes ago, Abigail was outside, standing beside her SUV with Melissa having freshly pulled up on the hunt for a home for her and Kendall. EMT uniform still on since she was freshly off shift when she caught up with the ferrywoman and had already hit up Confucius plaza. Bad crime rate? Check. Cockroaches? Check. Cheap rent? You bet. But that was ten minutes ago. Now? Cliffsides is hastily being scratched off mental lists as they regard the flames that leap about the place and the apartment building is quickly become the least popular place to live and making her old one bedroom in chelsea look like a potential Hilton.

"I don't think you're going to be wanting to live here either Mel" Abigail mutters, heading to the back of her SUV to grab her duffel bag. NO ambulances here yet and there's going to be people pulled out. She's grabbing people's arms, kindly barked orders for them to grab the two blankets in the back of her SUV, get them unfolded and ready in case there's any flamers coming out.

Except Mel's yelling about Colette being up there and she freezes, looking over her shoulder towards the building,s canning as well till she see's the young woman too. "Mel! Don't get too close!" Lord in heaven.

Unfortunately for one Madeleine Hart, her editor knew where she was having dinner with a source — and that happened to be fairly close to the address that came across the scanner. The newest staff writer on the Times complained — she's not the on-call reporter, she's not the fire and crime reporter, and she's not supposed to be working tonight.

But none of those went over well, and so it is that the Australian blonde, dressed ridiculously in heels and hose and a dress beneath her warm winter coat, steps out at a taxi cab, to stare up at the inferno. "Just get some color for the story we get on the wire," her editor said. Well, that is one colorful building that's going up in smoke. She turns, looking for a photographer that's supposed to meet her here as she stands with other spectators on the sidewalk across the street.

Fire cracks glass, peels paint and blackens brick siding; the sheer amount of heat and soot sloughing off the building as it burns acts as a natural deterrent, and even on the other side of the street, those assembled to watch the pyre can physically feel the warmth rolling over their faces and wafting through their hair. Eileen used to live here once upon a time, and in many ways witnessing its immolation is cathartic. Disconcerting, too, but neither is reflected in her face's somber expression, which is defined by its restraint rather than the emotional battle raging behind green eyes lit gold by the flames.

The gathered people sluggishly begin to follow the orders that Abby is attempting to give them, and even as she talks someone comes from the doors of the apartment running and screaming a blazing ball of fire that sizzles as the snow around their feet melts away. Its almost impossible to tell what gender they are as they run, trying to fall into the snow to put out the searing flames, their screams sounding down the streets as the fire countinues to engulf and destory the burning building, starting to spread towards others on the same block.

Collete and the building suprevisor's situations is going from bad to slightly worse as the flames begin to move along the floor, spreading to areas that are unburned and getting all the closer. The sound of Siren's can be heard off in the distance, they sound /very/ far off.

"It's that girl!" Magnes exclaims when Colette's suddenly calling, then he flies up to her and the supervisor's window, holding his hands out. "How many people are in there with you? I can get you out with my ability! Is anyone hurt, can you all move?" he loudly asks, trying to make sure he's heard over all the screaming.

The third time Magnes is saving Colette, and once again she has no freakin' idea who he is.

The aged thug is along the front of the building, well away should it decide to collapse on him, scanning the crowd for his people. Not that he can find them of coure. And that's when trouble really arrives, the *POP* and *ZING* of a bullet going off. It's in a third floor apartment, towards the front, not aimed at anyone in particular. In fact, not aimed at all. Too much heat cooking off some stored ammo in a closet. It would be ok if it were kept in a gun safe, or if they just exited upwards the way they were pointed. But that first 7.62 caliber cooking off from the excessive heat tips and scatters the box. Things just got a little more dangerous. And now that there's shooting, Tommy makes book and vanishes into an alley.

From the outside, all that Magnes can see is the pillar of black smoke filling the window that Colette had just been in. Her coughing and screams and Chavez' cries mingle together with the pyroclasmic roar of flames that lift choking smoke and thick ash up into the air. The flames from the fire are so hot now that the buildings across the street are warm to the touch. Even the frigid temperatures aren't enough to keep this infernal heat from seeming oppressive to those near the fire; only the light snow that is just now beginning to start falling from the clouds seems to be almost spiteful of the flames.

Inside the second floor apartment, Colette crawls on her hands and heels backwards away from the roaring flame. Mr.Chavez backs up as well, his face tucked into the inside of his elbow, eyes watering from the smoke, crouched low to the floor. But the combined weight of the pair inside that room is too much for the already burdened floors that are being licked by flames from below. Outside, the people on the street can hear the groaning creak and then the cacophonous split of wooden floorboards and screams from inside the building.

Smoke, ash and cinders explode from the second floor window, then the first floor window below where Colette was, followed by a gust of flames that spirals out of the shattered glass.

Inside the building, the floor of the second story apartment has collapse in, dropping down to the first floor and then finally smashing through into the basement. A keening, weak sound of pain erupts from Colette where she lays amidst the pile of broken wooden rubble, a smoldering sofa laid out atop her, burning wood all around and smoke rising up through the hold in the ground floor where she'd fallen.

Mr.Chavez lies on his side atop a pile of broken floorboards and smashed drywall that smokes with the heat of smothering flames below them. "Help!" Colette chokes out, her voice now so distant and tiny inside of the building. Staring up thorugh the gaping holes overhear, she can see a ring of flames lapping around the hole in the floor. Fire burns upwards thankfully, but the charred and smoldering wood that had fallen from the first floor is beginning to catch again, and trying to move out from beneath the broken planks and toppled sofa that lays atop hr, Colette is watching helplessly as flames creep along a throw rug towards her.

Panicking, her one free arm fumbles around to try and move the sofa, but the furniture is simply too heavy and wedged down by the other flooring that had fallen. Tears well in her eyes from the smoke and the horror of the encroaching flame, but it's that moment where she sees her house keys for Judah's apartment laying just nearby. The keys aren't watch catches her attention, but the small black plastic fob attached to it.

Maybe she did know.

Reaching out with a scrambling grasp, Colette winds her fingers around the fob, curling them tightly before holding her one free arm up towards the air as she depresses the button on it. Immediately, the people on the street can see a brilliant white light flood the first floor from the powerful LED. Eyes watering and smoke blurring her vision, Colette closes her eyes, dnies herself the use of ordinary sight as she concentrates on the narrow band of high-spectrum photons moving with that beam of light.

It wavers, switches through the color spectrum, and then bends out the window like a coiling arm of a snake, waggling around like some sort of neon bendy straw in bright neon green coloration. It's the only warning she can think to give, the only sign she can hopefully show to anyone who might be able to find her.

Mr.Chavez isn't moving, the smoke is getting thicker, and she's having trouble seeing…

Melissa glances back at Abby, looking pained. "I can't just leave her in there." But then she looks back and Magnes is there, and she frowns. "Magnes, get her out safe, please or I'll kick your ass!" she yells to him.

Then, uh oh, blazing ball of person. "This is gonna hurt," she whispers, tugging off her coat as she runs towards the person, then falls to her knees beside them and tossing her coat over them, trying to smother the flames. Then she aids the coat with scooping snow up and onto him, then slapping at him, or rather, the flames.

But of course she can't stop there. She's burned herself before. Everyone has at some point in their lives. She knows how badly it hurts. It's just a good thing that slapping at flames is such an easy, thoughtless task, so that she can focus on drawing out as much of the sting of the burns as she can. No reason for the poor guy to suffer longer than is necessary before he can get some medical help. "Abby!"

Already there's a flamer. Abigail's grabbing a blanket from someone, rushing towards the individual who's on fire, but mel's beating her to it, smother the flames as Abby comes to sliding stop beside the paun augmentor. Eileen is seen from her point right about then. "Eileen! Grab my bag! I need my breathing kit in there!" She calls out to the former vanguard, making sure she does it loud enough to be heard."Then help get hurt people away from the building!"

She looks back down to the individual under the blanket, lifting it to see if flames are gone on the top. Snow would have taken care of the bottom. "Sir, Ma'am, Medical help is on the way" oh god. The smell of burnt flesh permeates the area along with the burning building, seems to crawl up her nose as she tries to tenderly move the person square onto the blanket she brought.

And then there's bullets. Oh god, someone's shooting? Maybe, maybe not. Abby's ducking down, covering over Mel and the burned person, looking around. No guns visible and it's coming from… the building. There's a gesture to two other near people and orders for them to each take a corner and move the person away, staying crouched down. Too close to the building to leave the person there, not with the unhealthy snap and crackle and pop of munitions, logic and everything that she was taught dictates to move the burned person away and she starts to.

How is it she beat the fire engines here, Maddie is wondering as she averts her eyes from the flaming person, closing her eyes and beginning to move through the crowd, looking for those who might talk to her. She settles on someone who looks interested but not overly distraught — a neighbor maybe, or just a passerby perhaps. "Any idea how this began?" she asks, her Australian accent marking her as a non-native immediately.

Just as she asks, a bullet wizzes out of the building, grazing her shoulder to the point her coat is burnt through and the outer flesh of her upper arm is cut, a white-hot pain searing through as she falls to her knees, her gloved hand immediately going to cover the wound. Her sweet reporter voice is gone as she swears through clenched teeth, "Fucking hell."

Charcoal gray coat, brown-black hair worn in a knot at the back of her head beneath a drab scarf knotted under her chin, skinny jeans fashioned from faded denim tucked into a pair of leather boots on small feet — there's nothing to distinguish Eileen, still and immobile, from the rest of the crowd pressing in around her. Over the roar of the fire itself, pop and whizz of discharging bullets is difficult for ears to detect, and it's the snow abruptly tossed up a few feet away from where she's standing that alerts Eileen to what's happening rather than the noise itself.

There's no excuse me murmured thickly under her breath as she pushes past Maddie to escape the crush and cuts across to where the SUV is parked. Another bullet dings off the vehicle's aluminum siding, leaving a visible dent that causes the Englishwoman's head to snap sharp to one side. A moment later, she's hauling the bag from the trunk and moving around the side of the SUV, its taillights struggling to pierce the thick black smoke rolling across the pavement in waves.

"Get back behind the wagon." Eileen's voice, several decibels louder than normal by necessity, accompanies the sound of the bag being dropped into the snow beside Abigail and Melissa, a hand at the ex-healer's shoulder as she stoops to protect Melissa and their charge. "It's hit an armory."

She doesn't linger there long, however, and not just because of the bullets chewing up snow and anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in their trajectory. There's a beacon shining out through one of the first floor windows and Eileen sort of owes Colette Nichols her life.

The person who came out of the buildung has collapses into the snow, any vitals that they may have are very hard to find. The fires still raging as they creep ever closer towards Colette. The supervisor is starting to groan as he regains conciousness once more, though as his eyes open groggily, he is greeted by a sight that neither him nor Colette really want. Seems someone was using the basement as their own personal stock room for flammable fluids.

He's not in the first floor, so Magnes doesn't see the lights, but he does briefly hear Melissa's voice and looks down to spot her and Abby. He doesn't say anything, but he hears the voices and moves his hand to rip the window out, tossing it back to the roof across the street. The smoke is blinding and he closes his eyes, jumping into the building to start looking around.

He's squinting, trying his best to breathe through the wet scarf. "Where are you? Try to speak so I can follow your voice!" He can't quite see her or the light through the smoke, though a thought occurs to him. "Oh, right." and he starts pushing against the smoke and flames in the radius of his gravitational field, so he can move a little easier.

Smoke and flames operate differently than water does, it's the first time Magnes has ever attempted to manipulate the gravity of something as primal as fire. The smoke has no change in its windborn direction, nothing discernable at least. Though when the fire is manipulated it is like nothing Magnes has ever seen before with his eyes. The fire becomes globules of heat, little mercurial spheres of flame than immediately burn blue and dim when affected by the anti-gravity, swirling like the contents of a lava lamp but still retaining the same temperature. Astronauts in space have described the zero-gravity effect on fire as "unearthly beautiful" and as the flames push towards the edge of Magnes' gravitic sphere, they begin to turn orange again, rolling like gauzy cloth in meandering directions entirely at the mercy of wind. It is hard to describe in words alone how hauntingly beautiful the sight is.

"Help!" The scream breaks Magnes' consciousness away from the otherworldly sight, "We're down here!"

Below Magnes thorugh the shattered hole in the first floor apartment 101, Colette's voice soon becomes little more than a dry cough. She can't talk anymore, only send that wavering beam of neon green light dancing like the blade of a lightsaber through the smoke, flickering and sputting as she coughs.

Hunching forward, covering her mouth with her hand, Colette chokes out a pained breath as tears blur her vision and the horrified groan of Mr.Chavez fills the air around her. "Oh god— " Flames are crawling towards red metal containers of kerosene, contents that will undoubtedly rupture in an explosive shower of shrapnel and flames being under pressure as they are.

Unable to scream for help, Magnes sees that green beam of light break up entirely, just as his eyes catch the color of a carnation red hoodie and a young girl pinned under a burning sofa. Flames are surrounding her, smoke filling the basement and barely doing anything in reaction to his gravity bubble. At the very least it's making the glow of the flames manageable, but Magnes can feel the heat blistering his skin as he floats down through that burning ring of fire where the floor broke open into the basement.

Now all he has to do is get them out before everything explodes.

Melissa frowns a little when she's huddled over along with the burn victim. Until she realizes that the popping sound she heard was gunshots. "Abby, if I move too far, he'll be in pain again. Can you do anything for his pain now?" she asks in as low a murmur as she thinks will carry to the medic.

She pushes herself to her feet, taking a few steps towards the building. "Colette! Magnes!" she yells, now that neither of them are visible any longer, and to anyone watching her, it's clear she wants to go in and do what she can to help.
"I don't have my rig Melissa" If she did, there'd be morphine in a few moments, coursing through the persons pain. Over they go to the SUV, obeying Eileen's order especially in light of the dent put in her car. Maddie gets a hit, and Abigail reaches out while EIleen shoves past her to grab the reporter and pull her behind with them. "Hey, I need your help, I don't have much time. Mel, look at her arm" cause that's where blood is seen on the woman.

"See if it's really bleeding, wrap some gauze around it" Scissors and a sterile package are tossed to Melissa. The burn victims pain will have to happen. There's no way around it if Mel stops and Mel will have to stop. At this point though, the person is so far gone, one has to wonder if he or she, even feels any. An intubation kit is dug out, penlight out and in her mouth turned on, the former healer is adjusting the burned individuals head and starting to intubate in anticipation of the ambulances making their way here. "How you doing Mel?"

"If it's really bleeding? Look, lady, I don't carry fake blood to spurt around just in case bullets go whizzing about so I can try and bogart some sympathy or something, you know?" Maddie says, coming to her knees beside Abby but then Melissa is already running off to the building.

"I think your friend's a bit … well, gone." She unbuttons her own jacket, pulling it down despite the frigid temperature to look at her wound, giving a shake of her head. She picks up the gauze and rips the package open with her teeth, winding the tape around her arm. "It'll be fine," Maddie mutters as she tears the gauze with her teeth again, tucking it into the gauze encircling her arm.

That done, she pulls her coat back up and tosses her blonde curls out of her eyes. "What can I do to — hey, you were at the shelter the other day…"

Eileen does not have the benefit of being able to tear windows from their flames or fly — at least not in the traditional sense — and must resort to entry through one of the rear fire exits left open by one of the fleeing residents, a cement block positioned between metal frame and door in case a straggler needs to make use of it. As smoke is pouring out through the gap, she's squeezing her body through, headscarf pulled down to protect her nose and mouth from the worst of the discharge, though this does nothing for her eyes; they've already begun to water, further obscuring her blurred vision, which resembles a continuously churning impressionist painting in shades of gray.

Once inside, she follows the beam of green light, skirting along the edge of the ruined floor where pieces of rebar and support beams with the girth of elephant femurs stretch across the gap where the basement ceiling used to be and orbs of fire hang suspended in the air like miniature suns, then comes to an abrupt halt when it cuts out. The air is too thick for her to see Magnes, but the way the flames are behaving is a clear indication that he made it into the smoldering apartment complex too.

Gloved fingers hook around the edge of her scarf, pulling it down enough for her voice to hopefully be heard above the building around them. "Varlane!" she shouts. "Bring Nichols up! I've an out!"

The fire rages closer to those metal canisters, and certain doom for Colette Nichols and the suprevisor of the Cliffside Apartments. Screams can still be heard from further in the building, reminding Magnes and Eileen that there are still more tennants trapped, even as they focus their concentration on Colette. Another burned figure runs out from the door, by the sound of the screams she is very much female and very much in pain. Perhaps they can save this one. More pops can be heard in the background, as moer ammunition is cooked off, and Eileen feels a sting in her stomach, followed by a familiar spread of warmth…

Magnes is patting himself down to make sure he's not on fire, and he's surprised to hear Eileen's voice. "Who?" He has no idea who she's talking about, but he waves his arm and sends the debris flying from Colette, then reaches down to grab her. "You're that blind girl from the sniper thing. Come on, I've got you. Anyone else in here?" He unwraps his scarf with one hand, coughing a bit, but starts trying to wrap it around her face anyway. "It'll be easier to breathe."

Choking violently as she's lifted out from the debris pile, Colette watches with eyes shut as the sofa simply floats up and away from Magnes, drifting weightlessly towards the first floor while other wood debris drifts like its underwater. The way the fire globs together and floats around in her vision is entirely different than it is to Magnes', she can feel the light, feel the wqay the photos bounce off of her skin and sees it like a watercolor painting in motion. For a moment, she's as speechless as Magnes was, until she hears the panicked choking cough.

Not daring to open her mouth, Colette holds out a hand and concentrates the light from the fire over Mr.Chavez, illuminating him in a colorless ambiance that shines like a beacon in the thick clouds of choking smoke. Colette's thin fingers curl tightly into Magnes' jacket, and she buries his face against his chest as the smoke continues to attack her throat and eyes and the heat makes sweat bead on her forehead and skin redden tenderly.

At Abby's directions Mel glances back, face tight with concentration. "What? Yeah…yeah, I'm fine." At least she's not got the all too common psychic nosebleed. Yet. She looks towards Maddie, and frowns when she takes care of her own first aid. "I think she's fine," she says, before she looks around, and notices Eileen heading inside. "Oh fuck. Your friend went inside."

And that means…that Mel is darting in after her. Her focus on her ability is shaky, so she's about 20 feet away when it fades from the man in the snow and he starts feeling everything again. Assuming he's still feeling something. She stops at the entrance that Eileen took, covering her mouth and nose with her sleeve and coughing. "Abby's friend! Where are you?" she tries to call out between coughs.

Fuck, what's the aussie blabbing about. In goes the tube, out comes one piece and then she's attacking a blue rubber bag to it and grabbing Maddie's hand, squeezing it, letting it fill with air, then squeezing. "Do that, keep doing that. I meant if you were gushing blood" THe scream makes her poke her head around the SUV and the other screaming flaming person. "Oh lord. Keep doing that. One mississippi, 2 mississippi, count like that okay? I'll be right back okay? I promise, you're going to do good." She doesn't answer about the shelter, too busy snatching up her other blanket from someone's hands who's huddling behind the SUV and dashing towards the flaming woman so she can engulf her and get out the flames. God, but for a rig and a vest right now.

"All right, sorry, I misunderstood. You'll have to forgive me, I was just fucking shot," Maddie says, though she does offer a small smile to the paramedic, her hands taking the bag and pumping it as directed. She can follow directions. "You Yanks and your Mississippi," she adds, as Abby moves away to help the next fleeing burn victim. Oh, Maddie, only you would come to New York and end up part of the disasters instead of covering them, she thinks to herself, wincing as the squeezing hurts the shot arm — a look down at the victim she's helping tells her she has no cause to complain, though. "Where the fuck is the fire department?" She adds, before starting to count her Mississippis.

Eileen is leaning against a half-collapsed wall with paint peeling off in long strips that resemble ribbons, her silhouette illuminated by the ambient glow produced by the floating globules of fire. The initial shock hasn't yet worn off, and although she possesses the clarity of mind the cover the wound with her hand, she's only vaguely aware of the dark fluid seeping out between her fingers.

She recognizes Melissa's voice, distant though it sounds, and responds by raising her free hand to acknowledge that she's heard her. It takes her a few more moments of protracted silence to loosen her jaw enough to speak, and when she does her own sounds like a watery combination of silt and loose gravel, much weaker than it had been outside, but loud enough for the other woman to pick up on it even if she can't see her. "There's a girl coming up!"

Speaking of the Fire Department, sirens can be heard now that are much closer, however, also over the sirens you can hear the frantic honking of a horn, as those who turn to look in the direction see a sight that will most likely haunt them for a while. A fire truck is careening down the icey roads, sirens blaring and the protesting sound of its breaks can be heard as it tries to come to a stop in front of the apartment complex. The sound of a second siren is heard, as another fire truck coming down the intersection at a right angle to the road the current fire truck is going down, its horn blaring. There is a loud bang as the two trucks collide, the first skidding along the ice and totterring over as it begins to skid across the snow and ice on its side. It slams into Abby's SUV with the sound of shattering glass, and the SUV begins to skid towards Abby and the burn woman, hitting Abby with not enough force to do any serious prolonged injuries, but will definitely stun her as it throws her into a snow bank. The burnt woman… is not quite as lucky. The second firetruck comes to a halt against the first, the front smashed all to hell, and its quite plain that not a single sould in the cab of that truck survived. None of the crew of the second truck is alive at all, except for one fireman who is clinging to life in the snow next to house, obviously very broken, all of his limbs at odd angles.

Inside the apartment, the whole frame begins to creak alarmingly, and its clear that whoever is in there better evacuate fast or the whole thing will come down on them, assorted bangs can be heard as more canisters explode, the flames licking dangerously close to the ones in the basement as more rounds get cooked off, and this time it is Melissa who feels the sting in her shoulder…

Magnes quickly flies up with Colette, removing a good portion of her weight and nudging her in Eileen's direction. "Get her out of here, all of you get out of here, do //not/ wait for me, there's someone else down there." Magnes sounds completely serious, and dives back into that flaming hole to go for the man. "I'm coming!"

He reaches down to wrap an arm around Chavez's shoulder, coughing and squinting a lot himself. "We've gotta hurry and get the hell out of here!"

Hacking out a painful, breathless cough, the tears in Colette's eyes and smoke still stinging them leaves her clueless as to the identities of her rescuers. Panic has her hands trembling, and shock has her failing to notice the sliver of broken wood sticking out of her left side at her waist. Blood matches the color of her hoodie, but Eileen's fingers dampen with it when she takes Colette in her arms. Reciprocating that horrifying discovery, Colette's hand moves over to where Eileen'd been hit by the bullet, feeling the warmth of blood there too.

Unable to breathe, chest ratling, Colette only barely can hear the pop of glass, shattering of windows and screeching of tires from when the fire truck skidded out of control on the black ice slicking the road. It would't be the first time someone spun out during a storm in this stretch of the city, Abigail may remember spending a portion of a night in a snowbank here. But with six inches of slush on the roads, ice beneath and fresh snow beginning to fall accidents were bound to happen.

In Eileen's arms, Colette's body leans against the Brit's, her legs shake, heart pounds and head throbs from the fall. A thin rivulet of blood only now trickles from a split in her scalp, running down her forehead, over her eyelid, and tracking down her cheek darkly.

Hearing the voice, and recognizing it, Melissa starts to move towards Eileen. Before she can take two steps though she's stumbling back as she gets shot, hissing out a breath of pain. "Goddammit!" she yells, instantly irritated, and lightly slapping her right hand up to the wound. "C'mon Eileen! Out! Colette, out!" she yells before she has to break off for a coughing fit.

She grabs for Eileen with her good arm, trying to tug her and Colette along as Melissa breaks for the exit. She's not trying to be a hero, not anymore. She just wants out. Now.

Oh god. It's not her car that's pretty much going to need to be replaced by her insurance, that's running through her mind. Nor her stay in a snowbank with the youngest Petrelli. It's her struggling to breath and blinking her eyes while staring at the fire trucks and the sudden increased loss of life. The burned woman who can barely be seen and it's a given that the woman is just dead.

She's too close to the building for her liking, too close to stray bullet and despite the intense protest from her chest that scream and sets off warning bells in her own head about not moving, Abigail does it regardless, trying to will her body to at least crawl in her stunned state towards the fireman who was thrown, breathing shallowly. He's too close too and she can see the broken limbs but it's another one of those situations where the dangers of moving someone doesn't outweigh leaving them there. Death for sure awaits the guy if she doesn't. Death from asphyxiation, death from building collapsing on him. Hopefully someone in the crowd will see her and help. maybe not, but she'll try.

Ask and you shall receive, Maddie, the reporter thinks to herself, aquamarine eyes wide as she takes in the collision, scrambling away with the burn victim she's helping when the SUV gets clipped and skids away from her. "Holy crap," she murmurs, turning to look for someone who looks capable of doing the job Abby gave her to do.

"You, get over here," she says, jabbing a gloved finger in the air at a woman who doesn't look quite capable of running and helping others, but can probably count "one Mississippi, two" while pumping a bag. She instructs the woman to do what she'd been told to do, before she goes running through the snow to help Abby. "Tell me what to do," she says breathlessly."

Eileen's breaths are low and laboured, but between Colette and Melissa, the trio of women provide one another with enough support to navigate the burning wreckage and emerge out onto the other side. The air quality in the alley mouth behind Cliffside isn't much better than the air quality inside, and by the time they're staggering into the street, she's been reduced to violent, heaving coughs that are both hard and wet, interspersed with the reedier sound of her lungs struggling to process oxygen.

A snowdrift piled several feet high seems as safe a place to settle as any, which is good because Eileen does not have much choice in the matter. She releases her hold on Melissa and then Colette, staggers the distance to the opposite curb and succumbs to a slow sink rather than the swift and immediate collapse that her legs are demanding.

With a heavy creak, the building does begin to fall down, floors collpasing on each other one after the other as support beams ultimately fail. Down in the basement, Chavez looks up with a horrified expression on his face, knowing the inevitable, that his life is about to end with the apartment complex. "I always knew, this would be death of me," the man says in a quiet whisper as all the ladies on the street watch the building fall down. A whoosh of flame washing over Eileen, Melissa, and Colette, singing hairs and melting some of the snow bank that they are huddled in.

Flames are basically raging all around them by now. Magnes has Chavez over his shoulder, but as flames twist and rise around them, he finds an arm and the side of his coat on fire, burning right down to his skin. He has to hastily put Chavez down to pull it off and toss it to the floor, but then the building is coming down.

All he can do is use instinct, which is to get on the ground, cover Chavez, and push his field of gravity up as hard as possible while they're getting buried there, trying to deflect the larger pieces of what's coming down on to them.

Pale fingers curl inward and Colette can't even tell what part of the ground she's practically laying on when she slips from Eileen's side. The girl's on her hands and knees, hunched forward and coughing into the snow, choking for air, soot and ash smudged across her face, blood matting her hair down against her brow and the dull ache of that piece of wood penetrating her side now fully evident when she moves enough to disturb the sliver sticking into her waist. A keening whimper rises in the back of Colette's throat as her forehead brushes the cold snow under her and fingers curl against the ice.

Color bleaches away from Colette, turning the flames that roll out over her black and white like some otherworldly film nor, just shades of light and dark in total grayscale for the barest of moments before color blotches back and Colette rolls onto her uninjured side, hacking up a dry aching cough as her hand cups over her mouth.

The way burning embers fall twined with snowflakes is beautiful, if not horrifying from the source. Tiny little orange flakes of fire land around Colette, snow frosting her black hair like points of starlight in a night's sky, and she's tearfully looking up and over to Melissa, choking out a weak sound of recognition before her gaze settles on Eileen.

The snow around her is red.

"Oh fuck," Melissa gasps out as she falls face first into the snow bank, landing on her injured shoulder. She hunches over until the worst of the heat passes, then rolls over to cool herself and get off her left shoulder. "Okay…we gotta get away from the building. We gotta move," she says hoarsely, pushing herself to her feet.

Melissa crouches down by Colette, wrapping her good arm around the girl. "C'mon…further is better. You can rest soon. I promise. Just a little further," she whispers, trying to pull Col up even just partway, so she can half drag her if need be. "Where's a damn pyrokinetic when you need one," she mutters.

Maddy appears like a blonde angel that everyone tends to usually call Abigail. One minute Abby's tugging on the fireman and stopping to let out a bleat of agony as pain ripples over her ribs and the next, there's Maddy beside her. "Get him away" It comes out fast on a breath and a grimace from the blonde who will likely, definitely blossom with black and blue all over her to match the state of her ribs. Sorry Peter, looks like you get the vegan for sure.

"Pull him away" Even as she's still trying and failing with each tug causing her to stop and start. But she does it anyways, trying to help Maddie get the fireman away, dark speckles darting across her eyes and the smoke choking the both of them. Between the two of them though, they can make it across the street despite any screams from the fireman. But the building is going down and like she did for Maddie, Abigail's covering the both of them to protect till it's over, stinging eye's and lungs. Someone better re-call 911. She hopes someone re-called 911 and that the ambulances come with a bit more care.

Maddie is tiny, but she can try, bending to grab the man by the legs, nodding to Abby. "Get the arms…" and the two blond angels can trudge through the snow and glass to get him to the far side of the street. As if reading Abby's mind, she looks across to the crowd of not-as-helpful people. "Call 9-1-1 again, tell them the two trucks crashed and they need to send more," she calls, though if it carries or not as she huffs and puffs — this fireman is heavy! — is hard to tell. There are certainly cell phones out, most of which are filming the disaster.

The hand clasped at Eileen's stomach isn't doing much to stymie the flow of blood, and while she lacks the strength to join Colette and Melissa on their feet, she's capable of fishing her cellphone from her pocket, the light from its display reflected off the wan skin of her face and sheen of sweat clinging to it. There are worse places to be shot. Better ones, too, but these aren't the thoughts that are skipping across the surface of her mind as she uses her bloodied thumb to scroll down her address book — she's much more concerned with applying just the right amount of pressure for the touch to register without her thumb sliding sideways off the button in the process.

How much sense the text message she's composing will make by the time she presses 'send' is something that's up for debate.

As smoke begins to clear from the building, even as it still burns Magnes and Chavez are revealed in the ruins, still alive, though both are rather singed and burned from the flames, but no blunt trauma injuries. Even as more calls are mind, the sound of sirens can be heard approaching as first one cop car and an ambulance arrived, followed by another fire truck. These ones mercifully not wrecking in the snow.

Later on Magnes will probably be thanking God that both Raquelle and Claire made him stop using gel a long time ago.

He keeps his hair.

He's staying over Chavez, flames are being held at bay around them, but his burned left arm and the burned left side of his stomach hurt far too much for him to move yet. He's had a lot of physical pain in his life, but this is his first real burn.

Ears ringing and head throbbing, Colette looks over to Melissa, then to her right when she realizes there's no brunette there at her side. Eileen's laying in the street and Colette's eyes are going in shock. She recognizes the high cheekbones and fae complexion of the brunette laying cheek down against the snow holding a cell phone in her hand. She pulls her arm away from Melissa, boots skidding on the slicked ground, snow and cinders falling in equal measure around her as she runs back for Eileen, pain lancing through her side, blood running down her forehead and now dripping off her chin from where it passes over her eye.

Colette's scream rings out in the street to join with the noise of sirens and crackling flames, the sound of Abigail and Maddie's voices and the thundering rumble of the fire truck engines. The teen slides to a stop, landing on her knees at EIleen's side, eyes still full of tears from the smoke but new ones because of the fear.

She reaches out, already bloody hands seeking the blood at Eileen's abdomen, pressing down with her hands atop the brunette's, letting blood leak between her fingers.

She's screaming for help, Magnes is sinking to his knees just a few feet away, smoke rising off of his burned jacket in coiling tendrils driven by the wind. Red lights from the fire trucks strobe crimson across the snow and join with the danger orange of the flames.

Snowflakes and cinders dance together on the cold wind; at least some people made it out alive.

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