Welcome to the Vanguard


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Scene Title Welcome to the Vanguard
Synopsis An angel, a wolf, a shadow, and two impossible beings congregate together. Some alliances can only be forged by the spilling of blood.
Date November 10, 2008

Eagle Electric

Most notable business collapse in Queens was that of Eagle Electric, a major manufacturer based out of Long Island City for decades, comprised of acres of warehouses and manufacturing plants designed to produce electronic components to suit all sorts of needs. The western warehouse of the Eagle Electric lot is an enormous and foreboding red-painted building made entirely from sheets of ridged steel. Amidst the grass growing up through the cracks in the pavement and the burned out cars in the parking lot, it seems just as uninhabited as the rest of the area. A large and ruined sign at the top of the office and manufacturing building prominently reads, "Eagle Electric—Perfection Is Not An Accident."

The screech of metal doors opening heralds their arrival, even if, to the naked eye, they might not immediately be seen. But silhouetted in the opening of the wide doors into the warehouse, Odessa and Sylar's forms become visible again, colours pooling back over their bodies when Sylar cancels the camouflage-like ability that got them from Central Park to here without being followed - or so he hopes. Outside, the sky is now black rather than the bruise-colours of sunset, and it's even colder than before, enough that even Sylar shivers, seeing as he gave up his coat to the blonde at his side.

He says nothing to her, just leads the way, listening for heart beats, as well as one in particular. He looks a little on guard - he's never brought anyone back here, after all, so this should be an interesting experience.

The blonde companion at Sylar's side follows him without apprehension. At least, the trip here was met without apprehension. But a glance up at the psychopathic killer brings a knot to her stomach. If he's uneasy… She trusts Sylar without question, but when he's actually nervous about something? That gives her cause for pause.

Darkness is stretched across the ridged steel roof, as if a swathe of deep night above was ripped free and dropped across the Eagle Electric, an absence of light too complete to be mistaken for a shadow, neither an origin beam from behind nor distinct edges to define a perching silhouette. Wu-Long. He watches from above from a face that has no face and eyes that consumes light even as they receives it, inconspicuous to those who don't know to look for him but clear a sign as there can be to anyone who does that someone is home.

There's no visible signal nor audible. Not from the outside, in any case. As Sylar and his diminutive companion break into the perimeter, the strange sentry merely flickers and recedes, drawing out of view even as he circumscribes himself with a zone of perfect silence.

"…hope that I've made it absolutely clear, that if anything were to happen to Munin, it could endanger our work more than you could imagine." Kazimir's deep and rough voice resounds through the warehouse, bouncing across the white-cloth shrouded freight cargo stacked up high on old wooden palettes. "I am entrusting you with a great deal here, Ethan. I will not have that trust be turned around into failure, not this deeply into…"

The moment Kazimir's voice trails off, it is likely he realized the nature of the warning given to the interior. What had only bee the sound of voices to Odessa and Sylar soon turn into silhouettes moving through shafts of artificial light spilling through the high interior windows at sharp angles. The metered stride of hard-soled shoes interspersed with the click of a steel-tipped cane come one after another, and along with them another set of softer footsteps.

Kazimir, with Ethan shortly behind him, approach Sylar with a brisk pace. Those pale blue eyes of Kazimir's move immediately to the unfamiliar form, and he stops in his tracks. One hand curls around the steel wolf's head at the top of his cane, and then he shifts his stance, resting both hands atop the cane, head tilting to the side. "The angel of judgment brings a spirit here… unannounced."

Sylar's gaze flickers up to the warehouse rafters, for just a moment. That's the only indication given that he's noticed anything amiss, because Kazimir and Ethan's voices are far more interesting. He raises a hand, and with a creak, the doors shut behind himself and Odessa as if on their own accord. He actually, then, offers a hand to the blonde to take, should she wish, before moving further into the space as the elderly man and one of his more loyal follows enter as well. The killer stops short when Kazimir is the one to move towards him, and maybe there's the slightest of steps back. Just an inch and a half. "I would've called head," Sylar says, wryly, looking from Ethan to Kazimir. "I don't have a phone, though." He tilts his head a little, hearing Ethan's barely spoken whisper, and chooses instead to answer out loud. "This is Odessa Knutson. She's a doctor."

Kazimir and his loyal Wolf's arrival cause Odessa to freeze for a moment so brief one has to wonder if it was merely imagined. The doctor is the picture of calm composure in the face of… whatever it is that these two seem to be. Whatever it is, Doctor Knutson is sure it isn't good. And Sylar has to wonder just how she managed to lace her fingers with his and start squeezing so hard without feeling her hand slide into his first. She stays silent, offering neither a smile nor a greeting beyond the slight incline of her head.

Hearing one's superiors being given a harsh reminder or a tongue-lashing doesn't bring Wu-Long the visceral wriggle of pleasure that it has some of the comrades he's seen, sneering at their drill sergeant's latest political mess— comeuppance, they thought, for ill-treatment wrought on them. Then again, he isn't susceptible to many visceral wriggles, period. There are a few exceptions. He would rather like something to eat, at the moment, and after that, to slake a thirst that neither whisky nor water would fulfill. Such organic concerns are, however, secondary to overseeing the scenario that's emerging within the warehouse.

He loops in through the doorway a fraction of an instant before it closes, ribbons black down the wall and bounces like a kitten across steel shelves and crated supplies, roils along the pull of gravity. Solidifies an instant before hitting the ground, his boots connecting with an impression on air that barely registers a sound, leather coat flaring as he straightens. He's at Dr. Knutson's flank. He peers at her inquisitively, hands in his pockets. The smell of nicotine is dissipating from his loose hair.

Kazimir remains motionless, his eyes drifting up and down Odessa as if she were something for purchase that needed evaluation. Nearby, there is a contrast of the abandoned crates found in boxes of ammo and racks of automatic weapons leaning up against the wall beyond where the leader of the Vanguard and Ethan stand. Gray brows lower, and Kazimir leans his head back, as if having seen something distasteful, his tone of voice however does not indicate anything of the sort, "Odessa is a name that can mean many things…" One brow lowers, leaving the other raised, "It comes from a story that is the quintessential heroic journey; the Odyssey. In masculine terms, the name means angry man." His eyes wander to the floor, as if unimpressed with the definition, "But the Russian importing of it, to which I am more familiar with, means odyssey — a journey."

Kazimir begins walking forward, two steps and a click of his cane, closing the distance just a bit more, but a couple of feet out of arm's reach. "It is auspicious that your journey has found you here, Doctor Knutson." One hand motions towards Sylar, "To be brought here by our own Mister Gray," the hand lowers, returning to the cane, "that is also significant." Kazimir is given pause, watching Odessa carefully for a moment before looking up to Sylar, then back to the blonde. "And so I am left to wonder, why do you threaten to end your journey here?" His brows both return to a neutral position, and his eyes wander to the floor while his tone of vhoice takes on an almost whimsical bent, "There are better places to die."

Cold eyes rest on Odessa from behind Kazimir. He does not move, he does not speak. Ethan simply waits for whatever Kazimir tells him to do. He's in enough emotional trauma to go out on a limb and ruin Kazimir's unique inquisition. His hand remains on his gun, his eyes remain on Odessa. While he remains cool in his gaze, he does note a few things about her. Should she survive Kazimir's special conversation, he should like the chance to speak with her. For a moment his eyes slide over to Wu-Long, as if to tell him such a thing, but unless Wu-Long makes eye contact.. Their manly bonding over womanizing may never come.

It's the hand in his that gains Sylar's attention, the sudden squeeze around his fingers almost startling before he looks back up at her. It'd be tempting to truly figure her out. Perhaps if this goes badly, he will have that opportunity. The sound of Wu-Long's heart beat suddenly appearing not so far away from the pair draws Sylar's gaze next, but then, ultimately, it's the questionably most dangerous man in the room that gets his attention. The use of his name, while infernally irksome, is a petty thing to bring up out loud.

So he doesn't. Out loud.

In present company, Mister Volken, his voice flits through Kazimir's head almost whimsically - something one might thing he wouldn't have the audacity to do considering his almost subdued demeanor around the man, but there you have it, my real name is more than appropriate.

As for what's spoken and heard for everyone? It's Odessa's cue.

"The name was not of my choosing," Odessa remarks blandly. "The meaning of it is only that I was born in a town bearing the name. My caretakers were horribly uncreative. I doubt they cared very little for my destiny." In Sylar's hand, Odessa's fingers twitch, her grip tightening and loosening sporadically. There's nary a flinch as the shadow comes to flank her. The blonde keeps her cool, merely turning her head to peer at this curiosity from the corner of her eye, much in the same manner he eyes her. But Kazimir is the one who commands all the attention, and so to him it is returned. "I can assure you that I am made of sterner stuff. As you can see, even your angel has not taken my life." She doesn't make the mistake of saying that Sylar is unable to take her life, but she merely points out that he has chosen not to. "I'm sure there are far, far better places to die. I've no intention of dying here, or anywhere."

A faint smile creeps up on Kazimir's lips as his eyes settle on Sylar, then drift back to Odessa. "Destiny has a way of finding you, not being chosen." He looks over to Wu-Long, giving the soldier an approving nod, though his words are still directed to Odessa. "Intending to die somewhere, and letting death find you are entirely unrelated things. Just like destiny, death does not wait for permission, or for invitation." He shifts his weight, favoring one foot more than the other, "Though death will not turn down an invitation given."

With that, his eyes flick up to Sylar, "I presume, then, that you have an intention for beinging Doctor Knutson here?" Kazimir's head cants to the side, his thumb brushing over the thin gouge in the brow of the wolf's head on his cane. "Elaborate upon it."

Peat-black eyes make a miniature saccadic motion, a fraction of a degree, meet Ethan's gaze with blandness a little too studied— even for him— to be entirely humorless. His eyebrows dip, and his attention transfers back to the intrepid little doctor and the General to whom she speaks. His wife used to be a doctor. She reminds him of her for that and other things: carriage, address to superiors, intelligent fear tempered with a certain confident factuality, built with the cold delicacy of a boreal window frost pattern. At Kazimir's acknowledgment, there's a faint inclination of his head. He doesn't distract. He's curious. Not the least of which about what Sylar indeed intended.

When bid to speak, Sylar releases Odessa's hand - that make take a little shaking loose, as she's holding on rather tightly - and he steps forward as if to make up for the half-step he'd taken back, eyes on Kazimir. "We work like clockwork," he says. "Out of trust, or faith in this cause, or because it's what we do. Because we have no choice. You know my ability maybe better than I do," and that's a rather powerful concession to make, for Sylar - he who tries to learn and understand everything, these powers especially, "so you'll know I have a talent for putting the pieces together," he glances back towards Odessa, "putting them where they should be." To Kazimir once more. "Doctor Knutson didn't fit right with the Company anymore."

It does take a significant amount of prying to free Sylar's hand from Odessa's, and even then she's trailing off after him until he's out of reach. Don't leave me. Both hands drop to her sides now, where her fingers flex restlessly. Alternating between wiggling individually like windchimes caught in a breeze and spasming all at once from fists to outstretched and splayed. "If I may be so bold," she offers in supplementation to Sylar's elaboration, "I fit well with…" She hesitates for a moment before offering her companion a genuine smile, turning into one of self-assurance when she turns her gaze back to Kazimir. "Sylar," she speaks the name he's chosen. It's an acknowledgment of where her loyalties lie in this case, even in the face of this impossible creature. Then again, it must take one to know one. Something mischievous glints in the woman's eyes as she unabashedly studies Kazimir's face.

"The Company?" Kazimir says with interest as he tilts his head to the side, regarding the blonde woman with a level of scrutiny usually reserved for his subordinates. He begins to move, footsteps slow as he circles around her, pale blue eyes tracing the silhouette of her body as he walks, "It's not that I know your ability better than you, Gabriel, but it's that you limit your own understanding of your capabilities based upon your own predelictation towards personal goals." Kazimir stops behind Odessa, glancing over to Ethan for a moment, then back to the blonde doctor. "If you were given sufficient means to pursue your abilities to their full potential, you would realize exactly what you are capable of."

One gray brow rises slowly, "So, she is complementary to you…" With a click of his cane on the floor, Kazimir circles around Odessa slowly, arriving back to face her again. "Why does that not surprise me?" Kazimir's head cants to the side, blue eyes assessing Odessa with a quizzical look, "I can't deny my curiosity as to what this woman could mean to you, in her unique capacity."

Looking up to Sylar, Kazimir watches his protege carefully, then to Ethan. "This is the kind of situation I was speaking of to you. Comprimising of our security." Blue eyes flick to Odessa, "But, were it not for Gabriel's vouching of you, I would not give you this opportunity…" Kazimir's thumb pushes up on the chin of the wolf's head of his cane with a click, and for the briefest moment there is a glimmer of something shiny that catches Sylar's attention, followed by a wicked and swift swipe of Kazimir's arm and a flash of steel through the air. The gleaming arc of metal crosses Odessa's throat, slicing it open with a single swift motion. The long blade is flourished, spraying a line of blood to the concrete floor before being sheathed back inside of the cane in the same motion, no effort wasted. Blood pulses out of the deep gash across the front of the doctor's throat, her voice silenced by the stroke, "…an opportunity to live." As she falls to the ground, blood pooling out beneath her, Kazimir levels his eyes on Sylar. "If you can fix her, she can stay." Kazimir takes a step back, giving Sylar room, "Let's see if it's her Destiny to not die here…"

Watching Kazimir silently, the man makes no move to react to his master's first glance. The boss can be cryptic to say the least, and Ethan will not pretend to understand him at all times. Though his second glance earns a bit more, Ethan tilts his head a bit. Though he makes no direct reaction to Kazimir's action he does look at Sylar steadily. A very bold action indeed. "You shouldn't have brought her." Ethan barely whispers through his teeth. "Can you fix it?" He asks in the same way. Not about to speak aloud so that his master can hear.

And just as suddenly, girl flesh turns to meat. Wu-Long's nostrils flare, pupils dilate, a breath escaping slow through the column of his throat, the release of adrenaline and subtler chemistries through the soldier's veins and nervous system paralleled almost imperceptibly in a silent straggle of external reflexes, dutifully restrained. He looks at her blood, remembers his stomach, and thinks of his wife, as prone and pale, suspended by as fragile a thread from Kazimir's whims, as much at his mercy as a macabre demonstration of it.

Wonders how she'll be, once she reawakens, apart from an untidy heap crusted with her own haemogoblin — and perhaps attractively scarred. His eyes open and shut. Avert through the warehouse. The next moment, and as subtly, he looks for a mop.

Odessa stands perfectly still like a statue (one whose eyes move, admittedly) as Kazimir makes his circling inspection of her. But when that blade comes out, Odessa moves fast. Odessa moves real fast. Her hands come up in a gesture of surprise as she rocks back on her heels to avoid the inevitable.

She doesn't move fast enough.

The blade still finds the pale of her throat, splitting flesh easily. It isn't as bad as it could have been. It isn't as bad as Kazimir intended it, for sure. While Odessa's voice is cut off, it is by choice. Not a cry nor a whimper escape her lips as she tumbles to the ground, clutching her throat and pressing the sleeves of the borrowed coat to the wound in an attempt to staunch the flow of blood. Instead of the wide, fearful gaze Sylar might expect, there's only a sense of urgency as her eyes all but burn into him. Don't fuck this up, asshole.

Sylar is stunned, watching with disbelief as blood arcs from Odessa's throat, going very, very still as Kazimir's words are only just heard because he's staring back at her when she stares back up at him. Fix her. Fix this? Clocks don't bleed, he has time, hours, tools, he— As if completely forgetting about his abilities, Sylar lunges forward, hands reaching out to stop her fall but they fall together, blood easily drenching his clothes. I don't know, he projects to Ethan, but his voice is different this time - like four echoes, distorting the words, a sign of panic. It's clear Sylar is not as focused and on target as he is the rest of the time. "I don't know," he says out loud, a hand going to her slit throat, blood soaking between his fingers. "I don't— " He squeezes his eyes shut, trying to remember what he can do, what he could possibly…

And his eyes open again, moving his hand away, and as crucial seconds tick by, he takes the time to look at the injury, even as it gushes with warm blood, even as Odessa is choking in futile breaths… he studies it.

His heart rate, unheard to anyone but perhaps he and the woman held close to him, slows down.

His hand hovers over her wound, and though he can't take away the discomfort of choking, the pain all but vanishes. Then, that hand extends and glimmering light makes blue-green dots on the far wall, before cutting out again. Then, with Odessa half sprawled in his lap, he points a finger, that light flickers on again… and a small tendril of smoke rises. At least it doesn't hurt as it should. As long as it works… that's all he asks.

Kazimir looks down to Sylar, watching as he drops down to tend to Odessa. His eyes lift up to Wu-Long, watching as the soldier departs in search of a means to clean up the mess, then looks over to Ethan. He watches the Wolf silently, for a time, then turns his attention back down to Sylar and Odessa. There is a certain tension, barely visible, at the corners of Kazimir's eyes. He watches Odessa more so than Sylar, and the longer he looks at her, the longer there's something that keeps going through his mind, perhaps why it was so easy to draw that sword from his cane. — She looks familiar. Thinking back as far as he is to make the association, it doesn't ring entirely true. But there's something about Doctor Knutson, something that makes him tense, uneasy. Is it her, or is it someone else.

The Wolf frowns at Sylar's response. Weakness. Though he hardly counts it against the man. If that woman was Kathryn.. Needless to say his own 'abilities' would be hard to control as well. But, Kathryn is gone, and so is most of his heart. Though some sympathy is afforded to Sylar. His head moves to Wu-Long as his Chinese comrade walks away, he must understand as well. The unfortunate widower and his Chinese half-widower friend.

Ethan would certainly offer a helping hand were this not a test from Kazimir, so he remains completely calm, features steady. Not betraying any thought or emotion. It's all about control. His dark eyes flick to Kazimir for a moment, then back to Sylar's work.

Wu-Long had essayed back an inch, a fraction of a step, more a sway than a stride, shoulders pretzelled almost a hundred and eighty degrees, his head quirking on its stem and gaze narrowed with perhaps foolhardy intensity on the bright beam stretching from the tip of Sylar's finger. It's remarkable. Perhaps more than it should be: seeing one of them save a life at Kazimir's behest, and through what means. The next moment, his gait straightens. He finds what he'd sought, and in a moment, he's rounded back, mop shaft in one hand, his other empty, stringy gray ends of the mophead oscillating merrily behind him as he returns to spectate.

She could bite her tongue when she knew what was coming with the blade. Replace the need to scream with anger. But this? She was not prepared. Odessa shrieks and arches in Sylar's arms, legs kicking out in a physical manifestation of what her voice already conveys. It isn't as bad as it should be, thanks to the ability she handed to the Intuitive on a silver platter, but a change in the cells negates the effect and still brings pain, even dulled some. Much like the chill in the air outside, this is a sensation the doctor isn't used to experiencing either. But it's served its purpose and the woman is no longer bleeding out on the floor. When it's over, she's left clinging tightly to his shirt and gasping for air with tears in her eyes. "Thank you," offers in a hoarse, inaudible whisper, evident to anyone but its intended only by the movement of her lips.

He tries to keep her still as he works, but he's quiet, no instruction given. He just holds her down as he continues the delicate work with lasers. When the blood flow ceases, the laser is cut off, and he rests a hand just at the base of her throat, beneath the wound. It still needs treatment. Bandaging. But she's not going to die on the floor of the warehouse. Swallowing once, Sylar finally lifts his head to look up at Kazimir. "I…" He looks back down at the woman. "I fixed her." Just to confirm. His hand hovers back over the wound to sap away the sting of the necessary burns, before shifting so that she might try to sit up, or perhaps lie back down onto the cement. Either way, Sylar is getting to his feet, backing away from the woman.

"Congratulations, Doctor Knutson." Kazimir's brows raise slowly, "You've been given a reprieve by the angel of judgment." The old man takes a few steps around Odessa, then looks up to Wu-Long. "She is your responsibility," It's a sudden and abrupt appointment of responsibility. Perhaps it's that he chose Wu-Long because of the semblance of similarity to his wife, in some sort of sick game, perhaps it is because he knows he can trust Wu-Long. Perhaps both. "Her success and her failure will reflect upon you." And your wife. "I trust your judgment." It isn't the first time Kazimir has given one of his most trusted an assignment, Sierra to Ethan, in much the same regard. Blue eyes dart to Sylar, and there is a look of approval that crosses Kazimir's face, "You did well, Gabriel. You did exceptionally well."

"I will draft a list of medical supplies and laboratory technology to delivered here," Kazimir begins to walk away, his shoes clacking on the concrete floor, "If you find anything missing, do not hesitate to add to it." Blue eyes drift over to Sylar over his shoulder, "Also, I will find you a telepath, Gabriel. That will be the next necessary step to your evolution." Blue eyes then flit over to Ethan, "Check the Registry for telepaths, Amato has an updated copy." Kazimir turns back to the door, walking towards the warehouse exit, "I have other matters to attend to."

And with that Kazimir's signature cane and shoes clapping against the stone floor echo and eventually fade away. Ethan frowns slightly. A telepath.. Does he personally want Sylar to have a telepath? Certainly not. Sylar can grow stronger, but only in ways that Ethan can accomodate to. If Sylar could read his mind, he would always have to be on guard. A step he could take, but not one he would like to. He looks to Wu-Long after Kazimir 'assigns' the woman to him. A flick of his gaze to the woman.. And he almost steps up to the man to petition for a trade. But that can come later.

Ethan's eyes flick up to Sylar and the man gives him a good solid stare for a moment, before giving an affirming nod. "Well done." Is whispered through bared teeth again. The man's boots clap on the stone as he steps over towards the woman on the floor. Stepping to her side the man looks down at her and with an unusual amount of cheer,

"Welcome to Vanguard."

For the first time in a long while, Wu-Long looks actually surprised. Perhaps all the more when he realizes his face hadn't forgotten how to do that. He's left to wonder, in some obscurely bemused fashion, if he'd accidentally volunteered himself for it; mop in hand, like the eldest child who pursues the new puppy and its latest biological accident with a newspaper in hand.

Trusted or no, he doesn't know the first thing about dealing with a doctor, be she the sort who conducts research or performs a physician's services. He and his wife had had very little in common. No doubt, part of why they'd survived months of separation during his Iraq tours so easily. Surprise gives way to blankness, as if he'd just tanked his quota for the hour. He stares at the woman for a protracted moment. "Sir," he says simply, assenting to Kazimir's decision with the same monosyllabic obedience with which he's always done Ethan.

He steps forward, almost in the manner a man might claiming his prize. The mop swings in hand, is thrust down, swabs into the laking viscosity of her own blood. There will be time to get to know her. Figure out what she ought to do, what she likes, how she scars— "Excuse me," he says, offering her a hand. It's half introduction, and half because he needs her out of the way.

Odessa shrinks back, hands out in front of her in shock when Wu-Long reaches out to her. She looks mildly horrified for a moment, holding perfectly still for the space of several seconds before she finally takes that outstretched hand and uses it to stand up. Once on her feet, however, she's immediately scurrying over to shrink behind Sylar, clutching at the back of his shirt with her small hands. She didn't acquiesce to being the shadow's charge, and she doesn't like the way he or the Wolf look at her, though she couldn't articulate why if she tried. 'Don't leave me,' goes unspoken.

Sylar doesn't stop her, shifting just a little bit as if he's not standing as rock solid as he should be when she grabs his shirt. But finally, he gains his resolve back, and looks down at his hands now stained with blood for the— countless time this week. His sleeves, the front of his pale blue shirt— he breathes out a sigh of irritation, before looking over towards Wu-Long. Hard to say if he likes the idea of this man looking after his recruit, but it's not a point of argument. Not yet. No, instead, his gaze travels to Ethan, and his mouth twists in a smirk.

"So, a telepath," Sylar says, wiping his hands together, only smearing bright red blood further. "That should be interesting."

November 10th: So Much Melted Ice Cream

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 10th: If I Were Special...
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