When Lightning Strikes with the Benefit of Hindsight


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title When Lightning Strikes with the Benefit of Hindsight
Synopsis Hiro, Peter, and Niki race against time and the constraints of history to free two inmates from Moab Penitentiary.
Date January 23, 2011 April 7, 2009

"I want a guard on his cell, twenty-four hours a day are we clear?"

Stark lines of dark clothing keep a tall and thin man's silhouette looking like a single brush stroke of dark ink. Standing outside of a security control office, Department of Homeland Security agent Stephen Verse points to gloved fingers towards the chief of security, standing in the open doorway to his office. Turning around in his chair, Security Chief Hanlon offers one gray brow arched towards the ceiling, slouching to the side against the arm of his chair.

"Agent Verse we have over four hundred people in this facility and less than half of that in physical security officers. If you want me to spare two of my men to watch Petrelli's locked cell down on Red Level, you're goin' t'need t'talk to my superiors back in Washington…" Hanlon's lips smack together slowly, followed by a raise of his brows. "Whoever they are."

Stepping halfway out of the fluorescent light illumination of the security office, Verse waves one gloved hand flippantly in the air. "The information I've received from Petrelli is worth more than your life, Chief Hanlon. Now why don't you do the long division and find out how much that value compares to your subordinates?" Verse doesn't wait for an answer, and he isn't getting one. Turning sharply, his long black jacket flares out as he turns away, storming off down the concrete corridor away from the security desk.

"Cocksucker," Hanlon mutters, rubbing his hand across his forehead as he turns back to the security monitors, watching the cameras shift and change focus. After a moment of deliberation, he leans forward to press his fingers on the intercom button to call up to Green Level. "Stone," Hanlon calls into the intercom. "It's Hanlon. Verse wants two men down on Red Level at Petrelli's cell."

«What? We barely have enough men for the yard patrol. Is he out of his mind?» As the reply crackles over his speakers, Hanlon rolls his eyes and exhales a breathy sigh, pressing down on the button again.

"He's a god damned suit, of course he is. Look, just get them down there before he calls over our heads and we wind up pulling sewage duty." As Hanlon pulls his finger away from the intercom button, there's a crackle-pop of noise from the speaker. The security chief exhales a sigh, leaning back in his chair and folding his hands behind his head.

"I knew I shoulda' stayed in bed today…"

Moab Federal Penitentiary

Moab, Utah

April 7, 2009

One floor down from Yellow Level's security office, an elevator door opens with a grinding of metal doors and a rattling of a raising cage. Agent Verse strides out of the elevator, gloved hands folded behind his back and long, black jacket flaring out as he walks. Verse's progress takes him not towards the cell blocks, but to his private office on Red Level, one that he had converted out of a prison cell. Gray uniformed Moab Penitentiary security officers standing watch outside of his office offer Verse a nod of greeting. Verse moves briskly past them into his office and and turns to shut the door, metal partitions sliding into place with a noisy clang at the end. Dark eyes turn askance to the entrance over his shoulder, before Verse moves in to settle down at his desk, recovering a cell phone from the top drawer.

Flipping it open, Verse's brows furrow, squinting at the single bar of signal on the display. A number is dialed out, and as the phone rings he brings it up to his ear. A deep, old voice rumbles over the phone on the other end in greeting, and Verse pivots in his desk chair, one leg crossing over the other. "Good afternoon, Doctor Broome. I have some good news."

«Stephen, it's wonderful to hear from you. What news do you have for me?» The voice of the elderly Doctor Simon Broome crackles and pops on the phone, barely enough signal strength with a boosted antenna to penetrate this far underground.

"I've finished the deep level scans of Petrelli's mind, just like you requested, Sir. Furthermore, I have Dean and Knight's records. I'm hoping that once we can bring in Nakamura we'll have everything you requested." Leaning back in his chair, Verse looks up at a flickering light overhead, eyes falling shut and a deep breath slowly drawn in and exhaled as a sigh. It's been a long week.

«That's wonderful news, Stephen. I'll get Desmond from our office down to meet with you at the facility tomorrow and retrieve the information. He'll be bringing a telepathic courier with him to retain the information you've recovered mentally. We can't risk a technopath getting their hands on this intelligence, let alone certain elements of the administration.»

Raising his brows, Verse narrows his eyes and looks towards the door to his office. "Doctor, I don't think you understand the level of the information I have here. This isn't something we can simply sit on and wait for the proper time to disseminate, there's evidence in this information of corruption all the way up to the highest echelon of the government. This is something that could change the course of history."

Pushing up from his chair, something itches at the back of Verse's mind. Anxiety over his request to Hanlon, anxiety over the last conversation he had with Peter, his confidence that someone would eventually come for him. Dean, too, seems to sure that she wouldn't remain in Moab forever. Knowing what they know, it puts his suspicions and paranoia in a whole new light.

«Exactly how much of Petrelli's knowledge did you obtain, Stephen? Are we talking about Phoenix sympathizers in Cabinet? If it's this serious, we may need to expedite Desmond's arrival to your location.»

Moving to the door, Verse pauses for a moment, exhaling another sigh and shaking his head. "No." He asserts, pushing the door open. "No… I've done it. I have the location of Phoenix's safehouses and their members." A smooth, calm voice comes from one of the doors, followed by a tall man in a long, dark coat buttoned up to the collar.

«All of them?»

"Yes, all of them. Police officers, civilians, you won't believe the list. They're hiding out right under our noses too, the Library was just the beginning." With his cell phone pressed to his ear, Agent Verse is followed once he's out of his office by the pair of Moab Security officials, a pair of men in simple gray jumpsuits with pistols holstered at their hips — looking almost something like a trio of cowboys out of the wild west with their posture and swagger.

«How resistant was Petrelli to all of this? Do you believe there's still more to recover from him?»

"No, Sir, I broke him. There's no doubt that — " Finally, Verse's eyes catch up to his mouth as he spots the dark silhouette at the end of the hall. It's like turning a corner to see the boogeyman crawling out of a closet, and the chill this figure sends up Verse's spine causes him to reflexively drop the cell phone in mid conversation, lips mouthing a name he never thought he would say again.



Teleportation is like falling. Falling through the past, the present and the future to wind up somewhere amidst one of those three temporal locations. Teleporting into the Moab Federal Penitentiary isn't a simple task, it requires knowledge of future events or an understanding of blank spots in the awareness of the prison's temporal security guard, Odessa Knutson. Hiro Nakamura — this Hiro Nakamura — may not have ever been to the Moab prison, but he has a certain awareness of events, an understanding of moments in time that he can abuse to his advantage with minimal damage.

He's been at this a while.

Peter Petrelli, Niki Sanders and Hiro Nakamura manifest inside of the prison in the blink of an eye and the rush of displaced air. Immediately inside of the concrete-walled prison's moderate security wing, the yellow paint stripe on the gray stone walls indicates what level they have emerged on.

Immediately on arriving to the prison, Hiro takes a knee as his legs give out from under him, buckling as he crouches behind a half wall partition at the end of a long corridor, partly obscuring view of an unoccupied security checkpoint. Guards should be here, but Hanlon has sent them down to Red Level to follow Agent Verse's orders.

Slouching his back up against a barred door, Hiro breathes in a pained breath, one hand holding the side of his head. "Hiro," Peter warily hisses, crouching down behind the half wall beside him, one gloved hand on his shoulder. Already in the cramped confines of the prison, Peter can feel his winter layers heating him up. He's going to need to shed the thermal clothing before long, lest he overheat down in these poorly ventilated subterranean levels.

Within these halls, the prison is silent.

But it won't be much longer.

Niki herself staggers when they arrive at their destination. A place and time that's vivid and fuzzy in her memory at the same time. When she realises Hiro's down, she's crouching with him. "What's wrong?" she hisses, glancing around quickly. Where the hell are the guards? Not that she's complaining, but this isn't what she was expecting.

The brunette woman is quick to shed her gloves and shove them into her pockets, unbuttoning the military jacket swiftly. Niki sends a concerned look across to Peter, looking for guidance and reassurance.

Elsewhere in the prison, the indentured overseer is too busy straining against chains and resisting calling out to the man she believes she loves to notice the three intruders.

"Hiro get it together, we need you focused." Peter's attention snaps up to Niki, then back to the time traveler. "How far off are we from the attack by Phoenix? This place is going to turn into a war zone shortly and we aren't going to be able to afford to be anywhere near here when the prisoners start getting out." With a hand on Hiro's shoulder, Peter eases up from his crouch to peer over the half wall, then settles back down again.

"Niki, you said your ability was swapped?" Peter's attention turns to her while Hiro catches his breath, one hand still held to his right temple. "What is it you've got? I'm not exactly optimized for fighting our way thorugh an armed prison right now, aside from telepathy."

While Peter asks the question of Niki's ability, Hiro wipes his sleeve across his mouth below his nose, smudging a streak of blood from his upper lip where it tracked down from his right nostril. "The attack is soon, it will be our cover… Odessa will be distracted, we will have an opportunity to move in and out." Swallowing noisily, Hiro looks over his shoulder, past the hilt of the Kensei sword, to Peter and Niki, listening to their conversation.

"Microwaves," Niki offers quietly. "I'm…" She stops herself. Uncertainty isn't what this situation needs. She takes a deep breath and nods her head quickly. "I can fight."

Her eyes track back to their vehicle, and widen. "Hiro, what the fuck?" Niki sees the blood on his sleeve and the traces left on his face. Back to her partner in this, she sucks in a deep breath. "Peter?" As in Peter, what the fuck is going on?

"I'm fine," Hiro asserts, shaking his head and clearing the cobwebs out. As he rises to stand, he reaches up to the Kensei sword on his back, then draws the blade out with a long, shearing sound of the gleaming steel sliding inside of the scabbard. The blade swings downwards, then points up towards the hall. "We need to access the security terminal on this floor to find the cell access code and the prisoner roster."

Looking over his shoulder to Peter, Hiro notices the mimic squeezing Niki's shoulder with one hand, creating a vibrant white-gold glow on his palm. There's a discharge of light, then as Peter moves his hand away, a bluish-red shimmer of microwave radiation off of his hand as his fingers squeeze shut into a fist. "This'll be more helpful," Peter admits, looking over to Hiro and — subtly — dodging Niki's question about his old friend's health.

"I don't know how many guards are on this level. Looks like we're at the end of a cell block. They were designed like wheels. There'll be spokes of hallways," Peter holds out one hand, fingers splayed in demonstration. "Cells on either side of the spokes, with an elevator, stair access and security station at the hub."

Turning to look back to Niki, Peter offers a sharp nod, then turns to Hiro. "Are you good t— " Peter's words are cut off when the entire prison shakes violently and the muffled noise of an explosion echoes from far above with dull bass-filled thumping.

The lights go out for a moment, popping loudly as they do, and when they come back on everything is flooded with a red glow of emergency lightning and flashing white beacons. Dust settles from the ceiling, followed by a second series of loud rumbles this far down below the ground. Peter's chest rises and falls rapidly, and he turns to Hiro with a worried expression, mouth open to speak words that he can't find, because once he does, the hallway shakes for a third and final time, another loud explosion echoing on the upper floors.

Niki and Peter both remember this day.

It's started.

Pale eyes alight to the hand on her shoulder, watching as Peter's ability copies hers, after a fashion. She smirks, and quips, "Let's try not to blow up Utah, shall we?"

If she only knew.

Pushing up, Niki starts off to follow Hiro's direction when the first shake of the building sends her staggering a second time, grabbing at the wall to steady herself. The second rumble has her ducking her head instinctively. "Showtime." Where Peter shows uncertainty, she shows resolve, bolting down the hallway without further hesitation, or question.

Hiro moves in behind Niki, following with the Kensei sword held down in one hand at his side, tip inches away from the concrete floor. As he briskly keeps up behind the brunette, Peter moves to follow on Hiro's heels, dark eyes flicking from one cell to the next, unable to get a solid mental connection to anyone inside. Distance, unfamiliarity and a general unwillingness to peer into the minds of a Moab detainee he doesn't know keeps him focused instead on the end of the hallway up ahead.

Five guards up ahead at the security checkpoint, they're arming up from a weapons locker. Peter's voice resonates hollow in Niki and Hiro's minds, a projected voice of communication that doesn't alert the already wary Moab staff to their presence. When Niki charges past one of the security cameras, Peter comes to a stop and raises a hand up towards it, letting a shimmering wave of microwave energy melt the plastic, fry the electronics and cause an electrical pop and a puff of smoke to rise up from it. The last thing he needs is Odessa seeing this.

At the fore of the group, Niki emerges out from the hallway in an octagonal chamber of smooth concrete with external electrical conduits bolted to the walls. An enormous metal security door for the elevator is directly across from where she came in, and next to it a doorway leading into a windowed security room where four gray-uniformed correctional facility officers are loading clips into M-16s and strapping on body armor.

One already armored security chief with wavy, shoulder-length gray hair and a grizzled beard steps out into the hall, plucking a cigarette from his lips with his M-16 over one shoulder. "Alright you son'sa bitches, c'mon an' get ready, we're goin' topside t'put— " His hazel eyes square on Niki, a deep breath is drawn in that makes the ember on the end of his cigarette glow.

"Well shit," Captain Hanlon curses, smoke wafting out of his mouth.

"Change of plans," Niki muses with a grin. She rocks her head to one side, letting her neck pop quietly, and holds both her hands out toward the soldiers. She's practised with her new ability since receiving it, but never turned it on a person. There's a first time for everything. "Find the information," she barks to the men with her, without angling her head back to look at them.

Luke Campbell had a description for his ability once:

Paper burns, plastic melts, people die. — It's an apt description.

A visible wave of blue-trimmed red light roars outward from Niki's outstretched hands, sending a blast of scalding heat and radiation towards the security chief. Hanlon barely has time to croak out a scream for help before his skin is reddening, blistering, and his eyes are bleeding out and splitting open, drooling bubbling fluid down his cheeks.

It's a horrifying way to die, cooked from the inside as blood boils in his veins. Hanlon falls backwards to the ground, writhing and screaming. The other four officers, mostly shielded from the microwave blast by the concrete wall and the narrow opening of the door. One of the men, too close to the opening, is caught in the wave and his bubbling, gory death dribbles wet on the floor by his comrades.

"We have intruders! We have intruders!" One of the guards shouts, mixed amidst other cries of horror and curses. Hiro bolts in front of Niki once the microwave cone fades, lunging through the door when a hail of gunfire explodes from the two remaining soldiers. Bullets crack against concrete, as Hiro flickers away, teleporting in a flash of a moment around the bullets, closing the distance before his sword flashes out in a gleaming arc.

One of the security officers falls backwards, a line of blood spraying up across the wall and one computer monitor from the sword stroke. Hiro flourishes with the sword, shaking off the excess blood onto the floor, turning to face the last security officer, only to see him unholster his handgun, point it to his own head, and—

Pull the trigger.

Blood runs dark down the wall as the last security officer slumps over head, a gaping hole in the side of his skull where a bullet exited. Hiro winces against the echo of the gunshot, looking out towards Niki and Peter. They make a good team; he always thought they would.

What have I done? Niki drops her hands abruptly, cockiness fading as she sees the horror of what her new/borrowed ability is capable of. She steps back with a wide-eyed and open-mouthed expression, temporarily forgetting how to breathe. Her fingers shake, but don't produce more of that radiation, despite the spike in her emotions.

When she kickstarts her brain again, her move is to where the soldiers were arming themselves. Sanders knows her way around a weapon, and she intends to take one of the M-16s (that will still function after her onslaught) and stuff her pockets with as many clips of ammo as she can take. "Jesus Christ, Peter."

"They're all going to drown to death anyway," Peter admits coldly as he marches into the security office, "I'm doing them a favor." Unzipping his winter jacket, Peter throws it off and over one of the molten corpses, perhaps out of some semblance of politeness to Niki not having to see the result of her work any longer. He reaches down and unbuttons his thick fleece next, throwing that over a chair, leaving him in his dark cargo pants and slim long-sleeved black thermal undershirt.

"Hiro, what were the names we needed to find again?" Dark eyes flick towards the swordsman, who is sheathing his Kensei sword to hunch forward and utilize one of the security office's computers. Beneath the glow of fluorescent lighting, Hiro's face looks gaunt, ashen, and tired. Clicking with the mouse, he navigates through a few windows, while Peter moves to another console that has a prisoner manifest spreadsheet pulled up.

"Cyrus Karr and Gladen Summers," Hiro calls back over his shoulder, finding the information he needed. "Here it is. The master unlock code for the cell doors is one, six, seven, seven, three. That will allow access to any cell door, it's the Security Chief's personal code."

Peter scrolls through the spreadsheet of the prison roster, looking for the individual they need.

0000033 — Pain Manipulation — Pierce, Melissa
0000034 — Nerve Toxin Emission — Madison, Annabelle
0000035 — Pyrokinesis — Ashford, Isabella
0000036 — Genetic Mimicry — Hollis, Raymond
0000037 — Photokinesis — Karr, Cyrus
0000038 — Nerve Manipulation — Doe, John
0000039 — Cryokinesis — Lacombe, Matthew
0000040 — Insect Telepathy — Riggs, Larson
0000041 — Superhuman Speed — Dartmouth, Kyle
0000042 — Osteokinesis — Crocker, Travis
0000043 — Object Replication — Summers, Gladen
0000044 — Superhuman Strength — Sanders, Niki
0000045 — Aerokinesis — McGraw, Tabitha

"I— " Peter hesitates as he sees Niki's name on the list, then swallows tightly and looks over his shoulder to Hiro. "I've got 'em. Prisoner numbers 37 and 43. Find out what cells they're in on yellow level." As Peter pops out that question, and Hiro is cross-referencing the database on his terminal, Niki can hear shouting coming from the stairwell and the noise of booted feet coming down the stairs.

By now, Phoenix is engaged in a massive attack on the facility upstairs with its allies. The prisoners are getting out, and Niki — Jessica — is battling for her life. It's a horrible fate, but she also knows what the rush of footsteps means. Security guards are coming down.

It doesn't take them long to arrive, five men coming down the stairwell in heavy body armor, riot helmets and carrying assault rifles. What they aren't expecting as they come barreling out into the hall is to find Hanlon's molten body in the hall.

Or prisoner 0000044 out of her cell.

Mothers learn to always be prepared for little things. As such, Niki's produced a pen from her jacket and scrawls the unlock code on the back of her hand. 1 - 6 - 7 - 7 - 3. "Got it. Peter, what's the-" Matter? The sound of footsteps draws her attention again, and has her darting for the mouth of the corridor.

"We've got company!" Niki calls over her shoulder just before she opens fire. Her ability may be a more efficient way to kill these men in their armour, but she opts for the weapon anyway. It seems more humane. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. The report of the gun roars in her ears just as much as her own blood does.

The roar of gunfire in an enclosed space sounds like thunder, a riotous sound of automatic weapons blasting into the first security guard who comes down the stairs. Steel jacketed rounds are designed to penetrate body armor, and these armor-piercing rounds that the Moab Federal Penitentiary utilizes was never intended to be turned on its own security force. The first guard goes down in a hail of bullets, perforated by the rounds that slip through his armor like a knife through butter.

Peter breaks out into the hall, then ducks back behind a wall for cover when bullets blast past Niki from blind cover fire expelled out of the stairwell doorway. "Niki!" Peter shouts over the noise of the gunfire, barely able to hear himself over the tinnitus ring, even less able to focus on his telepathy. Hiro flickers through the wall, appearing behind the ranks of the guards in the stairwell, a glimmering flash of steel slides inside of a guard through the side under his arm where the vest does not protect, then jerks out leaving a drooling trail of arterial blood behind.

Before Niki's gunfire can hit, Hiro disappears and allows the volley to rip through another guard on the stairs. Hiro reappears in the hall. "This way!" The teleporter shouts, pointing with his sword down Corridor-D. With the guards dead, Peter slides out of the security room, moving up to Niki to lay a hand on her shoulder. "C'mon, we have to stick together," Peter insists, slipping past her and following on Hiro's heels.

Downstairs, the violent noise of snapping electricity and screaming embodies a violent conflict between Gillian, Sylar and Elle, causing the red security lights to flicker and flash.

Niki's chest heaves as the men go down. Thankful that she's been presented with little trouble. She can barely hear the ability mimic calling her name as a bullet flies past and leaves a strand of hair fluttering free from the rest, separated and falling toward the ground. Her ear is grazed, but only just. She doesn't even reach up to cover up, offering only a wince to prove it happened at all.

Peter is reached for and yanked back before he can get too far ahead of her. Niki jerks her head in the direction of Hiro's form leading the way. "Grab his ability," she demands of Peter. "I don't think we can trust him to get us out of here." She locks eyes with him, reaching up with her off-hand to touch the man's cheek and make sure he pays attention. "Please. Do this for me. We need to have a backup plan." That cheek receives a pat before she turns to start running after Hiro again.

Stopping in the hall, Peter turns around to face Niki with both brows raised and a horrified look on his face. Hiro continues down the hall, unaware that Peter has stopped as he counts the numbers on the doors. "And you think you can trust me with his ability? Niki. I've never been able to control Hiro's ability to travel time, ever. The last time I used it— " Peter motions to the building, then looks back to her. "I'm the whole reason Moab disappeared the way it did, Gillian augmented me and I just— lost control." There's guilt in his expression at that, guilt for more than he's letting on too. It isn't the first time he's lost control of a power with dire consequences, and this isn't the last time he'll confess as much to Niki.

"Peter, Niki." Hiro looks back down the hall, stopped in front of one of the doors, beckoning them to catch up.

Niki stops short and fixes Peter with a fierce look. "I'd rather take my chances with you than risk being stuck for two years if anything happens to him." Or worse, dying here if they can't get out. "Last resort. I promise." Her eyes shut tightly as she pulls the man in for a kiss, free hand dragging down the length of his arm to grab hold of his hand tightly.

"If you can't trust yourself, trust me."

Looking over Niki's shoulder to Hiro, Peter watches the time-traveler punching in the numerical code on the key pad to unlock the door. He turns, looking back to Peter and Niki, then taps the input key and takes a step back. As the metal doors begin to grind open into the walls, revealing a second layer of burnished metal that retracts up into the ceiling, Peter claps a hand onto Niki's shoulder and makes silent eye contact, before slipping past her and towards where Hiro is expectantly waiting for them.

Reaching out with his mind and Kaylee's borrowed ability, Peter can hear the expectant hiss of noise from a conscious mind on the other side of the door. Downstairs, the sound of exploding electricity, screaming and gunfire builds. When the doors come fully open, a single inmate is visible in his gray jumpsuit stenciled with his serial number and name on the front right side near the shoulder.

He sits slouched forward, bare feet on the floor and forearms draped over his knees, wavy, shoulder-length brown hair hanging in a tangle in front of his face. On looking up, the prisoner stares beneath a furrowed brow out to Hiro, soon turning his attention to Peter's figure emerging into view through the open doorway.

"Cyrus Karr?" Hiro questions of the broad-shouldered man. The only response the stranger gives is a subtle nod of his head, leaning forward and planting a hand on the concrete floor before pushing himself up slowly. "My name is Hiro Nakamura, I have come to rescue you. I need your help…" A hand is held out towards Cyrus, and the sword is pointed downward towards the ground.

Peter briefly looks away from the prisoner, over to Niki, then back again. Cyrus remains silent, casting a look at Peter, then Hiro. "Sounds safer in my cell," Cyrus protests against the noise of a riot upstairs and a battle downstairs.

Niki jogs ahead to catch up with Hiro, peering into the cell with furrowed brows. She glances back over her shoulder, toward the stairwell they just left. She nudges Hiro to one side and fixes Cyrus Karr with a serious stare. "If you stay here, you'll die." She tips her head back out toward the hall. "We aren't leaving by the front door. We're going to avoid all of that." Then her chin tips upward to indicate the scuffle above them. "We're all going to leave here together. We're going to keep you safe."

For now.

Sniffing noisily and wiping his nose with the back of his hand, Cyrus looks out the door, then into his cell and the small concrete desk is he afforded, fashioned straight out of the wall. Then over to his metal toilet, then back up to the three standing in the doorway. "Fancy yourselves jail breakers, do ya? Alright, fair enough. I was startin' t'get tired of this confinement anyway."

Stepping towards the door of the cell, Cyrus leans out and looks down the hall towards the hub, one thick brow arching when he spies the pile of bodies in the stairwell, then turns to look back at Hiro, then over to Niki and her gun. "Not sure why the little guy brought a sword to a gunfight, but it seems that one'f you at least has some common sense. I ain't gonna be much help, fuckers have me on some sorta' drug that makes me about as bland as gruel."

Peter steps aside when the taller and barefoot prisoner steps out, but fails to realize what Cyrus is looking at when he stares past all of them to the doorway again. "She with you too?" Nodding towards the stairs, Cyris arches a brow again, eliciting Peter and Hiro to look back towards the hub.

There, stepping around and over the bodies, a slim, young blonde girl of familiar appearance. Tamara Brooks is a familiar face to all but Cyrus, and the blonde offers only a measured smile in the direction of the time-travelers before winding around to the stairs headed down to the battle going on.

She's also carrying a syringe.

If Niki could stop time, she might favour a sword, too. She's generally one to bring her fists to a close-quarters fight, but times change and a gun is a long familiar weight in her hand now. Hard to argue its usefulness.

The woman follows Cyrus' stare to Tamara and offers her a smile and a slight nod. Is she with them? "Not this time. She's got her own mission." Niki rolls up her sleeves, unwilling to part with her jacket despite the uncomfortable warmth. "Let's find Summers and get out of here."

"Summers?" is Cyrus' immediate question, "That fuckwit's the reason we're both down here on Yellow." Lifting up his hands, Cyrus exhales a strained sigh. "Bitch couldn't keep his mouth shut and got some prison yard justice. The fuck do you want a dick like him for?" Cyrus' question elicits a look from Hiro, one tempered by the strain of surprise from seeing Tamara, an expression mirrored on Peter's face, if only briefly. He remembers the young precognitive showing up, remembers what she did with that syringe, and who to. It couldn't have happened to a better person.

"Shut it," Peter strains to Cyrus, flashing a look to Hiro in question of the swordsman's decision making on who to bring out of the prison. Turning away from Cyrus, Peter lays a hand on Hiro's shoulder as the swordsman is distracted with the question; he doesn't notice the brief yellow-white glow that shines under Peter's hand. Trading off microwave emission for temporal manipulation seems like a dangerous venture. While Hiro doesn't notice the exchange of white light, Peter doesn't notice the faint green sparks that dance up his fingertips.

"Put aside your differences," Hiro insists, "whatever they may be. We have more important matters at hand, and I promise you that there will be a chance to get back at the people who put you here, if you listen to me." That much seems to get Cyrus' attention, and the dark-haired prisoner offers a narrow-eyed look to Hiro, then around to Niki and Peter.

"Who the fuck are you people?"

Hiro isn't answering, he and Peter are busy heading down the row of cell blocks, checking the numbers stenciled in white on the walls above the doors for Summers'.

What Hiro and Peter don't notice, Niki does. The glow is the same as the transfer of power from their arrival. But the green sparks… The look of confusion only lasts a moment. Now isn't the time. She can bring it up later. After they've made it out of here alive. And, hopefully, back to their own time.

"We're the people that are gonna make sure you get out of this place, rather than blown to bits. How's that for credentials?" Niki narrows her eyes right back at Cyrus and nudges him forward. "We have a common enemy. Just think about that for now. Save whatever's between you and Summers for later. I don't think prison yard rivalry is important right now, do you?"

Squaring smoky eyes on Niki, Cyrus raises one brow and looks the brunette up and down. He's silent, like he has been every time he looks at her, as if there's something he wants to say, but it keeps getting squashed down. Eventually, Cyrus turns to follow after Peter and Hiro, waving his arms up and down behind them as he walks with the slap of bare feet on the concrete. "Does the President know that you've got Tracy Strauss workin' for you? Because that seems like it might be a smudge on her resume."

Peter halts in his search of the correct number, looking up and over to Cyrus with one brow raised. There's a puzzled look, then a look to Niki with a lopsided smile. "Nah, he doesn't know. He doesn't know she moonlights at a strip club either." Restrained laughter chokes back in Peter's throat as he turns away and starts checking the doors again, Hiro covering the other side of the hall. Cyrus pivots on his heels, wobbles a little and looks back at Niki with one brow lifted.

Does she now?

It might almost be an appropriately light level of humor, were the sounds of automatic gunfire, snapping electricity and screaming not coming from both up and down on the prison. That Peter can even crack a joke during this situation implies a certain level of detachment, or psychological distress.

Niki shoots Cyrus a look. What? Why does he keep looking at her like- …Oh.

Tracy Strauss.

"I will shoot you in the back," the brunette warns Peter flatly. "And I won't even feel bad about it." Yes, she will. She totally will. "Actually, I'm pretty sure he does know. It isn't moonlighting. That implies it's done after dark." Then the corner of her mouth tugs upward.

Niki and her partner are rather similar kinds of detached, distressed, and broken.

Barking out a dry laugh, Cyrus wags one finger in Niki's direction with a crooked smile. "I lik— " his words are cut off by a sudden roar of wind and rumbling footsteps as a blur of a human being whips down from upstairs and arcs through the hub, running down the stairwell to Red Level at superhuman speeds. All Cyrus catches of her is a blur of black, brown and dreadlocks.

"Fuck, shit." Wide eyes scan the hall as Cyrus tries to narrow his profile and press up against the wall. Peter backs away from one of the doors, looking at Cyrus, then Niki. He's not sure what he saw out of the corner of his eyes, but he knows it's not good. "The strike team probably arrived. There was a speedster with them. I— think Gillian killed her."

Use of past-tense is lost on Cyrus as he pays more heed to the sound of his heart racing in his chest. More worrisome is the sound of much slower footfalls coming down from up above, more prison security seems most likely. "Niki! We're about to be up to our asses in security guards. I— saw the halls on yellow level full of security team members corpses when I made it into Odessa's cell. Hiro!" Peter turns around, "Keep looking for Summers!"

Turning back around, Peter hustles back past Cyrus towards Niki. "We don't have long before they reach us. You got any ideas?"

Niki is knocked back into the wall as the speedster blurs past her. She only winces a fraction, a sharp exhale of breath the only indication that she was surprised at all. "Keep him safe," she tells Peter, pointing to Cyrus. Her tone is demanding. "Help Hiro find Summers."

A fresh clip is loaded into the gun. Niki raises the M-16 and takes in a slow breath. "How do you think the bodies got here?" Somebody had to litter the floor with dead security men, right? A reassuring grin is thrown over her shoulder to Peter. "Go. I'll buy you boys time."

Peter doesn't like this one bit. Tension stiffens his posture as he looks from Niki back to Cyrus, who seems to be in no hurry to confront a contingent of armed guards. Hustling off after Hiro, he runs right past Peter, who seems to be in even less of a hurry to leave Niki to handle this on her own. "I've got a better idea," Peter asserts, moving over to the cell door beside Niki.

"Everybody here dies anyway," Peter mutters, punching in the door access code to one cell, then moving across the hall to another. From the grinding metal door nearest to Niki, a wiry young man with a shaved head comes running out, skidding to a stop as he looks around.

"Oh— oh my God thank you! Is— is this a prison break?" He turns to look back at Peter, who stares the young man down for a moment as the other door is opening. Peter offers a sharp nod, then waves towards the stairwell.

"Run," Peter grunts, looking over his shoulder to the other cell door as it opens, and an enormous man is silhouette in the doorway. Long, blonde hair is unkempt and hangs down to his shoulders, a beard has grown in thickly and brows are furrowed. Near seven feet tall, this man is a menace of a figure, a hulking brute of an individual.

Stenciled on his jumpsuit is his serial number: 0000094

Beside that, his name: White, Norman

"Peter!" Niki turns wide eyes on the man. "But this isn't " Her head tips to one side, lips pressed in a tight, thin line, brows lowered. The look is reproachful. "We can't mess with how this happens. It's too" With a frustrated sigh, she begins running down the other side of the hall, punching the code in written on the back of her knuckles. "Get out of here!" she shouts to the escaping prisoners. "Get off the yellow level!"

She doesn't know where they'll end up if they make it, but it's got to be a better fate than what they face now, doesn't it?

"One of these days," Niki tells Peter as she continues to input the master keycode cell by cell, "you have got to let me do things my way."

It's a little bit like a human shield, cruel as it is. Norman White offers Niki an askance look, then to Peter and back over his shoulder to Hiro and Cyrus' search for Summers' cell. "God be with you," Norman mutters in a deep, bass-filled voice before adjusting his gray bathrobe worn over his prison jumpsuit, slippers scuffing along the floor as he makes a slow and steady pace towards the stairwell. A handful of other released prisoners rush ahead of Norman, along with the young man bounding towards the stairs.

He hops over bodies, leaps up and springs up each step one by one, right into the riotous explosion of gunfire from the top of the stairwell. The boy and one other prisoner go tumbling backwards down the stairs, head over heels. The gunfire causes Norman to hesitate, look left and right, then hustle with clomping steps to the pile of security guard bodies at the base of the steps. Stealing one of the M-16s off of the corpse, Norman ducks to one side of the stairwell, back to the wall, facing Niki.

His cold and emotionless eyes stare out at her with an expression she knows well, Jessica's eyes when she's on the job. A killer's eyes. Norman steps aside a few more paces, then trains the assault rifle towards the doorway. There's a noisy clink-clank-clink of a tear gas canister coming down the steps, followed by an explosion of white gas that begins to fill the hub. Norman coughs, restrained, and squints his eyes against the gas, holding his breath and trying to wait it out.

Heedless of the danger, brazen prisoners freed by Peter charge towards the stairs, hopping up and into the flashes of gunfire. Some probably manage to make it to the Green Level mezzanine, but there's too many members of the security detail, too little room to run. Niki knows how chaotic it gets up there, it's how she was able to catch Doctor Wright unawares, and cut his throat with a piece of broken glass.

He had it coming. So do some of these prisoners.

Back at the end of the hall, Hiro and Cyrus have found Summers' cell. "Here, hey— hey sword guy!" Cyrus calls out, waving Hiro down. "This one, this is the number. What— what the hell's the code?" Turning to look back at the keypad, Cyrus finds Peter approaching.

"One, Six, Seven, Seven, Three!" Peter calls out, and Cyrus is fast to input the digits in, while the door is slow to begin grinding open. Hiro's attention is more ahead on the gas than anything else, and the sounds of gunfire, rumbling and screams vibrating the floor beneath their feet. "We're out of here as soon as Summers is out, right?"


Hiro looks askance to Peter, worriedly. "Odessa is still locking down the facility, we need to buy time before our window of escape is available." Then Kensei sword is gripped tightly in both hands, and Hiro widens his stance as he hears the sounds of footsteps coming down the hall, watching with worry as the cloud of tear gas starts to flood down the hall.

"How bad is it downstairs?" Hiro asks hesitantly, to which Peter offers an askance glance to Hiro with wide eyes.

"Right," Hiro mutters, turning to look back at the expanding gas cloud and the beams of flashlights starting to wobble down the stairs. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that."

"And also with you," is a relic from Niki's youth, a reflexive utterance and perfunctory response to Norman White's well-wishes. She locks her gaze with his, a slow nod of her head, as though she feels a connection with him. She does, in some way.

Tear gas has her withdrawing further down the hallway, eyes stinging still as she brings one arm up to cover her nose and mouth. "What do you mean window of escape? I thought your ability overrode Knutson's!" An accusing glare is thrown at Hiro as Niki shouts over her shoulder to him, then turns her attention back to the impending advance of security.

Elsewhere in the facility, Brooke Lynwood is screaming and clawing at herself from the way the use of her own ability wars with multiple others similar to her, combined with morphine dulling her senses and control. The combination of temporal manipulators is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

But not yet.

"What now? Do we take Summers and retreat to Red? And aren't you supposed to know what happened here?!" Niki adjusts her grip on her weapon, flattening back against the wall to watch the other end of the corridor.

"I didn't have a watch on okay!?" Peter shouts back to Niki. It's Hiro, though, that has the most revelatory explanation as to why Odessa is superseding his ability to time travel anywhere, one that not even the good doctor herself — or her jailor Eric Doyle — were aware of.

"They did not just have her on morphine," Hiro asserts, moving to stand beside where Niki has withdrawn to. "She was one of the first trials for an ability augmentation drug, Gillian Childs in a syringe. It was not the powerful substance it is now, but the government had begun trying different drug concoctions. Odessa was far stronger than I at the present time."

"They had her on Amp?" Peter looks to Hiro with an incredulous stare, but Hiro's response is a slow shake of his head in the negative.

"Similar, but not Amphodynamine. That would not come until Pinehearst. But it did share some similarities… among other— side effects." If Hiro were going to elaborate on the side effects of whatever drug it was Odessa was on, it's cut short by the sound of someone getting punched in the mouth behind them.

Send sprawling onto his back, Cyrus Karr clutches his face with one hand, while a short and skinny Hispanic man with a gruffly unshaven and grown in goatee stalks towards him, shaking one hand in the air to try and numb the discomfort of punching someone in the mouth. "That is for— " Right about now, Gladen Summers is realizing what a predicament he is in.

There's a small Asian man with a sword staring at him, a guy with a horrible facial scar, and a chick with an assault rifle and— is that tear gas? Gladen's eyes grow wide as he steps back, both hands up. "Woah— Woah holy shit hold on. I don't wanna' get shot."

"Gladen Summers," Hiro intones as he turns back around to face the gas, watching the flashlights sweep into view, dark silhouettes in the tear gas moving into place. "Stand behind us."

"An Amp'd Knutson?!" Niki's as incredulous as Peter, without glaring back at the time-jumping Japanese man. "Jesus Christ." That's not a scenario she hopes ever comes up again. She remembers vividly what the mad doctor was like when she was a guest of the Company, if not what she heard once she became an agent.

Before the figures with their flashlights can emerge from the cover of the tear gas cloud, Niki at the fore of the group uses the points of light to judge centre of mass. Without battle cry, she takes her aim and pulls the trigger.

Short, controlled bursts of gunfire punch into the cloud. The security team moving through it finds themselves not facing the unarmed prisoners they were expecting, but presumably more of Phoenix's strike force, which somehow made its way down inside of the prison already. Shouts to fall back fill the air, but as Niki keeps them pinned down with gunfire, she recalls that someone else was in the smoke too.

Norman white flanks Niki's opponents, shooting into their ranks from behind as he backs his way to the stairs. Bullets rip through the back of light body armor, the same steel-jacketed rounds that Niki fires tears through the guards, sends them toppling to the ground as Norman's blurry vision affords him a vague map of corpses, stairs and turns as he makes his way backwards into the stairwell, firing and retreating.

There he is, to your right. Shoot.

Peter's voice hums in one of the guards' mind, forcing him to turn on an indistinct shake in the smoke, firing into the belly of one of his own comrades before the combined gunfire of Niki and Norman sends that guard too crumpling to the floor. There was no way they could have prepared for an encounter like that, not with the power down and back up only feeding cameras into Odessa's cell.

"Niki, Peter," Hiro calls out, stepping to the edge of the smoke at Niki's side as it starts to wash over them. "We need to— " A distant, droning sound of heavy weapons firing sounds like a hum from this distance. Hiro turns to look at Peter, or in his direction now that the stinging, choking smoke has started to thinly make its way down the hall. "What— is that?"

"An attack helicopter," Peter explains dryly, "I heard about it well after the fact from Hel— " Helena. "Get out of sight!" Peter shouts, grabbing Hiro by the scruff of his neck and dragging the swordsman towards the wall, hiding in the tear gas. "Don't say a word." Peter hisses sharply.

Within moments, there's the sound of footsteps and running, people coming from down on Red Level. Choking and coughing, a shape can be seen moving in the gas. Deprived of her ability, Helena Dean suffers as anyone else does, hustling her way up into the hub, hesitating when she finds corpses in the blinding gas, but quickly turns and sharply makes her way up the now empty stairwell at the same time that the prison's elevator is grinding down towards Red Level from Green Level.

"Jesus," Peter exhales, "we need— we need to go down. The fight down there will be moving towards Odessa's cell. Teodoro and Lucrezia will be down here any minute, and the gas is thinning. If they see us— " Peter shakes his head and can't even begin to imagine how that would break things.

Pulling himself off of the floor, Cyrus works his jaw from side to side, staring askance at Gladen. "Me'n you aren't done yet," the shaggy-haired prisoner mutters, looking to Hiro and Peter. "What the fuck are we doing? Are we going down?"

"Hey, ah— I know this is a gift-horse situation but, is it okay if I look in the mouth a little?" Gladen queries, looking wide-eyed at the encroaching cloud of gas. "I appreciate being sprung and all, but— "

"Come with me if you want to live," Hiro spits out at Gladen, suppressing the reflexive smile that would normally come with that cultural reference. It's true though.

If he hadn't have said it, she would have. Niki wipes a thumb across each of her eyes in turn, clearing them of involuntary tears. "Wait. Our window is—" She looks to Hiro. "You have got to be fucking kidding me," she hisses between her teeth.

With the figures moving past her, she can't afford to start shouting at him about how that's cutting things too close. Or threaten to straight up murder him if they wind up in 2019. Or the Jurassic Era. Or the fucking Atlantic Ocean. "Come on," Niki growls. "Let's move, then."

Through the haze of the tear gas, Niki leads the way, shortly followed thereafter by Hiro, covering his mouth and nose with one arm as he tries to squint through the stinging, painful gas on the way to the stairs. Peter urges for Cyrus and Gladen both to hurry ahead, taking up the rear of the group and affording a wary look to the stairwell that Helena retreated up through. I'll be right behind you lingers in Peter's mind, memory of his last words to her before she left that day.

He was, it turns out. Just too far.

When Niki arrives down at the bottom of the stairwell, she emerges into the hub of Red Level, where the sounds of conflict are already noisy. Down one of the halls, there's a crackling snap of lightning and the scream of Elle Bishop. Other voices, too many and all shouting are engaged in whatever battle is happening at the moment. On the floor near the stairs, Niki finds the body of Steven Verse, laid on his side in his long, black coat. His pupils are dilated fully, the whites of his eyes pock-marked red from an air-embolism delivered by Tamara with the empty syringe.

It's cathartic, knowing that he's dead.

Even moreso when she kicks the corpse in the ribs with a violence that would have cracked them with her original ability. "Need a new coat?" she quips to Peter, brows raised at her own sick joke.

Further stinging tears are blinked away as she makes her way further into the hub and away from the cloud of gas. "Where to, Nakamura?" Her instincts say away from the flashes of abilities being flung back and forth. Where Gillian Childs (not in a syringe) is amplifying combatants.

Cyrus and Gladen move out of the way once they're downstairs, catching sight of the light from a lightning flash down one of the branching corridors. Backing up against the wall, Cyrus looks to the open elevators and listens to the sound of automatic gunfire start up where the battle is taking place. "Holy— shit," Gladen murmurs, staring out into one of the hallways, watching from a distance as a superspeeded human tangles with Sylar and a entourage of others.

Peter, however, seems to find no humor in Niki's comment. Instead, he crouches down beside Verse with a furrow of his brows, looking up to Hiro as he does exactly what she jokingly said, shaking the dead agent's arms out of his long, dark jacket and swinging the long and thin coat over his shoulders. Peter shakes his arms out through the sleeves, flips the collar up against the back of his neck and looks to Hiro with brows furrowed. "I should be running into Odessa by now. How're you feeling?"

Looking back over his shoulder to the stairwell, Hiro reluctantly sheathes the Kensei sword on his back, then turns to Cyrus and Gladen. "I have an exit, but you two must agree to come with me now. I promise to fill you in on what is happening once we're somewhere safer." Somewhen safer as well.

"I'm feeling like you're right," Hiro finally answers, looking back to Peter. "We should leave before anyone down here notices our presence." A loud handgun round discharges down the corridor, and a woman screams. "Now." Holding out his hand towards Peter, the scarred ability mimic furrows his brows, then rankles his nose and takes Hiro's hand, laying his own on Niki's shoulder.

Gladen and Cyrus seem momentarily halted by the notion that Hiro can whisk them away, but after what they've seen happen, and that there is no way on God's green Earth that they feel they could escape Moab on their own, reluctance gives way to hesitant acceptance. Gladen lays a hand down on Hiro's shoulder, Cyrus on the other.

"What're you— some— kind'a teleporter?" Gladen asks shakily, to which Hiro offers an askance look over his shoulder to the prisoner.

"Something like that."

Niki actually lets out something that sounds like a giggle when Peter relieves Verse of his coat, bringing her hand up to press over her lips to swiftly muffle it. Nerves are a bitch. "Looks good on you," she affirms with a nod after he's popped the collar like a douchebag.

It suits him. Peter Petrelli is kind of a dick.

Not far away, another Hiro Nakamura is meeting Odessa Knutson for the first time. She is screaming for that Peter Petrelli to stay away from her. Memories of broken ribs and nearly losing an eye filling her with fear, on top of the situation at hand.

In the hub, Niki is reaching up to lay her hand over Peter's. "Take us home, Nakamura." Which is not the same as get us out of here by any means. There's no room for ambiguity where Hiro's concerned.

Regret briefly flashes across Hiro's features as he looks down one of the darkened corridors where the battle between the Moab security team is raging. Regret not for the violence, but for being unable — in this moment — to do anything without dangerously damaging history. His map, his plan doesn't involve going back to this point in time, and he hadn't mapped it out far enough. It's why he needed Peter and Niki, so that someone here knew what was going on.

"Not home…" Hiro counters, brows furrowed and lips downturned apologetically. "Not yet. There's… one more stop to make. Then we'll be done." That assertion doesn't seem to matter much to Cyrus and Gladen, but to Peter there's a look of surprise, distrust and frustration. Hiro had said one thing he needed help with, suddenly it's turning into too many problems all rolled up into one.

"Hiro— Damnit I thought you said— " Peter's protests mean nothing once Hiro has use of his power again, and in the same moment that a woman's screaming is wailing through the basement, Peter, Niki, Hiro and their two rescued inmates disappear with a whorl of tear gas swirling where air was displaced around them.


Despite the cacophony of searing lasers, human agony, retreat — despite even the direction Gabriel Gray had choosen to angle his attention in, it's another, distinct pattern of noise that separates itself from the others by simple priority of proximity. People are coming. Two of them.

And when they arrive, veering out of the stairwell and into the hallway, he recognizes both. He remembers the ones, even if they're armed and dressed differently, in an absurd combination of Halloween colors, divided neatly between the standards of Penitentiary prisoners and terrorist standards. Whatever it is, it's apparently in the family.

Lucrezia and Teodoro.

Neither of whom are exceptionally surprised to see him having completed the final stages of making desiccated dogmeat of the speedster. "Where the fuck is everybody?" Teo asks, straightforwardly, without actually stopping his rapid jog toward the inner recesses of the prison.

There was still much to be done here.

Las Vegas, Nevada

September 30th


The smooth click of plastic accompanies the top of the laptop's case coming down and shut, nestling snugly over and around the keyboard. Small hands deftly ensure that its clipped down into place properly, before reaching for a tiny jeweler's screwdriver to tighten the bottom screws. A noise, a rattling clatter of something being disturbed lifts a boy's attention up from the laptop. Wide eyes stare for a moment, then set down the screwdriver.

Getting up from where he knelt on the carpet in front of the coffee table, the young boy takes cautious, wary steps through the hallway and into the kitchen. The back door is closed and locked still, nothing's fallen onto the floor. The boy furrows his brows, then turns to walk down the hall, past his own room, towards the bedroom at the end. Small fingers curl around the doorknob, hesitate, then twist.

A lamp has been knocked over, an accident from disorientation. Standing with her back to the door, Niki Sanders stares into a partitioned mirror that serves as a closet door, a mirror she hasn't seen in too many years. Hair as dark as chocolate, she doesn't recognize herself in the reflection, but she does recognize the reflection of the boy standing behind her in the doorway.


Hiro Nakamura keeps his promises.

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