When Unpleasant Reality Catches Up


april2_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title When Unpleasant Reality Catches Up
Synopsis The Company catches up with April Silver, as do people who'd rather help her, if only she could bring herself to trust them; but with unwated specters of her past coming up left and right, she can't. It's the unfortunate truth that there's no such thing as out of the game.
Date August 29, 2010

Port Authority Bus Terminal, Garment District

The unremarkably brown high-rise April has been calling 'home' for a while was passed by at the last intersection. Did she realize she's being followed? Or has the woman recalled an errand she failed to inform her tails of?

The giant glass-and-metal sprawl of the Port Authority Bus Terminal occupies the entire city block on the left, major nexus for interstate buses and eleven subway routes — or it used to be. Now that there are fewer people in Midtown and a fear of lingering radiation hanging over Garment District, not as many transit routes run. The decline of the entire neighborhood is felt strongly here — the boxed flowerbeds are mostly dead, and unkempt where they are still green; trash collects against the lower edge of the building; the plate-glass windows are streaked and spotted, niceties like clarity having been set aside to pay for more necessary expenses.

Through the dingy windows, the inside of the terminal echoes the decay of Garment District at large; booths, counters, and nooks which once held a variety of shops from Radio Shack to Jamba Juice are now mostly closed down. Some businesses, especially fast food, still cling to an economic toehold — but the main floor as a whole is a dismal sight this Sunday morning, half-lit in the corridors, door after door after door gated and dark. There aren't the crowds there might have been; it isn't normal to linger and shop now, just to head for the bus gates on the second floor, or the subway tunnels in the basement.

April enters the building with a small knot of people — but even as the door swings shut behind them, she splits off and starts to run deeper into the terminal.

Guess that means someone's been spotted after all.

Her kingdom for one of the handheld isotope trackers — Veronica Sawyer is searching for April the hard way, which means tracking via the database rather than the isolated isotope, and so for the past few days of looking for April (before everyone was looking for April) she's always just a little too late to catch the woman — in her free time, which she hasn't had a lot of while working on the Portman murder case — which is now a double murder case, as it turns out.

Today, she has managed to track Silver to this bus station, and Sawyer herself is dressed like a typical traveller, jeans, tennis shoes, and a baseball cap to try to keep her from looking like one of the Company goons. Her eyes study the small crowd, missing April on the first sweep. But then someone is suddenly running, and Veronica takes off in that direction, trying to look like she's just trying to catch her bus, glancing at a watch and looking up at the displays of arrivals and departures.

Mooks, Company mooks, three of them to be precise. They have the technology that Veronica is lacking in Mook 1's hand, having worked out where the woman is and following her, keeping an eye on the time traveler. Followed her all the way to the subway station with the knowledge that if she got deep enough, they couldn't rely on it anymore.

It was the former agent running that got them going into action, 1, 2 and 3 spreading out and taking off after her in suits and touching radios to give off location. In pursuit of the suspect, heading possibly towards the subway or the bus, will stay close see if they can't apprehend. Somewhere, Harper in his gulag is crowing while alternately hoping he doesn't drop the soap.

If one were being entirely honest, Cardinal had been starting to think that he was too late — that she'd already escaped via bus, and they'd lost her completely off the map. The shadow had moved in slow patterns across the dirty floors of the terminal like the passage of light through the grime crusted on the dinge-tinted windows, lingering near the entrance to try and keep an eye out for the woman with increasing doubt that he'd spot her.

Only to have her step on him as she broke into a run through the terminal.

"Oh, bloody hell… bloody hell…" A whisper against the floor, as the shadowy form slithers through the crowd like a two-dimensional arrow, pursuing her once he realizes who she is. She has a bit of a head start, though!

With her hair cut very short, she almost doesn't look like April at first glance. Not that that matters to the people with isotope tracers; or soon enough anyone else, for that matter. First, in that she flees. Dodging around the commuters where she can, to affronted exclamations and sour glares: watch where you're going hey don't you have any manners. The hubbub of irate New Yorkers is almost enough to cover the sound of running feet — almost.

Second, in that April's answer to the escalator is forcefields.

There are inevitably people on the stairs. People who wouldn't get out of the way fast enough for her to charge down them, causing the fleeing former agent to fall — probably to her doom, one way or another. If she did that. But she can brace her hands against the top of the rail and vault up onto a silver plane that forms itself beneath her feet, extending into a ramp downwards over space that normally no one could traverse. And no one else will, the field dissolving itself only a short interval behind her feet. A second small panel of misty light shields her back, denying any center-of-mass shots the agents might be bold enough to try for.

She's determined to keep her head start.

Veronica can't jump that space nor can she broach the distance between them. She sees the shadow slithering by, and she shakes her head — Cardinal is simply ubiquitous. "Get her out of here, preferably out of the country," she hisses, not sure if her words will travel. As the agent makes it to the escalators, she hurriedly presses the emergency stop button at the top of the downward steps, which immediately causes the conveyor mechanism to lurch to a stop — it won't do a lot but it will buy some time, and create some havoc. Meanwhile, she hops up on the handrail and runs down, her athleticism and martial arts training allowing her to run down rather quickly. Some of the younger and more impatient travelers on the escalator decide to follow in this manner, rather than wait for the slower of the people now stuck on the escalator to begin to move and actually use the steps as steps.

Agent Sawyer is seen, silly mooks, they believe that the woman is with them. They also knows April's ability and when the silvery forcefield pops into being behind her, they're smart enough to not fire off their tasers. They did want her alive, not dead and with the amount of people present. "Sawyer." The sound close, but agents behind her means that one of them - Mook 1 - is an audiokinetic. "Which way is she heading?" She might have a headstart, but they outnumber her. Supposedly. Mook two doesn't bother with jumping up in the center, opting for brute force as he lays in on people, barreling down the now stopped escalator and trying to catch up while Mook three jibbers into his radio to apprise the retrieval team of where they are as he moves and keep an eye on the isotope GPS.

The crowd of people that slow down the progress of the agents isn't any obstacle to Cardinal, who washes over and beneath their feet like a shadowy river. Down the stairs he goes at the speed of dark, streaking down in pursuit of the forcefield-surfing refugee from a future that no longer exists.

It startles April when the escalator abruptly ceases motion beside her, a hasty glance cast back but not catching sight of Veronica at the button — not until the agent is running down the siderail, and then it's impossible to miss her. Not surprisingly, Sawyer's presence doesn't exactly encourage the fugitive to slow down.

The basement level is a series of subway platforms, half of which are closed down — the half that once passed through Midtown on their way to parts elsewhere. April bolts towards the active ones. Perhaps with the intent to catch a train… or maybe not, when she charges straight off the platform into the recessed track, scrambling up the far side with the assistance of another forcefield. She pauses, a moment's hesitation to take her bearings and figure out what she's doing next.

Blinking at the voice near her ear, Veronica stops on the bottom of the escalator, looking one way, and seeing April, and then the other, pretending to still look for her. "Lost track of her. I think she headed toward the Midtown tunnels," she lies — their tracking device will give them the information soon enough. She does not give chase — the memo said not to try for a face to face encounter, after all.

Meanwhile, she pulls out her cell phone and texts Cardinal, though she isn't sure if he'll look at his phone while in shadow form. Order is 'detain and call containment services' — AS needs 2 get out of country OR offer services 2 Institute. Those are the only two choices she sees as viable right now.

Once that's sent, she speaks again, "I'll check the other way in case I'm wrong." And she's off running again in the direction that Silver went.

Mook 2 goes with Sawyer, trailing behind her with his taser out and held to the side and pointing down at the ready. Mook 1 and 3 head off in direction that Veronica directed. The reasoning for them being so large a group, more people means that situations like this could be handled. They get the tracking information, enough to know that Veronica was wrong before it goes out, depths starting to interfere with the isotope tracking. 1 and 3 scramble to a stop then turn around, losing ground thanks to Vee's misdirection but work to make it back up.

A wash of darkness spills down one side of the platform, across the tracks, and up towards the other side, rippling along in a silhouette towards April's feet as she hesitates. "Keep going, April," the voice hisses through the cacophony of the subway, "They're right on your fucking heels, you need to get the hell out of here… out of here… or find somewhere enclosed to turn the tables…"

April double-takes towards the shadow at her feet, literally jumping back away from its dark sprawl. "The hell —?" The long, glittering edge of a forcefield blade projects itself from her grasp, albeit without immediately slashing down at the shadow; she does think, not just react, and not even she can really cut through a shadow.

"Stating the obvious doesn't do any good," she chides the… talking shadow?… in a tense hiss, before continuing her backwards travel. She's clearly trying to keep him on the same side of her as the agents; ultimately futile, but she tries. Contrary to Cardinal's advice, April turns back around to look at Vee and Mook #2 following in her footsteps, left hand coming up and forward in a sharp jab. Half a dozen splinters of silver light fly towards the two in question.

Veronica's seen what April can do, so when the woman turns and flings something, the brunette agent throws herself to the ground, landing prone and covering her head with her arms. She can only hope that the damage to the other Company agent is enough to buy Silver and Cardinal enough time to get away — and that she's ducked low enough.

Down goes Mook 2, following suit with Veronica at the sight of the force fields incoming. Only he interposes himself between Veronica and the incoming evolved projectiles, the aim to take the brunt of it. His skin turns silver and hard along his back and the rest of him in a single thought. It doesn't help him though and the blades go right through, slicing his metallic skin as if it was nothing. He looks shocked at Veronica, mouth open wide as if he wasn't expecting that and he's down for real and… for good.

Mook 1 and 3 are not far behind and don't come around the corner, skipping the dangerous forcefield blades.

A ripple of shadow sweeps up April's side as if the light above her had just shifted away, the whispered hiss of Richard Cardinal's voice reaching up towards her ear this time. "Sawyer's a friendly, she isn't trying to bring you in. The others are — get moving, god damn it, unless you plan on killing all of them… all of them…"

"Oh sh— that is fucking creepy," April hisses when there is suddenly a shadow limpeted to her, hands flung up as she performs a reflexive jig-step backwards. It doesn't get her away from the shadow or shake it off, which means she's just going to have to put up with him. "You're not helping—" Until she can figure out what to do about it. She's trying, very hard.

"And why do you think I'll believe you, anyway?" she asks in that same low tone, not exactly rhetorical for all that her next move and his advice happen to align. April falls off the other side of the platform, now two subway tracks away from Veronica, crouching to keep her head below the rim while running down along the tunnel.

"Agent down," Veronica says, this time the truth catching in her throat. The agent, a nameless goon that she's seen but never spoken to, had thrown himself into the path to protect her, and is now dead. She crawls to him to make sure he is in fact dead, and to buy time — if there is first-aid to administer, a life to save, that's a legitimate reason to stall going after the renegade with lethal forcefields.

When it's clear he's dead, she takes his firearm and taser, lest a civilian get to him before a clean-up crew.

She glances at the corner where she knows the other agents lurk, and then runs in the direction that Silver fled — she'll have to jump into one track, climb out, and then jump down the other, to 'pursue'.

Without the other agents in sightline yet, she shoots into the tracks to ensure there is no ricochet, so that the two following agents will believe she is chasing Silver in earnest.

Mook 2 is dead. Or just about to expire if his vitals are any indication, the retreat of silver skin to all to normal and vulnerable pink flesh with red blood flowing from where April's tricks sliced through his body. She's using lethal force and the other two mooks aren't below doing it themselves as tasers are traded for handguns and they move. They move following where they saw April run, close behind Veronica and jumping down. "Stop running Silver! Don't make us shoot!"

"You don't exactly have a lot of options right now, April," murmurs the shadow that clings to her like an incorporeal wrap, "It's me - Richard. And I'd really rather not have to tell your fiance that you're dead or in the hands of some shadowy agency, thank you very— shit."

That's them shouting after her, and Cardinal hisses, "They're right behind you. Gotta do something to slow them down…"

"Dammit, do you practice being obnoxious?" April snaps, little restraint on volume now under the continued — no, increasing — tension of their situation. "Also, pot/kettle here, Mr. Shadow," she adds, more normally.

She casts a glance back over her shoulder at the agents behind, listening intently for the sound of any approaching subway trains. These are live tracks, after all. "You shoot, you're dead!" the fugitive yells back towards them as she crosses into the dim environment of the tunnel proper. Not that she expects them to heed the warning. Her eyes adjusted to the better-lit platforms, April turns and looks their way rather than continuing blindly in. Drawing her hand horizontally writes a line of force across the pit at just about knee level, thin silver ribbon difficult to see. Pushing forward sends it forward — towards all three remaining agents, with a second thread soon following at chest height.

Someday she'll train herself out of the gestures she doesn't need. …Or not.

Once more, Veronica throws herself onto the ground, hoping to duck the forcefield wave coming her way; her small size and agility give her some advantage perhaps over larger agents. If she makes it under, she'll jump up to keep running, hoping to leave the other two agents behind. "Silver, you don't have to run — if you're willing to work with us, I'll tell them so… I'll get them to stop chasing," she calls, hoping it sounds like a logical offer to the other two agents — after all guns and tasers aren't going to work in this instance unless they get really lucky. Manipulation might.

Her true motive, of course, is to just keep Silver alive — working for the Institute might be worse than death, but April can cross that bridge if she comes to it.

Veronica dives, and they take note too, the mooks going to ground, bodies connecting with the floor of the subway tunnel. Mook 3, however, is unlucky: as he goes down, throwing himself to the ground, has the misfortune of touching the third rail, the electrified one. The screams and smell of burning flesh as thousands of volts traverse through him is not a pleasant one.

Mook one fares better, but in his confusion, looking back to his partner and springing up to see if there's anything that can be done, meets the second wave sent out by April and, with a wet slice, a body collapses beside writhing Mook 3, followed not long after by his head. Seperate from the body.

"Veronica." A louder hiss from the living shadow of Richard Cardinal, "Stand down. There're no witnesses anymore, and I'd rather not see you lose your head because you pissed April off further… April…"

The silhouette cast sourceless upon the temporal refugee whispers an oath best not listened to closely in mixed company, then swiftly informs her, "…I'm not part of any government agency, woman, I'm — it's hard to explain, and I really don't think this is the time or place. The Company's all but fallen, and trust me — you do not want to fall into the hands of the Institute…"

"Just get the hell off me," April retorts to her intangible second skin, unable to decide whether she has more need to watch him or Sawyer. Not that she can watch the shadowmorph, exactly… but one arm stretches out to point at the running agent, in what is undeniably a warning. A threat. If the hand shakes a bit… well, stress is understandable in her situation. "I don't want an explanation," she tells Cardinal bluntly. "And if I wanted to go to the Institute — I wouldn't be here.

"I want you to go away," is the emphatic conclusion that doesn't quite edge into a plea. Them, and the agents, and everyone else who gets in the way of April living her life.

The wet noises and groans that rattle through her two colleagues let Veronica know without looking they are dead, and Cardinal's telling her to stand down gets a roll of her eyes. April and Veronica are a lot alike. "I'm not trying to hurt her!" she shouts, getting back to her feet in time to face that shaking hand pointed in her direction.

"Listen, April. There's an APB out — we're supposed to take you alive and call for containment, which means the Institute is after you. The way I see it, you have two choices: turn yourself over to me and I'll do my fucking best to make sure they see you as an asset, or you have to leave the country. The isotopes, they're trackable individually now. We're all screwed. The Institute has the technology already. I'll cover you, whichever choice you go with, I'll lie for you or whatever else, but we don't have a lot of time and you need to choose quick."

"I'm sure you do…" A ripple of shadow spills downward along her arm and hip and thigh, then up along the dirty wall beside her, "…but that's not going to happen, April. You're the last one they can get to. Nathan's beyond their reach, and they have no way to find Reed unless he wants to be found. The others are dead, as far as I know. Now that they have your scent, they will not stop… until we stop them, you can't live your damn life in peace."

Cardinal hisses, "They aren't perfect. You can hide anywhere that the isotope's signal is blocked…"

"They've always been trackable," April tells Veronica, apparently unimpressed — or too wary to consider acquiescing. Or both. She scowls at the darker splotch on the wall. "I'll be fine. You want to help me?" The woman pauses abruptly, looking suddenly uncertain as she second-guesses her impulse. Second-guesses, triple-guesses… "You want to help me?" she repeats, much more softly. "Look after James. I can't," April admits, lips pressing together, looking anywhere but at either of them. "I can keep my own skin intact — I've done it before — but… I can't…" Can't finish the sentence, either, although at least she can bring herself to face that reality.

"They're more fine tuned. Is there a place they're not trackable?" She glances at Cardinal, her hand coming up to her own neck where she is marked as well. "And the Institute, they have compasses. Harper has one. More and more ways to track us like animals." She glances over her shoulder at the dead bodies she's going to have to call in momentarily, then turns back to stare at April, still several feet, yards, between them.

"I'll get them to see you as usable, and we can figure out the rest, how to get out, later, but it's better than living like a fugitive for now," she says — or she'd have run a long time ago. "But I won't insist. You can go. Cardinal can help keep you safe, him or Chesterfield. You got a message for James? I'll get it to him." Her eyes are earnest as they study April's face.

"They shouldn't be able to broadcast through a faraday cage," Richard murmurs from the shadows, showing off that he learned science recently, "And if you'll toss me one of those trackers, I can get my R&D department working on something to block the frequency they track at."

Of course, he might also be able to use them to track marked people… does Vee trust him that much?

"We'll watch after James regardless, April," he whispers, "He's a friend of ours. Handles our legal paperwork, although he doesn't know anything about… the other world we all live in, at least that I know of. You can't run forever, April. What kind of life is that… what kind of life…?"

April smiles thinly at Veronica; she does the agent the courtesy of lowering her hand, feeling secure enough in the likelihood she can raise a shield faster than the other woman can bring up either weapon. "No offense, Sawyer," she says, albeit gently, "but not any I'm going to trust to you." The woman takes a step back from Cardinal's wall-perch, back from where Veronica stands. And another. "Better than living in a cage," she says, and while she doesn't mean it in the context of Faraday, the word's coincidentally at the front of her mind.

"You're right," she remarks, looking at Veronica but speaking to Cardinal. "The Company's fallen, or next to it. I know how this goes," April continues bleakly, events that never happened in this timeline crowding her thoughts. "And I can't trust you, whoever you are." Yes, she knows his name. That's not the same thing.

"It won't fly — I can't say she grabbed it and ran in the time frame and…" Veronica glances back at the electrocuted Company agent, "I don't think it's gonna work anyway."

"Go then. I gotta call it in — that crowd back there will have heard stuff and be calling the police." It's already going to look suspicious, the fact she of all four agents is the only unscathed one among them.

"I wasn't with them, just so you know. I was trying to find you to help you," she offers to April, her dark eyes full of apology. She taps her pocket. "Getting the cell phone out. I need to call this in so they stop any trains from coming this way. You should go — I'm going to climb out of here," she nods to the wall that will get her back on the platform. "Can you throw one of your shields at me without killing me? Just enough to leave a bruise or two, make it look like I didn't come out without a scratch? I trust you."

Damn. The shadow looks eyeless at the burnt out Company agent. R&D'll have to go back to working from scratch on that, then.

As the pair make plans to let her go, Cardinal is silent for a long moment. He can tell her who he is, but he's pretty sure what her reaction is going to be. "I… we're Edward's contigency plan, April," the darkness whispers, "In case he was wrong. And he was."

April looks at Veronica for a long, long moment without speaking. The same long moment in which Cardinal doesn't speak, which makes for a great deal of relative silence on the tracks. Green eyes narrow at the agent — then flare wide and redirect to the wall-crawling shadow. Backstepping two short steps, she points at him instead. "Go away," she repeats to the darkness. "I am not — not! — putting myself in his reach again." Backstep. "I am done. Done. Just leave me alone!"

Vee is apparently on her own when it comes to explanations, because April is going away down the tunnel. Right now, not a moment later.

"Well, that went well," Veronica says with a sigh, and she moves to clamor up the wall to the platform above. "I gotta call this in so the trains don't derail." She glances at her watch. "There's time, but not much. Go follow her, maybe someone else like Cat can offer her a place to stay later, since she wants nothing to do with either of us."

Once up on the platform, she punches in the numbers. "Got dead agents on the track here, someone's gonna need to call it into the trains so they don't derail." She mutters to the dispatcher, giving the appropriate line numbers, then glances back at Cardinal. "I gotta go deal with this mess. Sorry it didn't go better." Her eyes are apologetic, her tone flat and weary. Par for the course.

"At least she's not in Broome's hands…" A shadowy sigh of breath, and then the darkness darts away through the tunnel in pursuit of the poor woman. Really, Cardinal wishes he could leave her to live her life. But he knows that'd never work.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License