White Flag


amadeus_icon.gif devon_icon.gif doyle2_icon.gif elle4_icon.gif howard_icon.gif perry_icon.gif

Scene Title White Flag
Synopsis An effort to steal a major resource is derailed when Humanis First has other plans — and give them new ones.
Date February 20, 2011

The Dome: The shores of Queens

To the south, the rubble of the wrecked powerplant from two years ago stretches as open space, lurking on the shores of Queens. Scattered warehouses and other dockside businesses remain in a state of abandonment, boarded over windows where others are smashed in, tags on brick walls, cars left in the street. At least there is no THE END IS NIGH printed in spray paint, chalk, or variously, blood, but every now and then, a brash H and an F are both printed together on the asphalt, the brickwalls, white paint on the sides of trucks. There is an emptiness to this place, the farther north they get, creeping towards the barrier.

Across the river, Roosevelt Island lurks blackly from the events a week ago, with soot scorched up the side of the Dome's inner wall from where the church had been exploded, its Dome-less side still standing, only faintly scorched where it touches the invisible-ish wall. Fire rises off the bridge, souther, where someone has lit a car aflame.

But more importantly, sitting Queens-side and tied off at a wide grey pier, is what was formerly called Sea Mother, but the paint flaked and faded into obscurity. The vessel is quiet, not idling, but people are boarding it anyway. There are five men in total, variously armed and protected in kevlar, and they watch over up to three citizens they seem to be bullying aboard. Among them is Devon, the young man almost choked from the grip on his shirt collar, his arms drawn behind and tied off tight in plastic. He's held as the two Evolved ahead of him are hassled on, a black girl who can't be out of highschool long, and an older, ruddy-faced man whose right eye has been turned bloody.

No sign of Elle. There are shadows of people in the wheelhouse.

Despite the beating he'd taken and the obscurity in which he'd reached this point, Devon still has some little fight left in him, anger clung to desperately lest the panic and terror fully set in. New bruises lay over old on his face, the shades of blues and purples and pale reds mixing with the starker contrast of blood, some dried and some still bright and wet. For a countless time he strains against those plastic ties tightly holding his wrists, already cut and slippery from other times before. His fingers are beginning to tingle.

Devon stumbles and trips as he's 'guided' aboard the boat, remaining upright only by force of will lest that near choke becomes a full choke. He's already seeing pricks of white in his field of vision. His head turns to watch the old man and younger girl be pushed further forward, a mingling of fear for the two, and fear for what might happen next. The teenager, tight jawed and trembling slightly, remains silent, keeping his eyes on the male and female ahead of him.

Of course it was never going to be so simple as 'take the boat'. Perry never had illusions about ease, despite the ease with which he suggested this course of action. The difficulty innate in seizing a boat cum weapons platform & marauders' base is reflected most clearly in the preparations made. The gear carried. Kevlar vest under winter jacket, a pistol in his pocket, a hunting rifle slung to his back. And a grenade. He still has that little keepsake. Overdue, perhaps, for a return to its original owners.

Perry's in glasses again, an elastic sports band keeping them firmly in place. His head is covered by a black knit cap that rests atop his ever-so-square haircut. A muddy brown eye narrows as it perceives the captives through the scope on the rifle, magnifying lens tracing over a figure familiar. Devon. And if he's been taken, that means…

But he can't think about that right now. He must remain clear headed. He must be patient, and, as one greatly admired has stated, passion doesn't want to wait.

"Alright, men," Doyle pulls himself up to his full height, drawing his chin up, brows lifting as he stares down his nose at the three men standing in front of him, "Atten-HUT."

The trio of men - in ragged, dirty and bloodstained clothes, with rubber Halloween masks shoved awkwardly over their faces, some of the eye holes not even lined up - lift the rifles in their hands to their shoulders, going ramrod straight in eerie unison.

"This is the big one," he says in stuffy tones, "You're rapists, murderers, and assholes. Die well for your country. And when you see the devil…" He leans forward, grinning broadly, "…remind him to keep my room ready." The puppet master looks over to the others, "I'll get them distracted. You guys hit them from the other direction?" That's about as tactical-minded as Eric gets, really.

It's been a while since Melissa left with Brennan to get the Amp from the Suresh Center. While there she managed to get her head looked at, and she's a little less fuzzy, but she has yet to visit her apartment to get another pair of shoes. Maybe after this. She hopes. And another pistol. Pain meds. Life's little necessities.

As she walks into the auto shop, her face shows that the news she has isn't good, but she doesn't make anyone wait to hear it. "Someone had stolen some Amp from the Center. They wouldn't let Brennan sign any out, and were ready to toss me in a tiny little room to interrogate me because they thought I might have taken it. Dumbshits. So no Amp."

She leans heavily against a wall and sighs, muttering to herself, "Where the fuck's Gillian when we need her?"

Amadeus stands somewhere behind Doyle, a rifle and machete crossed in opposite directions on his back, forming an X with the straps. In his right hand is a simple glock 22, somewhere along the way having picked up another black jacket, this one with a yellow AC/DC on the front in large letters. "Man, fuckin' lowest scum ever. There's two things you do with a chick. You can share some shrooms or pot with 'er, or you can fuck 'er, but you don't do the two at the same time unless she's just into that kinda thing. 'Course I never remember the fucking part, and my wallet's usually gone by that time, but fuck, you know that pin ball thing in Sesame Street? Fuckin' awesome."

Pericles Jones and his rag-tag rescue party look to have everything planned. A good distraction, a strong contingent of violent offenders willing (or perhaps more correctly unwilling) to commit their lives to the cause, and the element of surprise on their side. Were anyone able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, however, it might be this group; because someone looks like someone unexpected might screw up the entire plan.

In Doyle's peripheral vision, movement catches his attention. Drab green and blonde, a tattered old military cut jacket looking a little too small for the wiry youth wearing it. Sneakers slap softly across concrete and crunch through broken glass before the skinny young man comes to a skidding halt, crouched behind one of the derelict and abandoned cars nearest to the alleyway he'd emerged from.

It isn't cold here in the dome any longer, near springtime weather affords a certain seasonable warmth. Yet his blonde young man is exhaling hot, steaming breath like it were the middle of winter. Sweat beads down his nose, rolling to a drop on the tip, eyes focused not on Perry's crew, to which he seems oblivious, but the boat.

No guns, no knives, no weapons of any kind in his possession, Howard Phillips has to be a madman to consider storming a Humanis First vessel on his own. Madness is, understandable, in his genes.

Boosting up from his crouch, Howard disappears around one side of the car, breaking line of sight to Doyle as he scrambles up the road further towards another car, popping down into a crouch again. Howard peer up through the shattered windows of the burned out shell of the car he's ducked behind, considering the pier and the distance he'd have to run in the open to get to it.

With the procession outside making a show in the strange light of the snow-blocked noon, what happens in the wheelhouse goes unseen, for now.

Elle is unconscious, lying on the ground without much in the way of dignity. A rough tie off of bandaging loops around her thigh in broad stripes, by now saturated in red, crusting and unchanged from when she'd been shot just last night, bullet dug out of the meat it penetrated but not much else in the way of maintenance. Arms cuffed not in plastic, like most of the others, but metal. As if they know. And they do. Wrists tangled in steel which is in turn tangled with the wheel that would be driving the boat out if anyone was, but Elle is alone.

A needle is plugged into her arm, however, taped there, with plastic wire, and a bag of some unlabeled fluid hooked up to drip chemical into her bloodstream. If she were awake, it'd be a matter of tearing it out as desired. But the problem is that by the time she is awake—

Her heart beat speeds within the cavern of her chest, dangerously irregular, blood flushing close to the surface of her skin, rousing her.

"How much time do we have?"

Outside, those starting to place their positions against the boat may hear that question from one of the men who's hauling the first of the Evo capturees onto the boat, uncaring about where he falls when a boot at the man's backside tips him forward onto the deck. The terrorist, with his rifle slung at his back, reaches down to bodily haul the woman up, and in that moment, she unleashes a well-placed kick that has him grunting, a gut-deep noise, and dropping her.

She lands hard on the pier, long, lean legs scrabbling to get herself up. "Run! Run!" she shrills to Devon, making her escape even with her hands bound. There's no chance, and the butt of a rifle aimed to her throat aborts her plans early.

Recklessly, Devon lurches against the hands that hold him, seeing the woman go down in a horrible end. He'll run if he can, but not away. While twisting, writhing to get at the rifle bearer, his fingers grasp futilely at the plastic around his wrists. "Hey turd fuck," he yells, voice strained against the strangle. "Didn't your mom teach you not to hit girls!? The hell's wrong with you all, she's just a kid!"

As the spat of struggle an violence begins on the border between boat and shore, Perry's trigger finger is struck with a terrible itch. He clamps his digit against the side of the rifle, allowing his teeth to clench just once before letting out a smooth exhale. The crosshairs of his scope dance across the exposed heads of the H-Effers, but he goes no further - he can't be firing off bullets and giving away his position before Doyle's distraction is under way.

"Yes," Perry confirms, not taking his eye from the sight, watching Devon's defiance with an appreciation that still in no way allays his growing impatience, "soak their fire. I'll- I'll snipe- uh- I'll snipe when I see muzzle flares. Get- uh- move closer when they- uh- when they notice me and take cover. I'll- uh- I'll keep covering you. Both of you. I'll join you when- uh- when you've secured an approach."

The overheard question floats, a stray particulate, into the stream of Perry's consciousness. "What-" he wonders aloud, "do you- uh- do you think they're on a time budget for?"

Bruised and battered from her capture last night on top of the relatively untended bullet wound. The first hint of awakening has her head swimming, her eyes clenching shut a bit tighter as she stirs with a groan. They weren't kind to her last night. Even worse, it feels as if she's about to have a heart attack. Wincing, Elle's eyes flutter open to stare up at the wheel that her hands are cuffed to. Then, she turns to look at the needle plugged into her arms.

Wincing, Elle attempts to pull herself up a bit, using the handcuffs to assist in pulling herself up. "Wh…what th'hell?" She mutters this out, turning her eyes to see if there's any view of her captors, eyes widening. The speedy heartbeat is making her rather jumpy for someone who has just recently returned from the world of unconsciousness.

She turns her eyes toward the bag that drips fluid into her arm, eyes widening.

"They've got an appointment," Doyle replies faintly as he looks at the pier far away, listening to the sounds of fighting and shouting, "It's with Death, and she's an impatient bitch."

The puppeteer's hands lift; fingers twitch, a mere direction of a power that he doesn't really need to move for. But it helps him focus. And the masked trio marches forward, heading at a straight line towards the pier, moving in lockstep progress towards their own likely deaths.

"So who am I supposed to shoot?" is Amadeus' only real question, looking over his weapon while waiting for Doyle's instructions. "I bet we could just shoot holes in the boat, kill the Humans First dudes, then swim down into the water and get our stuff. Like a pinata."

"I don't see a kid, pretty boy. I see a mutant bitch." This from the guy who wind-piped the woman, stepping over the sprawl of her legs and rounding on Devon in brisk strides. Muzzle almost touching Devon's jaw in contrasting lightness to the brutal blow he'd dealt just prior— the sounds of her sobbing chokes hitching in the air. "And hey, I'm looking at another one. Now keep your mouth shut, or I'll knock the teeth out of your skull. And you may wanna keep 'em — it's the only way they're gonna identify your body."


Looking up from where he's looming over Devon, the man takes in the sight of the three in Halloween masks making their stiff-legged approach. Shouldering past the young Evolved, he and two others move to solid ground to approach at a wary pace. "What's this shit?" is question for the general world. But it doesn't take much to work it out. Masked freaks are all Evolved are, after all, and this is too important to interrupt.

The leader leads by example, and lifts his rifle.

Muzzle flare sparks up in the gloomy noon, burying bullets into the three intruders without much in the way of remorse or regret — even if they could see the wide eyed terror behind cheap rubber. Two follow his lead, the sound of warefare filling the space. Devon is held at gunpoint, a sidearm digging into his ribs, collar twisted in a meaty, unforgiving fist.

From inside the wheelhouse, Elle can hear the sharp report of gunfire, even as she feels herself surged awake by whatever drug is being dripped into her system. It's not amp — the fluid is clear, but whatever it is, it's getting her heart racing, a chemical panic frazzling her nerves — and she starts feeling hot as control over her ability begins to slip.

Gunfire and the commotion of distraction is what gives Howard the incentive to move. Three figures, marching in unison, and the rotund figure of Eric Doyle behind them like the drummer in a Colonial march. One corner of Howard's mouth creeps up into a smile, brows knit into a furrow and the young man plants his hand down on the hood of the car, vaulting over it with a swing of his legs, skidding across the heat-blistered paint to land on the other side.

The moment Converse sneakers hit asphalt, Howard breaks into a run. He's fast, not in the way someone like Felix Ivanov is, but the way a practiced runner is. Arms and legs snap in motion, sneakers clap against the street and shaggy blonde hair blows back from his face. Gunfire pops and whizzes past Howard, and one of the puppeteered men in masks takes a round that zipped over Howard's shoulder, trimming a new tear in his jacket.

One of Howard's arms draws back as he runs, a scream building up int he back of his throat. If his friendship with Joshua has taught him anything, it's that screaming is important when going into a fight. Electricity crackles down Howard's arm, pain floods his senses and makes his scream more primal, more real. Snapping voltage arcs down to the deck, blasts off of Howard's sleeve, crackles between his fingertips like a live wire.

Fingers curl closed into a fist, and Howard skids to a halt and swings that electrified hand forward, slamming into the jaw of the man trying to wrangle Devon and unleashing a crackling explosion of electrical charge that knocks him clear off of his feet and sends even Howard jostling backwards with wobbly legs and shaky arms. His skin is burned on his hands from the electricity, smoke rising from his sleeve.

"Hey!" Howard shouts, electricity arcing inside of his mouth between tongue and teeth, blue eyes squared on Devon as he tries to catch his balance, realizing that there's at least two more men to content with. "Run!"

Muscles stand out as his jaw is clenched shut, Devon staring levelly at the gun holder though a flare of his nostrils give wind of his fear. "Fuck. You." Two words offered in response, spilled through gritted teeth. He'd say more, but a gun against the chin can be awfully convincing to keep the conversation short.

Devon twists as the muzzle of another gun is pressed into his ribs, another reminder to keep anything else from being said. He rises up onto his toes, straining against the grip at his collar to gain some literal breathing space. That is until the sounds of gunfire sounds sharply near his head. The teenager struggles all the more, trying to escape the grip and get down away from the volleys.

His efforts are rewarded, after a fashion, Devon sent sprawling when the man behind him is so squarely hit by Howard. It's no easy task getting upright with hands bound behind your back, but after some pushing to clear the gunman's body, the boy rights himself. A kick is sent squarely for the man's groin, a field goal shot, before he sets to follow another to the back of the leader's leg.

The beautiful thing about visible powers - electrokenisis, firestarting, material mimicry - is that it makes friend/foe identification very easy. Not that, you know, there is much room for wonder when Devon's capture is blasted back. Enemy of my enemy.

As distractions go, this is a pretty good one, a screaming Howard being just an unexpected windfall as the three marionettes make their last march. Perry is economical. He doesn't have a lot of bullets, so he takes care to only fire with a direct shot at the head, neck or chest. Each shot is taken slowly, aim steady, though he is quick to move on after a hit, using what means he can to find targets. Patience, still. Patience. Leave the panic and the running for the people who are actually in the line of fire.

There is a reason snipers are so hated.

Hands tug against the metal handcuffs, the redhead with blonde roots squirming as the chemicals race through her system, moving to sit up. She squirms her arms the most, as if that would dislodge the needle while her hands are bound to the wheel, unable to rip the source of her growing discomfort from her vein. "Get - get it out!!!" She screams this out at the top of her lungs as her senses are set on edge far too soon after waking up.

Snaps of electromagnetic energy begin to crackle over Elle's skin as she begins to overheat, the woman squirming. Quickly, her clothing begins to smoulder, smoking as the heat that she radiates begins to cook it. Kind of like an iron left on a piece of cloth for too long.

Elle screams again, trying her hardest to keep her control, but it's quickly becoming too difficult to control it. "Help me!" This - this is terrifying. Memories of Harmony's warnings, of becoming another Midtown Man, come to the front of Elle's mind. She doesn't want this to become another Midtown.

For possibly the first time in Elle's life, she says a silent prayer.

Oops! There go Doyle's puppets, their bodies forced to take a few more staggered steps forward until the structural damage gets to be too much, or perhaps just when their nervous system stops being capable of sending impulses towards their legs. The trio - two gangbangers and one of the ship crews' fellows - collapse shy of the docks, their strings cut by streams of lead and powder.

"What we want is the boat," Doyle mutters as he watches from a distance, binoculars held up to his face as he watches the carnage. "Jesus. It's that maniac kid that Elle ran off with," he murmurs, searching for the flash of muzzle fire— there. His hand lifts, his power spooling unseen from him as he tries to get line of sight to one of them. Hopefully nobody's spotted us out here, he thinks to himself, even as he bends his mind and fingers to the task of finding a puppet to turn a weapon on his allies.


Oops! There go Doyle's puppets, their bodies forced to take a few more staggered steps forward until the structural damage gets to be too much, or perhaps just when their nervous system stops being capable of sending impulses towards their legs. The trio - two gangbangers and one of the ship crews' fellows - collapse shy of the docks, their strings cut by streams of lead and powder.

"What we want is the boat," Doyle mutters as he watches from a distance, binoculars held up to his face as he watches the carnage. "Jesus. It's that maniac kid that Elle ran off with," he murmurs, searching for the flash of muzzle fire— there. His hand lifts, his power spooling unseen from him as he tries to get line of sight to one of them. Hopefully nobody's spotted us out here, he thinks to himself, even as he bends his mind and fingers to the task of finding a puppet to turn a weapon on his allies.

"Well fuck, we shoulda just strapped bombs to 'em, terrorists do it." Amadeus at the very least, doesn't go running off without permission, but his gun stays ready for the entire time. "Huh? Elle who? And what the fuck do we need with a boat?"

Howard briefly sees spots when something hard slams into the base of his neck, stealing his motor functions from him as his teeth bite into his own tongue, near severing it and filling his mouth with copper-salt red fluid as he goes down hard on hands and knees. "Evo fuck!" is snarled savagely over his head, head whipping beneath a kick that has his vision swimming. He sees Devon plant his boot against the leader's leg, buckling him forward and cutting out the sound of his rifle fire, weapon clattering forward where his strap had hung loose off weapon instead of his shoulders.

Out one of the windows slivered open, Elle's raw screams manage to pierce through the air when the sound of rifle-fire splits. Inside the wheelhouse, fine tendrils of smoke rise from her clothing, super-heats her handcuffs, melts the plastic syringe strapped to her arm.

Then suddenly, Doyle's hooks find purchase, and one of the terrorist abruptly wheels from where he'd been sending return fire back to Pericles, spitting bullets towards his comrades. The man standing above Howard is suddenly missing his throat, toppling sideways and into the water to join the man that Howard had electrocuted.

The leader scrabbles away, turning his gun on his puppeted comrade, and shooting his head into splatter.

With a snarl, his weapon turns to Devon, taking aim.

It's a harrowing sight for blurry vision to finally focus back on as Howard struggles to find his equilibrium on the ground. Electric blue eyes catch the muzzle just in time for jittery limbs to push up against asphalt. Howard boosts himself to his feet, throwing his arms and legs into the sprinter's start, barreling not for the distant gunman, but for Devon of all people. The electrokinetic slams a shoulder into the young boy in the same moment that the pop of handgun fire goes off, followed by a curious metallic clang when the bullet impacts and a spray of blood as Howard spins around in a circle, landing on his back and then tumbling head over heels, his jacket tugged up over his head.

Devon lands out of the way of the gunfire, unharmed, and as Howard shakily pushes himself up to one knee, there's blood darkening at the shoulder of his jacket. A hand trembles as it reaches up to the injury, fingers clasping around the gunshot wound. Blood leaks between Howard's fingers, teeth clench together and the blonde stares down the gunman, spitting pink onto the ground in defiance.

"Go ahead," Howard grates in a rasping voice, a crackle of electricity arcing painfully out of his bloody wound. "You better not miss."

Devon grunts as he's hit again, unharmed so far as gun wounds go. But what's a few new bruises and scrapes to the mix? Hopefully his shoulders still work, arms still bound behind his back, the one that had been dislocated during the attack on Eastview is throbbing mercilessly. "There's a woman inside," he barks at Howard. "Go help her!"

Following his words, Devon takes his turn at running. This time at the guy with the gun. His shoulder is dropped to catch Fred in the chest, take him down for at least another round, and hopefully buy time for someone to get to Elle.

"Help!!!" Elle screams this out, tugging sharply at her handcuffs. Though the syringe melts, she's still got more than enough of that drug coursing through her system, and it hasn't all taken effect yet, undoubedly. Ignoring the burning pain in her leg from the gunshot wound, she struggles. Those handcuffs are starting to burn her as well, and it only fuels her panicked screams.

Her clothes are turning brown, beginning to flake off of her superheated form, which is radiating heat more and more as she loses control over the ability that a future version of Richard Cardinal was kind enough to give to her. She can't handle it, that feeling like every part of her body is agitated. The smell of burning flesh isn't helping much, either.

It's at this point that her screams take a different direction.

"Get away!!!" She screams this at the top of her lungs, cringing. "I can't - I can't control it! RUN!"

There go two more, and… Eric Doyle is totally out of targets from where he is. A breath's taken, and then he nods curtly to Amadeus. "Move," he says, ducking down a bit and starting for the boat and pier at a huffing jog. He'll probably be overtaken in short order by the other man, but, really, that's his plan.

He never likes going into a bad situation without a meat shield.

"Fuck yeah!" Amadeus starts running, though he's obviously not moving his left arm as much due to his stitches. He's not quite sure who to shoot until he starts paying attention to who's fighting who, then starts letting shots ring out through the air at anyone who even remotely looks like an asshole.

He can fire a gun, and he can hit, but he's still a pretty poor shot. "Hey, Boyle, can you saw off a rifle?"

One man is breaking from the group. He has the first Evo— besides Elle— that had boarded the boat by the arm, letting the older man stumble onto the pier, his zipties cut by the knife in the terrorist's hand. Abandoned, there, as one of the remaining Humanis First terrorists goes rushing from the boat, arms up, straight for Doyle and Amadeus.

"Stop! Just— stop! I— !"

And one of Amadeus' shots go wild enough that it actually hits his target, a gut blow that has the man tumbling end over end. That there is no blood is testament to his kevlar, but it knocks the wind out of him enough that he can only fish gape his warnings that Elle is trying to scream before it's too late. In a show of surrender, he remains down, and flings his gun aside, empty hand raised and spread white and wide.

The scuff of struggle rescues Howard from execution. Fred had no intention of missing.

He doesn't go down when Devon shoulder checks him, gun tumbled from his hands, but he isn't stopping to grab it. A knife is taken from his belt instead as he rounds on the captured young man with a snarl, Howard out of mind out of sight as pure anger motivates his arm. White hot pain suddenly slices across Devon's face, blood bright red as it sprays from the line carved in to the young man's face, from temple to nose, a bare fraction from missing his eye.

Watching Devon's struggle, Howard has too much to focus on rather than try to save that boy's life again, some things were just written in stone it seems. Hard-soled sneakers scrape on the asphalt as Howard gets to his feet and starts moving, one hand clutching a sparking, bloody wound at his shoulder. As he hustles up to the Humanis First that surrendered, the blossom of radioactive energy from the boat sinks Howard's emotions and sags his lips into a scowl.

One blood-soaked hand reaches out from Howard's injury, and a white-hot arc of electricity shoots from his out-stretched palm to strike the top of the terrorist's head. The flesh on Howard's hand blackens from the bolt and a white-hot jet of pain shoots up his arm. The victim of the electrical impulse lets out an involuntary scream, smoke issuing from his mouth and molten eyes as he falls over and onto his side.

Huffing a gasping breath, Howard slouches away from the executed man, towards the dock with a clomp-stomp of his sneakered cadence. Electricity continues to splutter and pop from his gunshot wound, and as he reaches the side of the boat, he calls up loudly. "Elle!"

Heedless of the danger, Howard ascends the gangplank up onto the vessel, each footfall coming with a shake of nerves as he hears the sound of water lapping against the side of the ship. Once he hits the deck, Howard's eyes clench shut and teeth grit against the lingering waves of heat radiating out of the cabin windows. Sucking in a sharp breath, he starts heading for the wheelhouse, "Elle, hang on!"

Doyle was right, he is a maniac.

Perry does his best to cover Amadeus and Doyle's approach, checking doors for coming reinforcements, taking shots where he can. When bullets powder bring, kicking up scattered bits of the wall he hides behind, Perry ducks down and shuffles to the next, most nearby vantage, the next groove in the crumbling wall. When he re-emerges, however, he has no time to find another mark before their best means of transport and intended prize of this raid goes up in a coruscation of charged flame. Perry flinches, rolling back behind the wall, clapping a hand up over his eye which is temporarily blinded thanks to the magnification of his scope. He gives himself three seconds, no more, before he switches his operating arms and scoots out into firing position again, his other eye now on the scope. Less accurate, slower on the bolt action, but still able to lay on fire.

Killing these men and covering the escape of the captives are the only objectives now. Perry is bold enough to aim for total completion of both.

He'd grab his face if he hand hands to do so, but without that luxury all Devon can do is turn away from the pain lancing through his face. He flinches as well, the sound of fiery explosions on the deck above drawing his attention upward for just a moment, watching the flames spill from the window. But only a quick look and his attention has returned to Fred.

Another kick is sent, again for the leader's knees and hopefully to disable him enough to get away. Once the kick is landed, Devon will turn and finally begin running, half stumbling in haste to get back safety. Somewhere behind Doyle and Amadeus would be good.

As the explosion flies off of Elle's skin, the woman nude by now, she lets out a shrill scream that can barely be heard over the explosion that is consuming her little spot on the boat. This is new. She's never exploded before. She flinches at the radioactive flame that pours off of her, burns away the last of her clothing and the bandages around her thigh, only to find that it doesn't actually harm her.

That isn't saying anything for those around her, though.

Thankfully, the overreaction of her borrowed ability is enough to damage her bonds. The handcuffs hot enough to be movable, she yanks her hands free, burning herself along the way. Oh god that hurts, and she lets it be known with another scream, still unable to control the fire that flows off of her form thanks to those drugs she's on.

She attempts to struggle to her feet, only to collapse back to the ground with another shout of pain as she recalls that, oh yeah, she has a relatively untreated gunshot wound in her leg. And so, instead of walking out, Elle begins to slowly, painfully crawl out, sobbing tears that evaporate as soon as they leave her eyes. She's got to get out. She should get into the water— maybe the water will stop the heat.

As she hears Howard, sees him running in to rescue her again, she raises one badly burnt hand. "Get away from me!" She screams this out, attempting to crawl away from Howard, her teeth gritting. "Don't come any closer!" That drug is still making her blood angry, still making her nerves sing. "I don't want to hurt you!"

Hey. That guy wasn't shooting at them. "What?" Doyle's steps slow, and he slants a look to Amadeus, "What was he trying to— "


He staggers back, one arm lifting across his face as that nuclear fire erupts from the wheelhouse, eyes widening in a dawning horror. "Oh… oh my God. Oh, no. No, no, no…"

"So, uh, fuck!" Amadeus starts running away, as far away from the boat as he can get. For get ducking, Deckards don't duck, they run! "I'll be back when shit isn't on fire!"

After that initial release of readioactivity, Elle can feel her heart start to beat somewhat normally, but this is a small mercy when she's surrounded by the blackened support structure of the wheelhouse all around her, fanning flames licking up the sides, and it's where Howard finds her. It's not gone completely, heat still baking off her, sweat and tears all so much steam mingling with the smoke that rises to gather in the dome's atmosphere.

Perry's economical shots have Fred's head blowing up like an overripe melon, the leader crumpling down to join the bodies in the river with so little ceremony after he carved a hole in Devon's bleeding face. The one last terrorist remaining cries out in the wake of the explosion—

"Please!" he begs, rolling out of the way where Perry's bullets hit the ground. "I'm not— I didn't mean to— it went too far!"

Up on the burning ship, Howard lifts one hand to shield his eyes from the heat, revealing the black scorch mark on his palm to Elle. "I won't let this happen!" The electrokinetic screams, throwing his hand aside and lurching towards Elle, feeling the radiating waves of heat washing over her. Gritting his teeth and growling against the agonising pain of proximity, Howard crouches down into the god damned heat, sweat beading on his forehead and rolling down his nose, his breath painfully hot on his own lips. He wraps one arm around Elle's shoulders, his coat blackening in the spots where he makes contact with her hair toussled by the thermal wind.

Dragging Elle backward, her head is at Howard's shoulder level, where she can see blood soaking thorugh his jacket, running down his chest and in fat stains on the side of his pants. Thorugh the hole in Howard's jacket, something glistens metallic and soaked in blood, slides around beneath his skin in a place where metal shouldn't be.

"Come— on," Howard grates as he yanks Elle up and over his shoulder, skin sizzling on his palm as he staggers with her weight. A scream rises up from Howard as he carries Elle, staggering with her backwards across the deck of the ship. Rising heat, fanning flames and an internal nuclear reaction can only be stopped by one thing. He may not be a scientist, but he spent the majority of his life around them.

Nuclear rods need to be cooled to avoid meltdown.

"Don't let me drown," is Howard's choking last words to Elle, before he throws himself and the radioactive woman overboard.

An explosion of steam blasts up from the cold water the moment Elle's superheated body hits the surface, followed by flashing blue lights and thrashing limbs that accompany electrical discharge underwater. Elle can feel the tingling prickling of water-born electrical shocks, and she can see flaskes of electricity beneath Howard's skin as he thrashes around in the water.

The immediate drop in temperature from exposure to the water and the venting of steam up from where they landed has Elle's core temperature lowering, making it easier for her to regain control, for her heart rate to slow.

Howard, however, disappears below the surface of the water.

No sounds of gunfire or pursuit behind him, Devon slows as he reaches Doyle's side and fully stops once he's a couple of steps past the man. Hunched over, kept from going to his knees by his bound arms, he turns to look at the burning boat, watch Howard and Elle go into the water with a cascade of steam filling the air where they hit. He sucks in deep breaths of air, each exhale causing him to sag a little further. Blood drips from his chin to dot the ground below.

"No— NO! Don't come any closer, don't— " Elle struggles as Howard hoists her up, though she's not much of a match for him right now, even in his state. She's hurting, and she's still hot. But at least her heart isn't racing so much now that she exploded. She makes a few noises of protest, pushing weakly against Howard as he heads toward the water.

There's metal in his wounds. That's not supposed to be there. That's— that's what they want to do to her.

"No, don't do it! You're electric, you'll only hurt your—" She screams loudly as she and Howard both topple into the cold water of the river, her hands reaching out to grip him tight, despite the prickling electrical shocks.

No fucking way, you are not going to drown, Howard. Elle still has to beat the shit out of him for abandoning her. Even if he did technically just save her. Again. For the third or fourth time, now.

Her wounds screaming in pain from the efforts, Elle wraps her arms tight around Howard as he begins to sink below the water. She holds as tight as her horribly burnt hands will allow, kicks at the water as hard as her bruised, battered legs can handle, aiming herself in the general direction of the land. She's not the strongest swimmer in the world, with her normal ability, but she's struggling for her life. And for Howard's.

Like hell she's going to go down like this.

As the rising nuclear flame splashes down into the water and… seems to subside, Eric Doyle very nearly deflates from relief, one hand pressed to his chest as his heart patters against it a mile an hour. Breath, Eric. Breath.

Then he hears the plaintive cries of the lone member of Humanis crying for mercy, and his cold gaze slowly cuts over. "Shut." His hand lifts, snapping shut, and the man's jaw clicks shut sharply, cutting off his speech. And quite possibly the tip of his tongue. The puppeteer slowly marches towards him, "You didn't mean it? It went too far? You nearly killed everyone in the dome!" He's shouting, now, his hand jerking up to force the man to his feet, stalking steadily in his direction, "You tortured and killed innocent people, but it went too far? Well…" He smiles broadly, an expression that doesn't reach his eyes, and steps up to the man, one arm draping over his shoulders as he offers in faux-chuckling tones, "You'll have to forgive me if I go too far with what I'm going to do. I mean. These things happen."

"Aw." Doyle smooshes his lips together as if to kiss the air beside his cheek, "Don't look at me like that. Here." His other hand opens slightly, releasing the terrorist's mouth, "Any last excuses?" He grins, "I love it when they beg. C'mon. Show me."

"I can take you to the man who did this!"

The terrorist screams this out when he is given the opportunity. It does not echo off the sloping walls of the Dome, but it does bounce off the walls of the buildings. It's a terrible sound, spittal flying off his teeth, and a deep gasp into his lungs, shuddering, damp. On his feet, he trembles, looking tired and grim and very, very frightened that the Evo freak is doing this to him, with his big arm around his shoulders. But the cause has gone up in as many flames as the boat. "All of it. It was him. Valentin gave M— the forcefield manipulator the drugs. Said he'd give him more Refrain if he put the dome up during the bombing."

He sniffs, but doesn't pause for long, trying to get all his words out before his jaw can clamp shut again. "Then it stayed and we just. It kept going. We told everyone we were hunting him but we weren't. J-just using him, then he's gonna kill him. Please don't kill me.

"I never hurt you," he adds, watery eyes finding Devon, wide eyed. "It was those other guys that roughed you up. Right?"

Beyond the interrogation, in the water by the burning ship, Howard Phillips is still being electrocuted. His body bucks and shakes with every jolt of electricity that courses thorugh his body, eyes rolled back into his head and legs kicking. It makes it hard for Elle to drag him towards the shore, but the lapping waves and the current of the East River helps push them towards shore.

By the time the pair wash up on the rocky shoreline, Howard is convulsing on his back, carried in with Elle by the current and the waves, blue flashes of light illuminating beneath his skin, eyes shut and mouth open. The movement is reflexive, responding to electrical charges jolting beneath his skin. Because Elle can be certain Howard isn't moving on his own.

Because he isn't breathing.

Devon's reply to the man's question is to push himself upright, straightening and standing to his full height. Beneath that bloody mask, a dispassionate gaze meets the surrendering, tortured Humanis First man. Keeping that cold, level stare on the fellow held up by Doyle's ability, the teenager turns to face him. "Never hurt me," he asks quietly. "What about the countless others you murdered? The women and children and old folks? — What about my aunt?" Without waiting for the man to answer, he slams his forehead down to smash the guy's face with a savagery before continuing. "No. You never hurt me."

It hurts, every second of it, pulling Howard ashore with the assistance of the waves, but Elle is thankful when she feels solid ground beneath her feet once more. She drags the convulsing Howard onto a level surface, a panicked look on her face. "Help! Please help! He's not breathing!!!" She shrieks this out toward where she thinks the others are, but there's no time to wait for them.

Despite the screaming burns around her wrists causing skin to crackle and bleed painfully, she does what she's seen on television so man times. She presses the base of her palm against his ribcage, around where she's sure his 'hiccup muscle' must be, and pushes down. How many times does she do it? She thinks it's like ten or fifteen.

Perhaps the only thing that saves Howard from broken ribs and any possible damage caused by the amature attempt at CPR is the fact that Elle's hands are burnt, preventing her from applying too much pressure without wanting to scream in pain. She presses down ten times, before leaning down. Usually, Elle wouldn't kiss someone after what Howard's done to her, but this is a special circumstance. He might die!

So, she presses her lips to Howard's, attempting to breathe air into his lungs. "Don't die! Please don't die!" She sobs this out, before attempting to breathe another breath of air into his lungs.

"I think you pissed him off," Doyle comments conversationally to the man that he's holding up, the arm draped around those shoulders pushing just a little to shove him into the headbutt. Just to add insult to injury. The puppeteer's other hand lifts to ward off Devon, then, as he grins broadly in the periphery of the man's vision.

"Luc-ky you, you just won a prize! Is it a kewpie doll? No! You get to live because you're useful. Give him a hand, everyone…" A low whisper against an ear, "Lie to us, and we're going to play a game. I call it 'how much of yourself can I make you eat before you die'. Play nice, and you'll get out of this with all your body parts intact." Then he smooches the Firster on his cheek and steps away, turning to look at Elle's shouting.

"Uh." He glances to Devon, "You know CPR? I'm not exactly Mister Doctor here."

The Firster manages not to vomit in his mouth. Though he comes close, eyes dazed and a trickle of red coursing between his eyes, dripping down the side of his nose, where Devon's forehead split a mark on his own. He squints his eyes shut, hands clenched into fists, and decides that no matter how many guns and management skills Michal Valentin has at his diposal—

It can't be worse than this.

Moving for the shore, the two Evolved capturees, who'd almost been set ablaze on the boat like some kind of mourning pyre under Elle's explosions, clutch at each other as survivors do, before breaking apart. The older man approaches Devon to cut his ties with one of the terrorists' knives, while the woman stops to watch Elle drag Howard from the water, shaking her head. She's not a doctor either.

It's not working. Howard lays lifeless, even after the electrical pulses in his body have stopped. Elle's chest compressions seem to be doing nothing, she's not geting air into his lungs properly. He's not breathing. Laying there on the pebbled shore, where seaglass is dully glittering amidst smooth rocks, Howard Phillips is unresponsive. Pressing an ear to his chest, a pang of fright wells up in Elle's chest as she realizes that his heart isn't beating.

A moment later, there's a noise inside of his chest.



Howard's back arches and his fingers curl against his palms, heels dig into the gravel on the shore and his eyes snap open. A gurgling, wet breath is choked back as he turns onto his side, exhaling a lungful of water after something restarts his heart. Gagging and vomiting up water, Howard curls into the fetal position, blood still drooling from the wound on his shoulder. Breathing in ragged, sucking inhalations, Howard coughs and spits, convulses and tries to catch his breath.

"Benji?" Howard breathlessly asks with unfocused eyes.

No, Howard, not this time.

Very briefly, Devon looks as though he might press his point further, regardless of Doyle's wishes to keep that very thing to happen. The puppeteer's question is enough to help stay his hand, earning a shake and look to Elle and Howard, a single brow raising as, quite frankly, help isn't needed. In silence, the teenager watches as somehow Howard is revived.

Shock is restrained as pain blooms in Devon's wrists and shoulders. His bonds being cut causes a wince, hands reflexively grasping at his wrists and peeling the plastic from his wrists. He looks at the damage then up to the older man, offering a small nod of thanks.

Elle's panic only grows more and more as her amateur attempts at CPR aren't working. While desperately pumping at the man's chest, in between attempting to breathe life into him, she sobs. "No, no, no…don't die! Don't die! Why didn't you just throw me!" She sobs this as she presses her ear to his chest and hears nothing to indicate life in him. "Don't fucking die…"

She sobs, thumping a hand against his chest with a pain-strangled sob, and presses her head to his chest. Just in time to hear that odd 'whirr-beep' coming from his chest. And then, he's alive, and the naked Elle sits up, lets him curl in on himself. For a moment, she can only stare, wide eyed and shivering slightly in the chilly air that runs over her bare skin, though she's still warm enough that the water's drying faster.

"Howard!" Elle sobs this out, wrapping an arm around his waist and hugging him, as well as she can awkwardly manage. "No…not Benji. It's Elle, Howard. I thought…I thought you were dead." That doesn't stop her from crying, one hand going to gently touch Howard's forehead, to brush a wet strand of hair away from his face.

"Oh. Looks like they've got it under control," Doyle relaxes a bit as the other man seems to jerk to life, and then he looks back to their captive. A finger crooks in beckoning, and he moves to step away, forcing the Firster to follow, "Walk with me, little racist. You're going to be a good boy and tell me all about Valentin and his plans and the Three Little Pigs… and I want to believe every word."

Over his shoulder, a smile to Devon, "We'll be back in a bit. Get everyone ready. We're going to have somewhere to go."

In hindsight—

It might have been better to wait for a swifter death.

The terrorist follows because he has to, a jerky, toy-soldier quality to his marching, mouth set into a line and jaw steel-trap shut as he trails on after Doyle, unable to look back, and he probably wouldn't even if he could. Behind him, he leaves near deaths, the corpses of his former comrades, the still flaming boat that had given them so much power in the last twenty-one Dome days.

Gasping breathlessly, Howard's pupils slowly adjust to the light, cold river water runs thorugh his tangled mess of hair, and his half burned jacket is soaked thorugh and thorugh like the rest of his clothes. The burned tattered and shreds of whatever it was that Elle is wearing crunch crispily against her skin, threadbare in places, blackened and flaking away in others.

Howard doesn't get up from the ground, instead he lays one hand over the center of his chest, tears welling up in his eyes and rolling down the sides of his cheeks. Swallowing audibly, he feels the rhythmic beat of a heart pounding against his breastbone, a precision beat with mechanical perfection.

"Thank you," is rasped out by the electrokinetic, lips pressing together in a thin line of rueful expression. The glow of fire from the burning ship illuminates one side of Howard's face, shines in Elle's eyes and glitters off of the water and the blood spilled on the asphalt. But the dome, the damnable dome and its shadow of ice crusted crown still remains.

The smell of blood and ozone in the air as much as soot and ash now, and as Howard stares up at the grimy dome overhead, he can hear the sounds of the rescued people's voices, hears Doyle, hears what most people might call a victory.

"I feel sick," is all Howard says to that.

Devon claps a hand gently to the shoulder belonging to the old man from the ship as Doyle moves off with his prize. Then he begins toward Elle and Howard. "We're going after Valentin," he says simply enough, the words quiet still but no longer entirely edged with cold. Even his expression has warmed a fraction, if only to show the ache and exhaustion from Everyday Life in the Dome. "If you two are in, let's get some guns and be ready to go when he," indicative of Doyle with a gesture toward the puppeteer, "gets back."

Tears still streaming down her cheeks, Elle promptly does the only thing she can really think to do, right at this moment. She promptly curls up against Howard. She's snuggling up to Howard, for lack of a better word; the ever present heat is still there, warming her skin. And hopefully, warming him up. He's a lot worse off than her. He almost died.

"That's still…one, that I owe you, the way I figure." She's still half-crying as she explains this, sniffling as she huddles close to Howard on the rocks. "Saved my life three times. Abandoned me. I saved you once. That's one." She attempts to hold up one finger to emphasize, but this only prompts a sharp wince to cross her face. Ouch. "Thank you."

She frowns at his statement, that he feels sick, reaching up to gently press her hand to his cheek. It's then that Devon makes his way up, blue eyes turn up toward him, brows raising. "Valentin?!" She sneers. "He- he was Company once…people said he killed his Evolved partner." A frown sets deep over her features. "I — I might be able to shoot at them. Without a gun. But…I should stay with Howard…"

She frowns. "Be careful."

"Fuck you," Howard grunts as he grabs a hold of Elle's shoulder, dragging himself up into a seated position, then shakily brings one leg under himself, wobbling on standing. A ragged, hoarse breath escapes the electrokinetic, and as he offers a look down to Elle, Howard's lips sag into a frown. "I never said I was staying anywhere."

Lifting a hand to his bloodied shoulder, Howard's fingers poke inside of his jacket, grab at something, an then toss a flattened bullet down to the pebbley shore. Limping up the beach, Howard seems fully well to leave Elle behind where she sits in tattered remnants of burned clothing, willing to abandon her again. "I didn't come here just to save your ass…"

Blue eyes look up towards the woman that had been watching from a distance, then over to Devon as he closes the distance to the kid. "Well, sargent," there's a sarcastic smile that cuts across Howard's face as he addresses Devon, one hand slicking back his hair, leaving a strreak of red in it from bloodied fingertips. "You've got my vote."

Blue eyes angle back to Elle, then return to Devon, brows lifting slowly as a grunt of discomcort escapes his lips and a hand goes to hold that seawater stung gunshot wound beneath his jacket. "If you'll take a cripple," sounds sort of like a joke.

Either way, it sure beats staying here.

A smirk meets the sarcastic smile, making his own bloodied face look all the worse. "C'mon," Devon says with a nod. They're all a little worse for the wear, and the guy's got some skills fighting. One more added to their numbers is one less that's against them. He passes a look toward Elle, relatively devoid of emotion yet, then looks back to Howard. Another nod springs from the teenager, and he turns to watch and wait for Doyle's return.

Elle's worried expression turns to a scowl as not only does Howard say 'fuck you' to her, but also makes as if to leave her. Ohhhh no. Not again. He's not getting away from her again. Not this time. As he's standing, she's reaching out and grabbing his leg, indicating that she is not about to let him go anywhere. She of all people knows that if he shocks her, she'll just cling tighter. There' that, at least.

"Fuck you. You were just dead." She's not letting go, pointing at her leg. More specifically, the gunshot wound that's unstitched, unbandaged, and seeping a bit of blood at a slow rate from her efforts in saving him. "Help me walk. I can't put any weight on my leg. And clothes would be nice."

Then, she turns her eyes toward Devon. "I'm coming with. I don't have a gun, but I can burn the shit out of those fuckers." Even if it might hurt her more in the process.

The older gentleman contributes a coat for as long as Elle can obtain some proper clothing. Guns are scraped up off the asphalt. Bodies are kicked for good measure. Doyle comes back with information about a sniper plot, proving that secrets are best kept by one, Michal Valentin. They leave the boat burning, the bridge burning, and the ice atop the Dome creaking waitfully, an impassive eye that regards the simultaneous events under its scope all unfolding at the same time.

And the day is young yet.

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