Never Trust Your P.P.

Battery Park City


Battery Park City is a 92-acre planned community at the southwestern tip of lower Manhattan. The land upon which it stands was created on the Hudson River using millions of pounds of dirt and rocks excavated during the construction of the World Trade Center and certain other construction projects, as well as from sand dredged from New York Harbor off Staten Island. The neighborhood, which is the site of the World Financial Center along with numerous housing, commercial and retail buildings, is named for adjacent Battery Park.

Battery Park City is bounded on the east by West Street, which isolates the area from the Financial District of downtown Manhattan. To the west, north and south, the area is surrounded by the tidal estuary of the Hudson River. The development consists of roughly five major sections. Traveling north to south, the first neighborhood, the "North Residential Neighborhood," consists of high-rise residential buildings, a large hotel, Stuyvesant High School and the World Center Mall. Former parkland in the area was in the process of being converted into high-rise buildings before the bomb in 2006, and now much of the unfinished constructions lie in much the same condition as the ghostly footprints of the World Trade Center, surrounded by derelict cranes and construction equipment.

Much of Battery Park City looks to be in better condition that the majority of upper Manhattan, its streets relatively well tended and buildings in fair condition, though even this far south signs of structural damage to some roads and buildings from the shockwave and debris of the bomb in 2006 are still visible. Due to its location and relative security from the damage of the bomb, Battery Park City is one of the most expensive areas in lower Manhattan to live and features the highest growth rate of new construction. It is not unusual to see banners for Linderman Group sponsored rebuilding efforts and Maxwell Corporation signs on half finished skyscrapers.


Predestination is a term that means all possible events yet to come are operating on an established course.

Cloudy skies threaten rain in the skies of New York. In the urban landscape of Battery Park City, tall and matte gray skyscrapers look so much more like graveyard monuments in the dismal afternoon light. No sun shows thorugh the heavy cloudcover, just the diffuse gray lightning that washes out colors. A cool wind whips down the streets, carrying on it tossed leaves of fiery shades, plucked from the near stickbare branches of trees planted along the sidewalk.

The notion that the future is set in stone removes from us the element of choice from our lives.

Outside of the towering offices of the Department of Homeland Security, a police barricade has been erected. Sawhorses of yellow wood marked with black hatching block off traffic, blue lights from the top of police cruisers blocking off both isdes of the road flash vibrantly against the glass windows of the adjacent buildings, and NYPD officers struggle to jkeep the crowd under control and away from the scene of the building.

That no matter what choices we make, or what choices are made for us, the future will not change.

Parked just off the front steps of the DHS headquarters, a matte black tank rests in defiant protection of the surrounding buildings. Not a treaded thing with a cannon, but rather a six wheeled block of steel with a wedge shaped front and deployed hatch back. Standing in the back bay door of that armored carrier is a femenine silhouette dressed in the black plated body armor of FRONTLINE, The numbers 01-02 are stenciled on the right front chestplate of her armor, black visored helmet hiding her face. «We're clear down on ground level, Spalding. No sign of them.»

Some call it fate, others call it destiny, this inexorable force that binds our actions on a specific course.

Up the steps and coming out of the lobby of the DHS offices, a more masculine figure in the same armor, with 01-01 on his chestplate offers a nod down to the woman below. Michael Spalding's approach comes with a swing of his assault rifle over one shoulder and the fanning out of several black-clad DHS officers in riot gear behind him. «We're clear in the lobby. Where the hell is that goddamned helicopter, Ivanov?»

But if we struggle hard enough, if we rage against the binding chains of our future…

More than thirty stories up from the ground, Felix Ivanov stands in a suit of that same black armor, missing the durable hydraulics, looking more streamlined and sleeker, his helmet too covering his face and providing him with tactical information of the rest of his team. Up on the helipad he is not alone though, with two suited figures not far away, waiting for an emergency helicopter to evacuate them from the facility. Raymond Praeger and Vincent Lazzaro are joined by five Homeland Security agents in suits, earpieces tapping them in to the emergency response channels buzzing with activity. "There's something going on at Columbia, we need to be out of here," one of the agents states worriedly, looking to Vincent. "These terrorists could be anywhere?" On the agent's shoulder, a housefly lands, tiny wings buzzing faintly.

…if we try hard enough, perhaps we can fight against that incoming future, break the chains of predestination and make our own path.

On an adjacent rooftop, crouches down behind ventillation units, Larson Riggs pulls his olive-drab jacket tight around his shoulders. Dark brows are furrowed low, and his eyes are distantly focused. Lifting up his red and black cellphone to one ear, he murmurs into the receiver. "They've got Praeger up on the roof, some suits with him and one FRONTLINE toy-soldier. Rebel says that called for a helicopter, he's diverting it off-course to buy us time." The insect telepath turns to look back behind himself, looking to the young man hunched down beside him. "Kris is ready if we need to move anyone. Ash, you're clear to take the shot."

But then, we would have no one to blame for our fates…

On another rooftop across the street, three NYPD snipers lay dead on the concrete, blood pooling out around them. Ducking down by their corpses, West Rosen carries one of their walkies in one hand. "We're clear, Rebel's handling comm spoofing." The dark-haired flier nods towards a man perched behind the cover of the stairwell, a police-issue sniper rifle clutched in both hands, robbed from the squad he'd killed on the roof. Ashley Williams has his orders, he has a shot to take. Failing that, there's always Plan B.

No one to blame but ourselves.

Down on street level, Lynette is, just this once, out of designer clothes and in simple, understated jeans, sweatshirt and even (gasp) sneakers. Just in case there's a run-for-your-life part of the night. She's also lacking that iconic red scarf, because she's not that stupid.

However, she is smoking a cigarette as she lingers near but not really within the crowds. Like a curious passer-by, trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. In reality, of course, she's waiting to see how this plays out and, in all honesty, hopes she isn't here just to stand around and watch.

The scientists and engineers responsible for redesigning his armor have poked and prodded and examined him ad nauseam. This is the first speedster they've had on their team, as it were. So they're aware of what the baselines are for Felix. Human normal pulse at rest, slow in fact, like an athlete's. But when he's begun to summon his power, up, up, up it goes to something like a hummingbird's, a near constant thrum. And that's where it stands now, that adrenaline-analogue already flooding his system. Fel's nervous, and thus the other humans around him already seem unbearably slow, leaden like film running out of sync. «I don't know, sir,» Fel replies, simply. None of the curse words one might expect - for all his reputation as the cowboy of cowboys back in the NYPD and the Bureau, he's proved to be a surprisingly good team player in FRONTLINE. «I'm not getting any clear answers as to what's causing the delay, and frankly, it's making me …..uneasy.» For all his apparent calm, his Brooklyn accent is sharp as a tack, today, the one sign of stress easily perceptible over the link.

Beside Lynette is Edgar, a man who decided today was a good excuse to dress up. He's in his fancies, a pair of black pinstriped polyester pants, a long overcoat that hides an assortment of knives hidden around his body, and a button down white shirt. Oddly enough, he's wearing a tie. His worn leather workboots that used to be brown, have been shined with a black polish, giving them a rather motley appearance. His homecut fauxhawk is spiked at the back and the front, something he hasn't done in a while, but the occasion suits.

When death is on the line, one has to look their prettiest.

Giving Lynette a sidelong glance, his eyebrow quirks up at her dress and he sniffs. "Tryin' to outdo me, eh? Well I think I go' yeh wi' the tie… See i' lights up…" True enough, when he pushes a little button, the little led in the reindeer's nose begins to flash red. Yes, he's very festive. Too bad it's the wrong season.

Light struggles in through an overcast sky, glances white light off Raymond Praeger's frameless glasses, as if maybe he could look for the helicopter in the sky better than anyone with a radio and a cellphone. His suit and tie, he has a hand pressed to the latter, pinning stripe of satin to his chest as the wind up here kicks up a little. "At Columbia?" he repeats, for all that that isn't particularly a surprise, exactly, the slope of his forehead crinkling in what is probably genuine worry. "How's Georgia doing? Even a prostigiously spirited woman like her— well. She hasn't been in New York City very long."

He flashes a smile towards one of the security guards. "She's not quite familiarised with how we do things." Violently, and with fire.

"Yes," says Vincent, cell phone turned distractedly down from the hard set of his jaw, "well. Unless one of you is an unregistered teleporter or a transformer, we're short on options."

He's keeping blackly still at Praeger's shoulder, more or less — obsidian wingtips set shoulderwidth apart against pavement nearly as grey as the sky, restless energy burned off into unholy look on his face. If not for the tag and stir at the tail of his jacket, he could be anywhere; buttons and tie fastened down too firmly for anything else to flutter, remnant hair sanded down to a severe haze around the back of his balding skull. There's little about him that is even capable of looking windblown.

"I'm ninety-percent sure she's still alive," in aside to Raymond sounds far less enthusiastic than it could. Then he hangs up his phone, tired of listening to incoherent shouting and the scuffing of feet on the other end.

Boop.

Ash wipes off the blade of his combat knife as he steps away from the dead officers, a smirk crossing his featurs beneath his mask. Ash is, as usual, in one of his armored body suits he manages to aquire from God knows where. He slides the blade back into it's sheath and steps cleanly over to the sniper post, kicking the body of the man there out of the way. he glances to West and nods to the man as he settles down onto his stomach, setting up the sniper rifle, adjusting the scope, hands quick as they mover over the gun, professional.

He scopes in, panning the thing around a bit before he brings it back in and settles it in to where he knows his target is. He pulls in a slow breath, then another, bleeding botgh out in long exhales, causing his body to relax as he waits for the sights to settle in. He waits also for the affirmative from West, and the moment he gets it he nods his head, a smile spreading across his features beneath the mask, a cold smile. He doesn't speak, just breathes out, exhaling and emptying his lungs before the finger pulls back on the trigger, smoothly sending the bullet from the barrel and speeding through the air directly towards the middle of Praeger's face, not going for a forhead shot, just trying to hit him in the head, knowing a weapon of this caliber will put a crater in the man's cranium of it hits. He squeezes the trigger a second time as well, though he drops the sights for this one, putting it in the direction of his chest rather than his face.

Praeger's head does not explode into a bloody stump with jetting streams of red gore from his pristinely pressed collar. He doesn't even collapse. That would be because the bullets never do make it. As the first one connects against something that suddenly makes a neat dome invisibly layered over them flare brilliant blue in the time it takes for lightning to flash. The air inside seems to become briefly pressured, pressing on the delicate insides of ears and eyes.

"Holy fuck!" is an apt comment from the security guard keeping the thing in place, his hands suddenly going out to make sure that— "Ah Jesus!" That would be the second bullet hitting, its disintegration against the shimmering forcefield making him wince as if the world's biggest migraine were knifing through his brain. "Goddamnit, we're under fire — what happened to the cops? They take a break?"

"Should we be up here now?" is the Secretary's very good question, but going very still, tense, and ready to heed orders.

"Goddamnit," is Riggs' expletive from his perch on the rooftop, "They've got some kinda' kinetic barrier or somethin', Evolved agent up on'na roof boys." Looking away from his phone, Riggs leans back and nods to Kris. "You're on boy, let's get this shit done." In that exact moment, kris drops into a crouch and closes his eyes, skin shedding faintly pinkish-hued light for a moment before his body explodes into a shower of crackling pink and red sparks, leaving a ripple of heat in his wake.

A moment layer he materializes in a burst of sparks and heat on the rooftop, a bright red flash visible from the rooftop of the DHS building. "C'mon, Ash!" Kris notes as he drops a hand down onto the sniper's shoulder, followed by an explosion of fiery sparks and a rippling distortion of heat as Kris disappears from West's sight on the rooftop. Staying crouched, West drops the walkie and scrambles to the roof access door, pulling out a mini blowtorch from inside and tugging up a pair of welding goggles as he begins to seal the frame of the steel door shut. He'll be long-gone by the time anyone gets up onto the roof, but this will divide attention.

Where Edgar and Lynette wait on the street, there's a sudden eruption of heat, a blast of warm wind and an explosion of fiery sparks as Kristian Bender appears from the haze of pinkish-red sparka, carrying Ashley Williams in tow. "Go go go! Plan B!" Kris notes, smoldering as he steps away from Ash, his leather jacket sending tendrils of smoke up. As Kris slides out of the jacket and throws it to the ground, he's patting down his hair, trying to make sure he didn't burst into flames in the process, though he does look like he has an unexpected sunburn. "Fuck this damn ability!"

«Hostiles on the move! Hostiles on the move!» Crackles over Michael Spalding's helmet as he withdraws his AR-15 assault rifle, rushing behind the matte black of the armored carrier, snapping the safety off. Wright is quick to step back inside of the tank, unholstering her sidearm and snapping back the slide with one hand. «Spalding, I think I saw a teleporter or something, I can't tell. Ivanov, with's the situation on the roof!?»

"Oh, darling, I don't think anyone can outdo that tie. You hear about power ties…" Badumching! But, alas, Lynette's stand up career is cut short as that heat hits them. Sheesh. -.- But, she gives Kris a nod at the orders, and she gives Edgar an encouraging pat on the behind. "Best of luck." Team spirit, camaraderie, all that.

As for her part, Lynette takes the cigarette out of her mouth, drops it on the ground and is in the process of very thoroughly grinding it into the pavement as a crack of lightning flashes white and streaks down from skyward right toward the soldier marked 01-02. If anyone were really watching, the bolt doesn't come from the clouds above, of course, but it's all so fast, who's to say.
You paged NPC4 with 'So… just as a side… how many locked doors between Edgar and the roof? Or can I run up the side of the building? >.>'

The immediate response from Felix is a garble of hummingbird chatter, like tape fastforwarded beyond the edge of human hearing. And then he remembers himself enough to slow his speech to what seems to him like a droning chant, but is at least intelligible to the rest of those sluggards listening. «We have confirmed sniper fire on Praeger, source directly across the street. Forcefield kicked in, no harm done,» He replies. «Confirm teleporter over there, as well. I bet that was the sniper's getaway, if he wasn't the teleporter himself. Current location of both unknown. We're getting down off the roof.»

He's sighting down his rifle towards the sniper and teleporter, even as he clicksthe helmet mike over to something intelligible to the others on the roof with him. "We're getting down off the roof. We don't come back out until we confirmthe chopper's landed." Someone died and made him God, apparently. Lenin, perhaps. And then someone calls lightning out of a clear sky. «Confirm eletrokinetic.» he adds, voice dry. «Shit.»

From casual observance it's quite obvious that the building Praeger is on top of is too secure to bother with. "As Samuel'd say…" Edgar's head jerks to the side as the vertibrae in his neck crack in quick succession. "It's showtime." Placing the earbuds of the iPod he stole from Kendall in his ears, the speedster presses play to the raucous sounds of 'Bring Me To Life' by Evanescence and streaks away, leaving nothing but a blur and some wind in his wake.

Riggs isn't quite prepared for the something wicked his way comes as the black streak blows past him an in a Matrix style maneuver, Edgar leaps at high speed from the top of one building and onto the one Praeger is on. There's a black skid line behind him as he pauses for only a second, his two kukri in hand to glare at the government officials.

Wake me up inside the woman in his ears begins to whine, damn Kendall needs much better music. Whatever happened to worshipping the Beatles… or Jesus?

Lazzaro is not in charge of the dead cops or Homeland Security or FRONTLINE. He's not in charge of anyone here, actually, but he does reach automatically to brace a possessive hand broad at Praeger's near elbow before he sees about his sidearm.

Once he's thumbed the safety off and stiffed the matte black of his suit back down into to fussy order, he says (shortly): "No."

No, they should not be up here now. Felix's gimp suit agrees with him and gets a hard look anyway, unfiltered dislike as coffee black in Vincent's eyes as it is in the crisp cut of his suit. Unfortunately, there's no time to hold a proper pissing contest.

Also it's windy.

"This way, please." Back in the direction from whence they came. They may even manage to get Praeger steered a few steps in that direction before Edgar smudges to a halt off sides, tinny Evanescence replay, knives and all.

Oh.

Vincent stiffens, knuckles unsightly white against Raymond's sleeve.

"Ivanov!"

Ash doesn't even twitch as Kris grabs his shoulder and heat blossoms, conveying them both to the ground level with Edgar and Lynette, two faces he doesn't know in the slightest. He hops up from the ground, head tilting to either side as he begins to pull weapons from the webbing on his back, small compact weapons, but no less deadly than some of the bigger stuff. A P-90 with spare clips is pulled free and strung about his shoulder with a shoulder strap, after i's loaded of course. Both of his pistols ar epulled out, and loaded before they're tucked back in their holsters in the webbing. The man, who looks an awful lot like a gigantic grey ninja at this point, continues to toy with his weapons, even pulling out a couple of grenades and dropping them into a belt pouch to make them more accessable. Then a lightning bolt flies, and action ensues.

Ash slips a grenade into his hand, popping the pin and flings it over head, trying to land it at the mouth of the tank's open back end. And all the while he's sprinting towards the tank, laying down covering fire with his P-90, bullets spanging off of armor and concrete as he sends flurries of bullets racing towards the tank and it's accompanying Frontline members. His eyes settle on the numbers on Spalding's suit, and a growl pulls from his throat. His angle changes slightly, fully intent on going after Spalding full bore. He knows just how tough the man is after all.

Out of the three guards on the rooftop, two sets of guns go up like their aim is magnetically pulled towards Edgar's sudden appearance, and one of them shouts into the wind; "Get on the ground!" Like possibly this is going to work. There's a twitch through Praeger's immaculately angled shoulders like maybe he is tempted to duck himself, tension jolting up beneath Vincent's grip.

"Knives?" Incredulous commentary from Praeger, a line made of his mouth that might just say this man is probably not Registered.

Deedly dee. This from Vincent's phone. If Sebastian has a ringtone all to herself, it would be going off now — or just generically buzzing like one of Riggs' spies in his pocket. Someone is a little slow to the sudden appearance of a terrorist on the ground, but maybe well-meaningly confirming there's a car at the ready, sir, if you need—

Some thirty stories below, down on the street, lighting strikes the top of the armored personnel carrier as Lynette sends her lightning down on Wright's last position. The electricity explodes atop the vehicle in a shower of sparks sending NYPD officers diving for cover. The sudden blast of a grenade at the back of the vehicle has the crowd nearby screaming and scrambling away from the building. Stone debris and dust billows in a thick cloud around where the grenade had erupted on the pavement, chunks of asphalt and concrete raining down from the sky with clunking report.

Police officers are taking cover behind their cars at the spray of automatic weapons fire, the muzzle flash and noise of ricochet from Ash's firearms join the screams of panic from people trying to flee the scene of violence. Only the stacatto thump of heavy footfalls and whirring hydraulics prefaces Michael Spalding's emergence through the cloud of smoke and dust created by the grenade.

Bursting through the cloud, Michael opens up a burst of gunfire where he'd last seen Ash, only to fire square into the street with a pockmarking of exploding asphalt. Ash has already moved on, though, using the smoke from the explosion as cover to hide behind the armored personnel carrier. When Michael is in reach, Ash springs out from behind the vehicle, his pistol whipped out from his webbing and aimed point-blank down at Michael's chest as he tackles the FRONTLINE officer to the street.

Gunfire erupts with an explosion of muzzle flashes, metal exo-skeleton covering Michael's arms and legs leaves deep grooves in the street when he falls, and as he pushes up to one arm, Ash is there to force him back down, gun hammering bllets against his chestplate. Each round flattens out on the reactive armor, but each one feels like the kick of a horse against Michael's ribs. Eventually, though, it only feels like tickling.

Gun lost somewhere in the tackle, Michael winds up with an armored fist, slamming his hand into the side of Ash's jaw to knock him off, swinging one exo-skeleton powered leg beneath himself to swiftly stand, while Ash handsprings back after recovering from the punch, landing in a crouch and sliding out one of his own kukri from its sheath, gleaming steely in the cloudy light.

«I remember you,» Michael grates as he levels his hand down by his sidearm, his cracked helmet visor showing Ash's reflection in muted black tones. «You were at biodynamics!» Now, officially, it is a revenge brawl.

«Michael look out!» Comes from inside of the carrier as Wright steps out with her .45 trained past Michael and towards the blonde that isn't running away like everyone else. The only stationary figure in the crowd, the only person who doesn't look terrified.

Lynette is one to respect a good death match. Or, at least, she doesn't want to take the risk of friendly fire with Ash and his buddy rolling around all over. So, while she puts on her best horrified face which is, all in all, pretty damn good, the lightning just keeps raining down. Frontliners especially, when she catches a glimpse. For the NYPD, she's not aiming to kill, but scaring the beejesus out of them is totally fair game.

See, the thing that the the scientists don't realize and that Fel's never been properly able to explain….is that this power is addictive. More than meth, more than cocaine, more than any of the merely manmade stimulants. Jacked up on your own ability to essentially render everyone around you a living statue and any following fight almost necessarily horribly unfair. Riding high. So, when he realizes that his opponent is another speedster - his reaction isn't dismay.

It's exultation.

He doesn'r reply directly to Vincent's snapped order. «Confirm speedster» he says, as Edgar pauses. And then he's snapping into his own little world, hoping they're an even match. Edgar, in turn, is treated to a human figure that isn't rendered a statue by his speed. The man in the high-tech gimp suit, as it were, has a knife of his own. Nothing as exotic as a kukri, but a purely pratical tac-knife. All blackened steel and equally dull grip, it doesn't even gleam, as he heads for Edgar at full throttle.

Speedster, there's a low grunt as Edgar gives off a devilish grin. "Nice t'see a cousin 'orin' 'imself out t'the govuhmen' for a fancy suit.. I 'ope you like my tie…" Edgar growls in greeting as Felix closes in. Raising one of the khukri in an arch behind his head, the other is extended out toward the other speedster. To the layman Edgar's dance seems like a blur mixed with a strobing pause.

The carnie winds around the other man in a ballet type twirl as he brings the knife behind his head down in a slant toward the other speedster's back. The other knife comes up to criss cross where the other may have landed. It's hard to tell at such speeds. For now, Edgar isn't about the kill, this man isn't the target though he really must be disrobed.

"…Yeah." Knives. Evidently a man of few and obvious words in crisis situations such as these, Vincent holds stock stiff until one despicable smudge has thrown itself into the other. When it starts to look like a surrealist rave over there — that's when it's time to go again. After he answers his phone.

"We're still on the roof. We're leaving." The last lifted to include both Homeland Security behind him and Sebastian below him as he walks, Lazzaro urges Praeger into a faster pace than is strictly safe for the sake of not scuffing his shoes. The fact that his gun hand is also his phone hand is probably not ideal. There's a regular clack and scrape across the line. "You're welcome to stay up here and see who wins."

Ash lets a slow sneer spread across his lips as his feet, in their very tabi like coverings, grind onto the pavement, bits of debris scuffing and shifting beneath his feet, producing that grinding noise. He tilts his head to either side, neck popping a bit before he lifts his empty hand and curls his fingers at Spalding in a 'Come get it.' motion. "You fuckers killed a friend of mine." He growls out, though the sound is mostly lost to anyone beyond the immediate vicinity. "I suppose I should return the favor to your friends." There's a grin behind his mask, and a cold look in his eyes. Ash isn't angry, he's focused.

Spalding's boots thunk hard on the concrete as he launches himself towards Ash, fists open with the intent of grabbing on to the man, but when he gets there Ash his already gone, much quicker on his feet than the man in his big heavy armor. A khukri strikes hard at the armor along Michael's left shoulder, leaving a groove, and sparks spraying off into the air from the strike, and then a foot crashes into the back of the man's thigh like a piston driven blow, only it's not, and unfortunatley for Ash, he misjudged just how much force it would take to topple the armored giant. He follows through with another kick, body shifting as he brings it in towards Spalding's kidney's, only to have a hand chop down hard across his calf, a hand that turns at the wrist and grips his leg. Ash grunts as he's dragged forwards, then hops up from the ground, spin kicking into the side of Spalding's head ot get him to let him go.

The impact staggers the Frontline soldier, but he's immediatley pressing towards Ash, who is only now handspringing up from the ground where he landed after delivering the kick. His khukri slashes across Michael's gauntlet, parting steel and biting into the backs of his fingers, but the angle is bad, preventing it from doing more damage, and Ash scrambles backwards as Michael charges, returning the favor and tackling him to the pavement this time, both men going down hard, with knees and elbows thrown in, bouncing off of armor and flesh alike.

Praeger does not want to stay. This indicated by the ready clip of his step at Vincent's side, a hand absently adjust the sit of his glasses as he goes, sparing no glance for the impending blur of speedster battles about to make skid marks on the rooftop. He also doesn't spare a glance back towards the HomeSec suits sharing an uncertain look to one another, backing up two paces, before uniformly moving with Secretary and DoEA agent both.

One takes a lead for the rooftop top, the other two flanking. "Sir— wait." Change of plans tripping Sebastian's voice. There is noise, where she is. "The ETA on your chopper is two and a half minutes and I strongly advise you don't exit the building until we can confirm what the fuck is going on. With all due respect. I can tell you soon, but there is— " 'Some shit', would be Sebastian using up her swearing quota too quickly. "Complication."

Polite words for explosions, lightning, and a two-man war.

The eruption of lightning striking down at the police cars blasts apart the rooftop lights, sending shards of plastic and metal flying amidst the shower of electrical sparks. Lynette's brand of electrokinesis sends a rippling shockwave of static charge thorugh the cars' frames that ground out on the tires. Police officers dive for cover and the SWAT team that Michael had been flanked by are dividing up on the steps on the DHS building, ducking behind plastic riot shields.

From their ranks, there is a sudden foomp sound, followed by a canister trailing white smoke that spirals through the air before clattering at Lynette's feet and beginning to erupt with a noxious-smelling and peppery gas. Tear gas is a powerful crowd dispersant, for the way it blurs vision, constricts airways and irritates skin. That Lynette Rowan is now in the middle of that choking cloud is likely not to her benefit.

In their tangled melee, Ash manages to swing his head aside as Michael's gauntleted hand comes down and cracks the pavement beneath it, pulling back dented metal from the impact, hydraulics whirring and hissing as he brings his forearm down over Ash' throat, trying to choke him out. The close proximity of one another has Wright trying to train a shot, but the smoke, speed of the fight and fear of shooting Michael — even if he is at times nigh invulnerable — has her hesitating too long to matter.

Ash's knife slips up, not to Spalding's armor by th hydraulic hoses exposed on his exoskeleton, severing one the way he normally wound a tendon, spraying reddish-brown hydraulic fluis all over the aslpalt. Michael's right arm immediately locks up, pistons whining noisily and electric motors whirring before grinding to a halt.

The knife slips around, pressed up towards Michael's flexible armor at his neck, forcing the armored soldier to roll backwards, one arm locked in an outward position. Free hand moving, Michael disengaged the clips on his right arm, sending that quarter of his exo-skeleton harnass down to the ground with a heavy clang, power cables disconnecting like snapped threads from their ports.

Visor flickering on the inside from all the blunt-force trauma it's taken, Spalding watches as Ash gets up, then as he moves aside to allow Wright a clear shot, there's a crackle-pop of pinkish red light beside him, followed by Kris appearing in mid-air and shattering a wooden baseball bat across Michael's helmeted head. Black plastic explodes away fromt he faceplate as Michael jerks to the side, wood splinters joining the epxlosion as Kris lands on his feet and skids across the hydraulic fluid.

Wright switches her tagreting from Ash to Kris, but when she fires the teleporter is gone in an explosion of cinders and sparkling pink light, leaving a heat ripple in his wake. Michael recovers quick enough, half of hisa faceplate shattered, revealing one eye and his furrowed brow.

«I've got him Spal— » is as far as Wright gets before she's directly struck by an arc of electricity, causing not only the squeal of ecternal speakers as they blow, but a digitized scream from her synthesizer as she is blown off of her feet and lands on her back. Her armor bubbles and pops, joints locked up, circuitry fried, hydraulics blown. The Horizon Armor has a critical weakness in electricity.

Now the odds are stacked against the ground team.

The scream is rather satisfying. The gas? Less so. Lynette dances back when the canister lands at her feet, but she really lacks the experience to recognize just what that is. Until she's standing in the cloud, coughing and trying to blink her vision clear. She staggers back, trying to get away from the gas and to some fresh air and for a moment, there's a reprieve from the electrical storm.

The armor may be weak as tissue against electricity. But against mere blades, however fast, it does its thing. There's a great screeching of steel against alloy, sparks flying, but the faceless figure seems to take no hurt beyond a hitch in his stride. Fel's striking back in turn, thrusting with his own blade. He doesn't have a second to counter, but the vambrace on his other arm will have to function as a shield. It's almost like sword and buckler fighting from way back when. Edgar can't see the grin behind the polarized mask.

The clang and sparks encourage a grunt from the carnie who twirls again to dodge the soldier's knife only to receive a high speed vanguard in the chest. He staggers backward, pausing long enough to shake his head and give a confused stare to the man in uniform. "You're on the wrong side cousin," Edgar emits in a low tone before gearing up to his own highest speed. Hopefully, the other man isn't a match of all 700pmh of the juggler's.

There's a twitch of a grin as Edgar zips past Felix, giving him a wide berth as he heads toward some of the less armored soldiers. Most of all, the men in suits. There's no time to waste with another speedster at his back, but at least the Road Runner and Wile E. can have a great chase as the bird pecks off a few of the other man's comrades.

Vincent's muffled, "Hold on," in an aside to Praeger is actually less reassuring than the sudden grapnel rake of his lesser weight back on his heels while he listens. He listens more intently than he feels like listening, finely kempt bristle hackled around the clamp of his jaw when he steals a look over at the ongoing ludicrous-speed slap fight somewhere roundabouts four o'clock.

"Okay," he says after a beat that feels more like ten, irritation set flinty across the hard level of his brow, "in that case I strongly advise you to find someone who will explain to me why we only have one fucking helicopter. Hold please." One of the blurs is breaking off and circling around, and fast as his more mundane reflexes will allow, Lazzaro drops his Blackberry and starts shooting at or after it, 9mm rounds all in a leaden cluster.

Ivanov's armor is supposed to block that kind of thing, right?

Ash blinks as Kris appears out of no where with a wooden bat. Ash doesn't waste the moment that he's given either. He brings up his battered P-90, and aims at the now exposed and prone form of Wright. He pulls the trigger, sending a burst of armor piercing shells into the form omf the Frontline soldier. Then he turns and takes aim at Michael's legs. He knows that he won't hurt the man with the gun, as the first bullet would pass right through flesh, adn the second wouldn't do enough to be considered, but he can screw up the man's armor. "lets see how well the tin man fights without his armor." He mutters to himself as he pulls back on th etrigger, the little plastic gun sending a row of shots stitching along Spalding's knees.

Spalding turns his head, the cry of pain from his fellow soldier pulling at him, only for pain to lance thorugh him as a single bullet slices through his armor and the meat of his calf just below his knee, thankfully not hitting bone. What it does do though, is wreck his knee joints, so that when he goes to take a step forwards, his armor screeches in protest, metal twisting, making it hard to move. A frustrated noise comes from the FRONTLINE squad leader, and he stoops down amidst the tortured squeal of metal, scooping up a chunk of pavement and simply flinging it at Ash.

Ash is sooo not expecting a rock. He staggers backwards, forhead split open as the rock bounces off of his skull, leaving him standing there wavering for a few moments, but a bit of gunfire from the SWAT officers wakes him up. He dives forwards, blood splattering the concrete from wher ehe rolls, and comes up right in front of Spalding, who gets a driving knee from him right to the gut plate of his armor, and then his knife is back in play, and it's goal this time is the exposed arm of Michael Spalding. As the blade bites flesh, leaving a line of red across skin Ash growls in frustration. He's already cut the man once, and he's noticed how he shrugs off damage after one blow.

Time to change tactics. Ash ducks out of the way of a brutal swing from the officer, only to take a shit from the free arm, which can move quicker without the armor, staggering him as the blow connects with his stomach. Ash's feet grind on the pavement as he launches himself towards Michael, bringing anothe rhard knee up, but not at his face, again he's attacking th eexposed arm, bringing his knee up beneath the elbow, trying to shatter the man's arm at the joint, one arm coming down towards the soldier's forarm in an attempt to slam it down across his knee. There's also a growl of frustration from the big man at his opponents rapid adaptation to damage.

"Sir we have more than one, but— " But Sebastian is being asked to hold. And whether she likes it or not, she'll have to as gunfire echoes out. That's probably one way to get her thundering up the stairwell for the rooftop. If she isn't already.

Because Vincent is firing his gun indiscriminately into the blurry battle going on, Praeger letting an oh! of surprise leave his throat — mostly for Felix's sake as opposed to being particularly scandalised at his agent's measures, for all that those suits have themselves something of a reputation. The strikes of a helicopter's blades beating the air is now a consistent buzz of audio as its dark shape makes a tentative approach for the rooftop that is full of muzzle fire and blur.

Wright is lucky, in some ways, with her armor locked up from the electricity and the MR fluid locked in its active mode, she is better protected than normal against the ballistic rounds. The outer layer of nylon on the outside of her abdominal blating shreds from the impact, but layered like fish scales beneath, the pockets of MR fluid serve to redirect the force of the armor piercing arounds. Though the kinetic impact is massive, actually rolling her body over from the force of the blow, leaving her face down on the ground, screaming as her helmet scrapes against the concrete, scuffing the visor.

Blood pulses out of Michael's leg wound, that one first piercing shot more than enough to drop him down to a knee. All of the blunt-force trauma Michael has taken during this fight has left him invulnerable to the attacks against his joints though, arm-locks and joint locks, breaking bones that may as well be made out of some sort of fictional metal at this point.

With Ash desperately trying to break the unbreakable, Michael's head swims from the pain and blood loss of the knee injury, even with his armor constricting around the injured area trying to cut off blood flow. When he rises to his feet he comes up with his shoulder below Ash's jaw, lifting the man up off of his feet and slams him into the side of the carrier, the hydraulics and mechanical joints of his exo-skeleton supporting his body's weight where his broken knee no longer can.

Letting out a scream half-synthesized by his battered helmet and half echoing out of the shattered faceplate, Michael reaches for another knife sheathed on Ash's armored body, draws it back and stabs inward up under Ash's ribs, inserting the blade like a needle through cloth along his right flank, nearly the same spot Ash had stabbed Michael in their prior engagement.

Trapped up close, Ash's free hand swings out, clobbering the side of Michael's helmet and jerking his head to the side, then winds up and swings again, smashing out more of the visor and allowing Ash's fist to connect to Michael's face, ultimately ineffectually. When Michael draws back the knife to go for another stab, however, Ash grabs the wrist of his arm not powered by the exoskeleton and uses his superior natural strength to keep the blade back, even as both of their arms shake, trying to force the weapon to the direction they want.

This is, however, exactly what Ash was hoping for. Letting his weight slouch against Michael, he unholsters the FRONTLINE officers own firearm and levels it up right into the open faceplate. Even at point blank range, Michael has adapted to the force of a bullet, but there's something his body can't adapt to, something that the roar of a gunshot at point blank range can do to any man.

Michael jerks away, hands going up to his face as he drops Ash, the round from the handgun falling from where it bruised his forehead, but the muzzle flash and the report has both blinded and deafened him.

It's at this exact moment Lynette has made her way out of the gas cloud, choking and coughing and— surrounded by police. Unable to see where she was going to come out, she winds up behind the smoking police cars she electrified, guns drawn and screams to, "Lay down on the ground! Down on the ground!"

up on the rooftop adjacent to the DHS building, Larson Riggs' phone rings, a subtle vibration in his hand. Dark eyes grow wide, his head tilts and as he picks up the phone it is answered with, "Yes, Sir?"

A sentence is uttered over the phone, a single sibilant phrase, and Riggs' eyes grow wide and pupils narrow. Lowering the phone slowly from his ear, Larson unshoulders a black plastic tube that had been slung on a strap over his back, the kind that an architect would use to hold blueprints. This, instead, Larson Riggs uses to hold a honeycombed hive of bees.

Opening the top, Riggs' expression sags as the humming swarm rises up into the cold air, sluggish and lazy. The whipcrack of his mental goad however sends the swarm of hornets into a frenzy, their massive, black cloud rising up into the air and then descending down the side of the building towards both the fleeing crowd of pedestrians and the police that have swarmed around Lynette. She hears the buzzing first, not an electrical hum, but the beating of thousands of tiny wings, an army of insects in blotting cloud.

Well, that's just terrible luck. Lynette stares for a moment, coughing into her hand and trying to decide if it's time for fight or flight. And the things is… she's really pissed off at herself for picking flight last time. So the woman takes a step back, like she's going to turn and run, but she's really just bracing her footing before she lets out a sort of radial attack, putting her all into pushing the electricity out of her and toward the cops. The buzzing of the insects really just serves as a bolster for her. Not being alone and all.

No. No. No. No. It's a chant, not in time with that machinegun heartbeat, as Fel pelts after Edgar. Of course he wouldn't want to tangle with his own kind. Fel's fast enough to catch up, maybe. But it's a very close race, and in this case, perhaps the armor's slowing him down. And then one of Vincent's bullets smack squarely into him, and he staggers. The armor keeps it from doing any damage, but he nearly stumbles, and it puts him a crucial fraction of a second further behind. Should Edgar be unwise enough to pause, however, he's going to find a Russian all up in his business.

Had Vincent been firing ahead of the blur, he might have caught Edgar unawares, as it is, the carnie is gone before the bullets reach him. There's no pausing for the carnie, hearing the whistle of his pursuer, he zig zags his way through the other agents, slitting across their throats as he passes by. A ribbon slide to the chest of the first one exposes the man's kevlar, a learning experience for the juggler. The next one, he aims for the throat, creating a lovely second smile that spurts vermillion liquid just as Felix comes up, perhaps that will be adequate distraction.

As Edgar closes in on Vincent and Praeger, his martial ability comes in quite handy. There is a split second pause as he aims a flying kick toward Praeger, using the man's own body as leverage to rebound and zip off around the rooftop again. This time with a narrower margin for the other speedster. The last of the three guards is passed by and as Edgar reaches out to slice him in the throat, his hand is barred and the knife in it flies out of his grip. With no time to bemoan the loss of the khukri, the speedster continues his run.

If Edgar has the presence of mind to look, the one little bald guy in a suit not split ear-to-ear or on his way to terminal velocity is in the slow-motion process of veering a distinctly kind of oh shit look back over his shoulder. The one his boss was at the last time the nerves at the ends of his fingers had a chance to send an impulse to his brain saying so.

Gun gripped more tightly than is strictly necessary, he pivots, trips, nearly falls over, and vaults himself over the slightly raised barrier at the roof's edge. Might as well now that he's fired, right?
Ash snarls as Spalding reels back from the flash and noise of the gun. Ash had closed his eyes, and his customary goggles stopped any excess glare. Ash fires two more shots into Spalding's face, evne knowing they won't do anything, then turns and lights the man's armor up, concentrating on his shoulder joint, but in general trying to debilitate the FRONTLINE soldier, knowing he won't be able to kill him at this point.

Spalding flails blindly, the flash still leaving him disorientated, but he's granted a grunt of pain as his fist collides with Ash's kidney, sending the big man to one knee, and giving Spalding more time to lunge forwards, but he hits rubble and concrete as Ash has rolled away. Ash's attention has mostly shifted from the officer, turning and lifting his borrowed gun, he sends a spray of bullets at the SWAT officers to give Lynette a bit of cover. That plan though is ditched as well as the swarm descends upon them, a slight wince from Ash for their fate. A hand goes down, the snap of a belt pouch opening announces his second grenade being pulled out.

He turns, and flings the thing, pulling the pin in the same motion, into the back of the open tank. "It's getting awful hot down here, deal with that asshole so we can get the fuck out of here." This shouted into the mic within his mask that has remarkably not been destroyed. He turns, intent on going to assist Lynette and to get the hell away form the tank that he just chucked a grenade into, only to go down hard as a heavily armored body smashes into him, bearing him to the ground once again.

A red stain is left on the pavement where Spalding drives Ash to the ground, his vision not relaly cleared, just blurs amidst glaring light, but his hands reach out, grabbing a hold of something, and throwing it towards the ground, that something happens to be Ash's head, twice, before an elbow rocks his head ot the side, dealing no damage to his body, but knocking his vision off course, and causing the world to spin around him. The next elbow manages to deseat him, Ash's bone spiking into his exposed temple to send him sprawling on the ground.

Of course, that all transpires in the two or three seconds it takes the grenade to go off inside of the tank, the exposion sending a fireball jetting out of the back end, that fire washing over both him and Spalding where they lay on the ground, and shrapnel sprays outwards as well, though mos tof that flies right over the top of them, scything towards the NYPD officers who have been hiding behind cars and such. Ash grunts hard, laying there for a second before he rolls to his hands and knees and tucks a special little present underneath Spalding's body, a flash bang with a release lever, so when the man rolls or tries to get off, it will go off underneath him. "Have fun with that tin man." He spits at the man, venom, and respect in his voice as he tries to get his bearings, ears ringing to the point of near deafness, and vision swimming from concussion, both blows to the head, and kinetic from the grenade. Blood runs down his face from the gash to his forhead, brinigng a touch of dizzyness to the show as well, which leaves him staggering as he walks, moving in the direction of Lynette, though Spalding's rifle is lifted to spray pinning fire in the direction of the police and anyone else with guns, though th eshots aren't very accurate at this point.

Beneath Armani lines of worsted pinstriped wool, satin tie and pressed crisply white shirt, ribs crack. Spine protests and blood floods beneath skin in instant bruises, air rusding, expelled, out from Raymond's lungs. Miraculously, he keeps his glasses, even as he ground seems to sweep out from beneath his polished shoes. HomeSec agents collapse and bleed like discarded ragdolls of meat, but Praeger will have to be told that later— maybe a memo sent to heaven or something— as the white-haired politician promptly disappears over the edge of the building under the force of supersped kick, tie flagging in the wind, a hand outstretched like that might save him.

Sebastian doesn't see this, as she bursts like a charging bull through the rooftop access door, cornsilk hair blown in a maelstrom, a pistol gripped in her hands. What she does see are three dead bodies, and Vincent Lazzaro vaulting over the edge of the building. "No!" she shrieks, instinct dictating that short word rather than rational thought, moving to run and bow over the edge to see what the hell.

«You guys need to get out of there now!» Comes crackling over the speakerphones, the voice of Messiah's presumed leader, Peter Petrelli. Very rarely does Rebel hijack the speakerphone, and only in instances of emergency such as this. «Rebel just picked up an encoded burst transmission that matches an Institute dispatch signal. A squad of Retrievers has been dispatched to here and Columbia. Jesse is dead, we don't know where Claire is, we need to pull out!»

Downo n the street, Michael spalding spits out a tooth onto the street, a rattling breath wet in his lungs as he feels the pressure of the levered flashbang beneath him. Riot control are marching down the steps, automatic gunfire exploding out towards Ashley's direction before the grenade inside of the APC sends a fireball out of the back and a blash of plastic and metal shrapnel, destroying the interior of the armored vehicle. The riot control squad staggers back from the explosion, some ducked behind their clear shields, others still trying to bead a shot on the fleeing terrorist.

The growing cloud of insects to the area creates a haze of black, biting, stinging monsters that litter the air close to street level where strong winds are not present to disperse them. The police, the crowd, everything is beaing bore down on by the insects. But the moment Lynette unleashes a multi-directional pulse of electricity, the police officers are launched back from their footing, limbs shaking and bodies convulsing, while dead insects fall from the sky.

The shock of so many of his mind-linked insects killed at once causes Larson Riggs to let loose a howl of pain, clutching his head and staggering away from where he was standing. His mind swims, pain throbs behind his eyes, his skull aches and every single sound he hears is amplified by the tingle of each extension of his mind in those insects too quickly cut off

Riggs takes a knee, holding his head and exhaling a shuddering breath as the remainder of his swarm dissipates, bees recoiling from the cool air, revering to slugging and lazily bobbing flight patterns as the cold effects them more directly.

By now Ash has retreated into the cloud of teargas, using it as cover from the automatic gunfire. Somewhere in that cloud, there's a pinkish red snap of light, followed by a burst of thermal air displacing some of the smoke in a wisp, as Ash is relieved from the field of battle.

Another red cracklepop comes as Kris appears beside Lynette, laying a hand on her shoulder. "Boss said we gotta go," he apologetically offers, his hand warm to the touch as he lays it on her shoulder, looking at the felled police officers surrounding her, followed by a crackle-zap of fiery sparks.

Raymond Praeger's dark silhouette spins and flails, armsa and legs windmilling, his body twisting and turning as he falls past window after window after window of the DHS building, getting closer and closer to the ground, even as a red explosion of light appears on the roof across from Edgar, where Riggs is hunched over in agony. Kris waves his hand from the rooftop, a visible get the fuck out of there gesture, before he and Riggs vanish in a flash of fiery light and heat.

Felix Ivanov, greyhound of FRONTLINE, continues his blurred pace, but his speed is not what Edgar's is, his haste is not nearly dire enough. With the sight of Raymond Praeger kiltering ass over teakettle off the roof, Felix's blood boils behind his eyes and his pulse races in hummingbird rhythm. Booted feet slam on the rooftop then drop down to armor plated knees in a skid as Felix's hands whip down to his side, withdrawing a holstered .45 caliber revolver in both hands.

Felix knows every time he's been hit before, knows every time he's been clipped while moving at superhuman speeds has been because of one constant. Leading the target.

With only time for one shot to possibly count, Felix trains his sights a hair's breath ahead of Edgar's run and squeezes the trigger with resounding report.

Lynette is just sort of staring again when Kris appears, paying more attention to the cops than the bugs, in all honesty, although they register somewhere in her subconscious. "Oh, did he?" Are the rather mild words than come out in a whisper as she hooks an arm around Kris to let him 'port her to safety. She might be in shock a little. Just a little.

Unfortunately, Edgar is the one Messiah member without a phone. In his race for his life against the other speedster on the roof, he misses the signal to leave. It's not until the sting of the bullet going right through his leg that he sees the last wisp of smoke from Kris and Riggs' escape.

Felix's shot isn't lucky, it's skill, when the carnie stumbles and falls on the rooftop, he is alone with corpses and two hostiles. Still, he tries to get up and run but another shot colors his world with pain. The Messiah target might be dead, but Ivanov caught the one that did it. Someone else is going to be the celebrated hero tonight…

Tonight, Edgar Smythe got caught for a second time. All for want of a battle buddy… preferrably one with a cell phone.

Some might argue that Lazzaro has a lot going for him. Some. As in some people, especially Lazzaro himself. Being aerodynamic generally isn't included in the more general definiton of "a lot," though.

Flagging jacket with tie shucked and parachuted wastefully away into the tearing wind mid unwieldy tumble (black socks over ears) he almost has the look of a man who has jumped off of a building before. Something for Sebastian to think about later, perhaps. When she's working on the paperwork this incident is going to generate.

Because he won't be.

A twist of his torso straightens him out enough to orient himself, black eyes fixed after the more ruinous tumble of his employer. Then he collapses, sooty smoke darting full force downward in time for him to reappear, twist, loop both arms around the older man in a bear hug from behind (~the way he likes it~) and — sublimate. Both of them.

Brackish vapor flattens itself against the pavement in a flush of cold momentum. And they're gone.

Ash turns, shi head, his eyes locking with Spalding's, even if th eman is incapable of seeing at the moment. He closes his eyes when he feels Kris' hand on his shoulder, and the two dissapear, back to whever it is that Kris takes him. Ash takes a knee, his whole body aching and shaking, adrenaline coursing through him, but not doing enough to stave off the effects of the ass kicking that was given and recieved in concert with Spalding. He talks to Kris in between the guy's teleports. "Really beginning…. to like you sparkles… keep saving my ass like this." He chuckles, and then coughs hard, a bit of blood coming up, bruised insides from the blows and tackles, and general abuse he took. He doesn't spit up any teeth, but blood does begin to coat the right side of hisf ace from the gash across his forhead. He doesn't move from his kneeled position either. When Lynette and Riggs pop in he gives them both slow nods, his mask laying on the ground in front of him wher ehe pulled it off, the thing soaked in his blood, his goggles smeared in it as well. "Alive again…… fuck.." He slams his fist into the ground and pushes to his feet finally, scooping up his mask and his goggles and tilting his head to either side. A smile spreads over his lips as he looks down at the rifle still clutched in one hand. "And I got a new toy out of the bargain." he grins, petting his hand along the AR-15, then looks to the rest of the team minus Edgar. "Where's the mouse?" An obvious reference to Speedy Gonzales to anyone who may have watched Loony Toons as a kid. "Kris, go make sure he gets out… please.." Ash groans in pain, barely able to stand himself at this point, but stand he does.

Sebastian is frozen where she stands, a hand gripping a pistol, the other making a pale claw on the concrete ledge of the building as, instead of the splatter of two men hitting the ground, there is simply nothing. She stares for two more seconds before pushing herself away from the ledge, turning, now, towards the injured terrorist lying prone on the ground. Her hazel gaze bounces between the corpses littering the rooftop around them, mouth in a grimace that looks ugly on her, showing tooth.

"You," she says, pointing to where Felix is inevitably approaching his arrest, "he's a Department of Evolved Affairs' detainee and under arrest for attempted murder." Blood from a nearby suit is threatening to pool and ruin her shoes, which is straight up murder, really. But batshit determination has her eyes wide as she barks her orders. "HomeSec gets their turn after we're done with him." Gun holstered, she's pulling out her phone, and coming to the realisation that her boss and his boss are bothered disappeared in black vapour.

An exhale that's not quite a sigh, more of a huff, as she snaps her phone closed again.

We struggle against fate's guidance, struggle to find our own independance in a chaotic and violent world.

Lights flash and sirens wail, down the street a convoy of two white vans are roaring down the street, unmarked and heavily bodied. These vehicles arrive on the scene of the attack, rolling to a halt just outside of the police barricade, white-clad figures in biohazard suits with black visored masked respirators step out into the street, machine pistols held fast in one hand, canisters of gas in the other as they fan out on the street below, followed by a rush of ambulance and police reinforcement, cruisers swerving onto the road to block off further ends of the street with enough space for ambulances to breeze past.

But the path that fate has preordained for us is at some times difficult to truly escape from, be it written in the paint of a propet's canvas…

Some rises up in thick tendrils from the battle at the front of the Department of Homeland Security central office, scattered pieces of discarded armor and the battered bodies of FRONTLINE officers that has fought to stave off the terrorist attack. Police and medical personnel vault sawhorses and rush on site, sirens blare and a belated helicopter is finally arriving on the scene, blades noisily chopping through the air, sending a downdraft that disturbs Agent Sebastian's blonde hair in whipping tendrils.

Or whispered in the verses of some half-wake sybil. The road signs of our impending future are there, waiting to be found.

Rising up to one knee, then onto his feet, Felix Ivanov keeps his gun trained on Edgar with a nothing but Edgar's own body reflected in his featureless black visored helmet. Stepping to the edge of the building, he looks over the edge, seeing no sign of Praeger anywhere. One brow arches behind the faceplate, and as Felix looks back to Edgar, his voice crackles over the external speaker.

But it is up to us whether we find them and follow them…

«He's not going anywhere.»

Or struggle to find our own way from an inevitable future.

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