A Call To Arms



Summary: The Saints receive an urgent message from their missing leader.

Dark Future Date: September 1st, 2009

A Call To Arms

Basement Levels, Phoenix Rising Penthouses

Masterson is almost dead when he arrives. Almost. He knows where to go and who to look for. He knows what it is at stake. And so when he was shot in the leg in D.C., he injected himself with morphine so that he might flee. When shrapnel caught him in his belly mere miles away from Phoenix Towers, he injected himself with adrenaline so that he might shake his persuers and carry on. No food. No sleep. Only a message that must be delivered.

He is disoriented when he pulls up a block away in a battered, bullet-ridden sedan. Half-walking, half-crawling, he makes his way to one of the concealed doors. Even in his delerium, Masterson is a good soldier. His instincts scream that a bloody carcass on the front step will only draw attention to a crew that depends on secrecy for survival. So slowly, laboriously, he makes his way through the labyrinth of hallways and corridors that will lead him to the bunker hideout. One of his arms is busy clutching in his guts, the other hand is wrapped around a digital memory stick. When he reaches the elevator that's the last barrier between himself and his destination, he climbs inside, hits the button for the basement, and sighs with relief. So close.

Not close enough. When the elevator doors open, Masterson's body spills out onto the floor. The memory chip bounces from his slack hand and skitters across the deck.

The chip contains an autoloading video. As soon as it is inserted, an image of Jack pops up on the screen. Alive. Barely, but he is alive. Once lean and hearty, he has wasted to a thin, pale shell of the rugged warrior he was only weeks ago. His customary outer layer of heavy clothing has been stripped away, as have his gloves. In an only an undershirt and slacks, his scarred right arm and twisted, talon-esque hand are proudly displayed for the first time. Neither does he attempt to conceal the heavy bandages across his chest, or the snugly wrapped stump of his severed leg.

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been far too long since my last confession."

He looks up into the camera, revealing eyes that still bear fierce, intense determination despite being hollowly sunken. Even in his current state, he sits straight and proud in his wheelchair. "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated," he rasps, and a small smile tugs briefly at one side of his mouth. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there in person. I would've sent Trina, but I need her with me right now. Daniel Masterson's a good soldier, though. I've trusted him to get this message to you, and I trust you all to thank him properly for me. Throw him a party or somethin'."

Jack pauses and glances over his shoulder at something outside the camera's view. When he looks back, his small smile is gone and his eyes are flat and cold. "No time for pleasantries, Saints. You miss me an' I miss you, we'll all hug and be faggy another day. For now, let's get down to business." He pauses again, this time for a deep, steadying breath. "Nathan is dead. Sylar killed him. The Pete 'd-baggist' Petrelli that we've all grown to despise? That was Sylar all along. Watch this. I'm sorry, but you have to watch."

The image cuts away from Jack to the video he shot during Sylar's attack on the Oval Office, ending with Sylar's grinning message directly into the viewfinder.

After a few seconds of blank screen, Jack's face reappears. His jaw is set grimly and he's gripping the arms of his wheelchair so hard that his knuckles have gone white. "Crazy shit, right? Well it gets better an' better. Cyprus Donovan has turned. He's working with me now. He and I taking D.C., Saints. We're takin' it an' givin' it back to the people. We're gonna carve out a new government, an' he wants to put me in charge of it." Another pause, not self-conscious, but self-aware. Slowly, he is starting to believe that he really is the right man for this job. "I need your help, Saints. In D.C., events have been set in motion that can't be unset. I have things covered here. When the time comes, New York will be in your hands. D.C. may be the seat of government, but the military stronghold is with you, in the Big City. It's a helluva job, but I believe you can do it. I always have. Not even Sylar can stop you."

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power." He looks directly into the camera, and in turn, into everyone's eyes. "If it's good enough for the Bible, it's good enough for me. Keep your radios tuned to the news, Saints. When I declare war, you will know it. I love you all, and may God watch over us."

Someone else's arm is briefly visible at the edge of the recording, then the image abruptly ends as the camera is turned off.

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