2010-02-14: It's All About The Game (Phantasm)



Posting Date: February 14th, 2010


It's all about the game, and how you play it.
It's all about control, and if you can take it.
It's all about your debt, and if you can pay it.
It's all about pain, and who's gonna make it.

"It's All About The Game"


In the heat of the raging war, the searching helicopters, the constant sirens, the towering skyscrapers of the city, once pillars of industry, become huge glimmering fortresses for those still rich enough or important enough in the ravaged economy. If you can afford the security, you can sit in luxury while the world burns, planning the next move against your opponent. In this way, the tall, angular building begins to look like a chess piece— where all the kings sit huddled in their plush chairs, surrounded by their metal rooks and their uzi-touting pawns, just waiting for that axe to fall and take off their head.

Someone once said that those who are fast and those who are bullet-proof would have to be the first to die for the humans to get the upper-hand. That those people could be dangerous. They never mentioned what it'd be like if two of these were to get together.

From down here, ground level, Daphne Millbrook is an ant compared to the ominous tinted windows of the building in front of her. A tiny ant with a shock of long blonde hair, a tight black and red ensemble, and a crooked tiara sitting on her head that's missing two of its fine jewels. Through huge sunglasses that do nothing in the perpetual night, she stares at the goal — the top level of offices — then angles her head to the person standing next to her.

"Last blow in the highest office is the only one that counts. No one else can be breathing when it happens. No cheating." Said quite seriously, like she fully expects the man beside her to break her trust, despite that she's the one who could already be up there and back down by now. But that isn't the point, is it? No, not unless there's a blanket of bodies to pave the way. After that, a more ponderous expression. "Think I'll give 'em a six second head start this time. It feels like a generous day."

"Six seconds?" Sylar responds with a roll of his eyes, a "sure, go for it" wave of his hand accompany the gesture. "Sounds like a bit much by my count. Why delay?" He puts his hands into the pockets of his trenchcoat, the only real feature standing on in the night being his own head, which lacks the full-body covering his coat gives him. Even then, it's just for show— it's not like he has anything to fear or hide from.

"Last blow in the highest office," he echoes, eyes turned skyward as he finds the top level of the building, looming so high above them. Pulling his hands out of his pocket, he slowly begins to unbutton the trenchcoat, until it finally hangs open of his own free will, revealing his normal attire beneath. Black shirt, black jeans, black boots. All the better to stalk your victims through the night. Throwing his dark coat open with a flourish, he puts one foot forward, looking to Daphne. "Shall we?"

"Why not," Daphne returns with her own tone of not caring, her perpetual attitude of 'whatever'. "It gets awful boring killing people before they know you're there. I mean— funny! But boring." She busies herself with curling up the long sleeves of her flattering red-striped black blouse until they are at the elbow. When he flares out the coat, she's also ready. The wicked look she passes along is the only answer.

When the speedster saunters to the door, it's already evident that no amount of guests were expected, or allowed. Locked out, she has to use a key-card she pulls out of her pocket to get the things to open. Where did she get the key-card? Probably at the last skyscraper. The second the lock blinks to green, there's a bustle of muffled but audible footsteps from inside as guards position themselves to make sure whatever's out there is supposed to be in here…

Well, it's not.

It only takes several more seconds for each pair of eyes inside the lobby to know this blonde person flinging the doors open is not supposed to be doing that. But by then they've already lost half their count. Daphne's on 'four' by the time the first finger is on the trigger.

By five, there's bullets in the air.

On six, all those bullets pass harmlessly past through the open doorway exactly where the speedster'd been standing. They whizz by to the soundtrack of a man gurgling as a knife draws across his throat and spills first blood.

"Hmph." While Daphne may prefer using the keycard to gain entry into the skyscraped, Sylar prefers a much easier, much more showy way. Spreading his feet slightly to give himself even ground, he spreads his arms as well, hands splayed open as he closes his eyes and begins to focus energy directly on the windows in front of the building. They may be designed to keep people exactly like him out, but even then, they can only take so much force before they'll bend to the whim of someone like Sylar.

With a final burst of energy by clenching his fists, the windows shatter with full force. Glass rains from the first, second, even third floor— Sylar wasn't holding back when he forced his way in. Stepping over the threshold, glass crunching underneath his boots. One of the guards turn their guns on him, but with an easy swipe of the hand, his gun clatters to the floor. Another simple, almost casual swipe, and the man's throat opens, spilling blood onto the floor as he grasps his throat, eyes widening as life itself leaves him.

1 to 1.

But this was only the beginning.

As glass twinkles by like hellish snowflakes, it's joined by nothing less than a barrage of fire by those men standing by the door, those at the security desk, and those who drew the long straw and got to duck behind automatic weapons at the barricades in front of the elevators. The whirling angry red of the security camera dipping towards the two intruders ensures that everyone else in the building will be waiting.

Let them be. The expression on Daphne's face sure isn't concern as she makes a sharp-angled turn around the falling body of her first victim. His partner pulls the trigger, but she's already there, smacking the gun's length with her palm so that he and it spin to the side before the bullet even makes it all the way down the muzzle. The resulting reroute catches a third man in the stomach, an aim that would've taken out the short Daphne.

A simple swing of her an arm behind her and the knife in her hand buries itself into a second neck. This time, she leaves it there, letting the man fall away from her with the murder weapon still protruding.

The sound of madness begins to overtake the lobby, as the gunfire erupts all around the evil duo forcing their way to the top. Sylar's first victim falls to the floor, dead in his own pool of blood. Even as some the others turn their weapons on Sylar, he's already reacting, a pale blue shield erupting from the air around him. It looks startingly familiar to the shields of someone he once knew, someone he even once loved, but all good things must come to an end. And at the end, Sylar was waiting for his shiny new toy.

Bullets bounce harmlessly off of the shield, the tink-tink-tink sound sounding throughout the lobby as the bullets fall to the ground. Behind him, glass begins to rise, sharp, jagged pieces of it cutting the air around them, the dimming, fading light from outside reflecting perversely off of them, sharp bursts of light flashing in the air. "You might want to watch where you step!" he calls out to Daphne, giving her due warning— but even as the last word rolls off of his tongue, the glass goes shooting through the air directly at the four guards in front of Sylar, their screams filling the lobby as the glass begins to slice and cut into their skin. If it doesn't kill them, it will damn well bring them close enough that either Sylar or Daphne can finish them off easily.

Currently weaponless, Daphne indulges in a bit more ducking and running, giving those aiming at her the illusion that they have a chance— let them waste those precious bullets at a blur they can barely even see. It's more panic and instinct that lets them keep firing, than having a real shot lined up. As the call from her partner across the way reaches her, she's still playing this wild game. But the instructions are an idea.

Dashing directly at the wall, sprays of bullets following behind in a wake of bullets doomed by its delay, she heads right into and then up on the structure of the room. As fast as she is, it's all too easy to run in an arc along the wall, even bouncing once or twice between the it and the ceiling, before she hurtles along and down. Her curved path has taken her far past Sylar's danger zone of glass and to the ranks of those firing the mounted guns.

Too fast, Daphne is among them, removing the pins of stored grenades, ruffling vests, and playfully sticking those stolen pins into the barrels of their guns in between firing.

But she makes it around in a loop, beating a strategic retreat to the countdown of when those grenades will go off. She drops to a sudden but graceful stop at Sylar's side where she can enjoy the benefits of his abilities for the fireworks.

The glass continues to slice and cut the guards, becoming a swirling, vicious whirlwind of jagged glass at the last moment as Sylar changes his mind. He isn't simply going to let the glass do its work on his own— no, he's going to give it that extra little bit to really ruin the last day of their life. Once the glass has all but made the guards unrecognizable, Sylar drops his hands, the glass falling to the ground with a soft clatter. After that? Silence. The gaurds with pins in their guns suddenly realize what has happened to them, and they begin to run. Turning to Daphne, Sylar gives her a mock frown of sadness. "Aw, well that's no fu—"


Unaware of the fact the guards' grenades were live, it's only instinct that Sylar manages to get a shield up for both he and Daphne. Arms come up, crossing over his face in a gut reaction to the explosion, but even as his arms are moving up, the blue shield quickly wraps around them, forcing the shrapnel and flames from the several grenades around them. The view from inside the shield looks like they're standing directly in the middle of a raging inferno that's threatening to surround and engulf them, but almost as soon as it's started, it's over, the flames finally eating up all of the oxygen and losing their fuel. Once it's clear there's no more fire, and they're safe, Sylar lets the shield drop, the remains of the guards littering the lobby around them. "Jesus, D. You could have told me about the grenades."

Despite her own awareness, Daphne spends most of the explosion with her eyes shut from the force and her bloodied hands find their way under the flare of his coat. It's as the fire blazes that she looks out, the light reflecting in her gaze and the sneaky way her mouth begins to twist up. When the heat has cleansed out of the room, she leans away to let him see the unmoved look she has for him— vaguely disappointed but most parts mischievous. "Yeah, could've," she chirps in her eternal perkiness, "But I like to keep my MVP on his toes." And she bounces rightly up on hers and teases his jaw-line with her lips for a fleeting touch.

In the next moment she's gone, picking her speedy way past fingers and ears, and earning herself a looted weapon, before she makes for the corridor beyond. It's neatly timed so that as the blur of her figure buzzes the elevators, two of them give alarming *dings* to announce that they're about to dump reinforcements on the destroyed lobby — and Sylar.

Daphne, for her part, prefers the stairs, really. Faster. Elevators you could wait your whole life for. No, she pounds up flight after flight towards her own waiting group of elites. The higher-ups, see, they're more like knights, with their special training and cool moves. Not that it'll save them.

With another roll of the eyes and an exaggerated sigh, Sylar lets Daphne plant the kiss on his jawline. "One of these days you're gonna get us into some real trouble, you know," he says, turning his eyes to her for only a moment, but then she's gone. "Always on the move," he says, shaking his head slightly. Following her the best he can, she's gone with a blur, just in time for the elevator doors to open. Several guards file out, each one decked out in combat gear and what a normal man would call a very impressive looking shotgun. Surely it's not the best they have lurking around thsi building, and Sylar is somewhat disappointed. Even worse, he doesn't have time to play.

"Sorry, boys," Sylar says, bringing a hand up to his face so he can examine his fingernails more closely, giving off an air of very little caring. "But my girl is already on her way to the top, and I can't let her get too much of a headstart… so, at least it will be quick for you." A pause, as he considers. "Well, maybe not too quick."

The killer suddenly disappears from view, as if he were never there, and one of the rookie guards immediately begins to freak out. "Where the hell did he go, man?! Where is he? We're screwed, man, we're screwed!" As if to punctuate his point, the guards suddenly lifts up into the air, slamming into a nearby support column with a sickening crunch as his spine snaps in two. The other guards begin to wildly look around, trying to find Sylar but they'll have no luck. One by one they begin to fall as Sylar makes his way through them, whether snapping their neck, using their own guns on the other guards, or some other sick form of punishment as they slowly begin to fall one by one.

Somewhere stories above the massacre in the lobby, a group of human soldiers awaits, hunkered down on the small square of space between flights of stairs. With specialized headpieces and goggles, they're able to pick up on those things that happen beyond mere mortal comprehension. It's always been the human way to come up with the next sickest technology to blow away what it doesn't like. As such, one of them is able to pick up the sensations of a fierce breeze making its way towards them. Tracking Daphne's trail, however, means a delay between where they think she is, and where she really is. It's this tiny bit of difference that they hope they can make up that Daphne plays in. She spirits around a corner to find an army of angry red dots lighting up the space a few feet in front of her as the soldiers overcompensate for her anticipated movement. It'd be a clever thing, and one of them might have tagged her— if she hadn't been expecting it, and stopped early.

The bullets fly once more, the men wanting to take no such chances in hesitation, and they litter the stairs, shell casings tumbling with a rain of *clink clink clink* down and down.

"Hold fire!" The call goes up. Then, as the goggles come up to bring a normal view up, the man shouts, "She's there!" They adjust again, of course they do; they even stagger their positions and have the advantage of shooting from higher ground at a standing target.

But it's about that time that one of them is distracted by a sudden looming weight over his one shoulder. When he checks, it's his lieutenant, slumped: dead. Like a trigger of its own, the revelation seems to cause the rest of them to notice that they've also been shot. How? Nobody even heard the noise, even as the various slick effects of metal tearing up flesh fall into place, timing with the bodies as they slump about exactly as they'd been kneeling, so prepared to fire. Only the last man there, hunched behind the dead bodies of his friends, has enough seconds of breath left to recognize the rise of smoke from Daphne's weapon before she nails him between those wide, staring eyes.

"Took 'em long enough," the speedster complains, a note of irritation, before she begins her next sprint. Each time, she tries the door before heading higher above. Most of the building is abandoned — there aren't enough humans left to man this stuff, even they wanted to — but she can't take any chances when the rule of the game is clear. It's everyone or no one.

The last of the guards in the lobby floats listlessly over the fallen bodies of his comrades, blood tricking out of the corner of his mouth, the steady 'drip, drip, drip' patter of blood hitting the floor the only sound in the lobby. It's quite clear the man is taking his last breaths— soon, he'll no longer be part of this world. With a final, erratic sigh, he's gone. The body drops to the floor with a thud, and a shimmer reveals Sylar standing over it, eyes cast downward as he takes a last look at his latest victim. "Sickening."

With a flourish, he turns on the spot, casually walking towards the elevators and stepping inside. He pushes a button for the highest floor he can possibly go to, but he very seriously doubts it will take him all the way to the top. Oh, well. He'll at least ride for as long as he can, eyes closed as he listens to elevator's music, bobbing his head along with the slow beat. The elevator finally stops with a ding!, the doors sliding open to reveal one shaking, scared, lonely guard aiming at Sylar with a gun. "Don't move!" he shouts, waving his gun in a threatening manner. Sylar steps forward, hands raised—

The sound of the gunshot rings off the walls, the bullet striking Sylar straight in the chest, forcing him back into the elevator where he slams into the wall, slowly sliding down, his eyes wide as he stares at the guard. It's becoming evident that this guard is green, because the shot even startles him, letting his gun drop to his side as a hand goes up to his ear. "Son of a bitch!" he says, rubbing the side of his head, clearly trying to get the ringing noise out. "I got him!" he begins to shout as he does so, turning his attention to the rest of the floor. "I got him!"

Little does he know, however, that taking his eyes off of the elevator was a very bad idea indeed. The sociopathic killer slowly rises from the floor of the elevator, his chest already pushing the bullet out and sewing the wound over with new, rejuvenated flesh. The bullet falls to the floor with a soft tink, and it's the only sound the guard needs to hear. Turning around in absolute horror, the last thing Greeny sees is Sylar bearing down upon him, his hand closing over the guards eyes, as his hand slowly begins to heat up, until it quite literally becomes red hot, the screams from the guard punctuating the otherwise silent floor, until ultimately… silence.

Having just one elevator go to the right place would just be too easy. There is, in fact, an executive elevator, all posh and special that requires a second security check and another key-card to use. From where Sylar stands, it's down a few corridors past the meeting rooms of this floor that have long been abandoned for their original purposes. And there awaits another group, this one a collection of soldiers not military-trained but mercenary, meaning each is probably just as willing to toss the next out the window to get these two evolveds' heads on a platter for themselves. They've also been armed with one more thing: power-neutralizers. Whether they've modified it into liquid, gas, darts… the humans have gotten creative.

Therefore, it's around one of these first bends that waits the former-blur that is Daphne. Her head cocked and her hip out, she leans on a wall of a currently quiet hallway, waiting for the sound of the screams that is the last poor soul going under. He has no idea that those he was shouting to have been neatly beheaded and are lying at the speedster's feet in a decorative circle, like the fleshy pedals to her figure's lovely sunflower center.

She's wiping a bit of solider scum off her Manolo Blahniks when Sylar appears and her blankly irritated face of impatience melts away just like the features of that guy he just killed. Only, instead of gummy face-chunks left over an exposed skeleton, Daphne's left with a brilliant smile. "Hey, ace. Intel says our favorite kind of BFFs are waiting just up there. Should we give 'em what they want?" It's a tinge less bemused than her usual, and Sylar should know; nothing pisses the speedster off more than the idea of her power going vamoose.

Throwing the body on the ground, the man's face a twisted, sick version of what it used to be, Sylar turns in a circle on the spot, looking for any other prey that might be stupid enough to reveal itself to the predator. The only person that shows up, however, is Daphne, and while it's certainly someone he can't kill, it's the next best thing. "Gorgeous," he says in greeting, offering her a small smirk.

His eyes turn in the direction she indicates down the corridor, following it with his eyes. "Are we sure we got everyone else below us? I don't know about you, but I had a fantastic time in the lobby after you left. You should have seen it, you would've been proud." He turns his attention back to her, head tilted to the side slightly, a malevolent smile on his face. "What about you?"

Daphne wouldn't much appreciate being killed; she will, however, accept that greeting with a little suggestive smirk of her own for his efforts. She tips her chin against her shoulder, glancing the way he does a moment after and still staring vaguely around the corridor when he keeps talking. "I met some nice fellows in the stairwell," she describes, pushing off from the wall with a bleary sigh as to the fate of these men, "Can't teach dumb humans new tricks." Which says plenty about how that experiment went for the soldiers.

Sauntering with all the power of those tiny-sized but womanly hips, she makes it over to him, using a single finger to trail along his chest and to his arm as she strolls around his side, should he stay in that spot. "Sure you don't just want to send me away so you can have all the fun?" is the verbal tease to go with the touching. More seriously, "I can go check in a flash, if you want to get started with these ones…" A backwards indication with her head to where the mercenaries wait — likely poised and heavily anticipating this very attack.

"No, you really can't," Sylar says, eyes following Daphne until she's no longer in his vision, turning his head the other way to catch her as she comes back into view, "and that's why they'll never learn. They'll spend days, weeks, months, years holed up in a place like this, using their money, their power, their influence, to push their little pawns around, trying to save the world from us." He shakes his head, closing his eyes in disbelief. "Even the others like us who fight for the humans… they'll only realize when it's too late. It's a war they can't win." He opens his eyes, looking back to Daphne, a smirk on his face. "Not that we care about that, do we? As long as we get to hunt."

"Go check," the killer continues, bringing the subject back to the moment at hand. "I'll go ahead, see what's waiting for us, but I'll wait for you." He begins moving forward, turning around and walking backward as he speaks, arms held out at his side. "I'll be waiting." Once again facing the way he's headed, he jogs down the corridor, turning the corner and disappearing from view. A moment later, a soft, distant *ding!* would let Daphne know the elevator has arrived, and Sylar is onboard.

Inside the elevator, Sylar waits. It won't be long now before he's near the final floors, where surely the biggest and best of them lie in wait. Not that it matters. They've never been able to stop them— and they never will. When the elevator doors open, the mercenaries wait, in classic position, guns poised and at the ready… but there's nothing to aim at. An invisible Sylar moves swiftly and silently out of the elevator, making his way around to the back of the mercenaries. Now all he has to do is wait.

"Not for long you won't!" carries down the hall after him as Daphne offers a mock-salute — one that is hardly seeable because she's blurry the next moment and gone before that. Through the silent halls, the boarded-up boardrooms, the empty desks where once sat pictures of loved ones and puppy dog calendars she goes; there's barely anything for the wake of speed to disturb, it all having been lost in the years humanity broke down into war. Up and down stairs she goes, checking doorknobs twice, flying through emergency exits and ramps and the little nooks and crannies the janitors once held down. In the end, it's obvious they've done their job and done it well; if there was anyone not in the lobby or top floor, they had already come down in that elevator and were smattered about by Sylar's creative streak.

This likely means that the hotshots at the top are pretty damn hot.

Good thing Daphne and Sylar are better.

When she reaches the executive elevator, it's with some disappointment. One, she just ran through the whole building with no one to slice. Two, she has to use this slow-ass contraption. Still, with a sigh, she depresses the button that will send it down to her. The closing doors and accompanying *ding!* is enough to put the mercenaries above on edge and each of them raises his weapon to a trigger-happy position for this next ride. Whatever's going on, they know it's fishy. And they know how they treat fishy in this world.

Unaware, but not entirely oblivious, of what's going on above her, Daphne sidles onto the elevator and contentedly chooses her floor with a light hum. The twinkling of the music inside is as cheesy as to be expected but she mutters dirty lyrics to go with and satisfy her during the trip.


Her eyes raise from the elevator floor to the horizon of modified weapon aims pointed right at her.

Somebody fires.

Waiting, watching, Sylar pulls his hat down low over his head, leaning against the wall behind the mercenaries. They have no idea he's there, counting them up, sizing them up, getting ready for the fight. He begins to move closer, creeping low as the elevator on the other side of the room begins its slow descent to the top. He's just behind them now, ready to pounce, his hand reaching out to the closest, doomed mercenary…

The elevator doors slide open, revealing Daphne inside, eyes raised to the mercenaries as somebody fires.

The mercenary closest to Sylar falls to the floor in a crumple, half of his head missing.

Looking up at Daphne, Sylar drops his invisibility, light finding him again as he reveals his form standing over the dead mercenary, gun smoking in his hand. Not a way he usually kills someone, but every now and then he likes to throw them off. Keeps them on their toes. A split second goes by before the mercenaries realize what's going on, and one of them advances on Sylar, already firing his weapon as Sylar spins around, disappearing into a nearby cubicle, but a flash of scarlet through the air shows Sylar was hit at least once. The other mercenaries spread out, re-forming, re-analyzing, and re-thinking their strategy, already adapting to the situation at hand. Sylar managed to catch them off guard, but they all know the two of them are here now, and they're damn good at what they do. They won't go down without a real fight.

All seems well in the moment where that blast is only the godlike evolved pulling a fast one on the mercenaries, and as he glances up at his even faster one partner. And, in that moment, it is. If Daphne's hovering in the same spot, not meeting the gaze of Sylar but still those of the other guns as they start to swing and adjust to the revelation of the second target, there's always the likelihood she's giving off another six-count. Maybe she'll go to ten this time, make it nice and even.

But the mercenaries near the elevator center have been something Sylar hasn't, and it makes them swing their fancy new weapons all towards him as the rounds start pumping out. Some of them aren't just bullets, either, but huge chunks of metal fit for a tank — a couple of incendiaries. A skinny fella with a bright pink mohawk near the back lobs a grenade into the labyrinth of cubicles; it's a grenade that starts puffing out clouds of gas even before it hits the ground and bounces. The type of gas that could ruin Sylar's day.

That is, if the trick isn't already done by a warbling shout of, "One of 'em's down! The bitch is down!"

Somewhere in that moment between Sylar's gaze and subsequent fleeing from the new attention on him, Daphne didn't count to ten. Her hands jerked up in reaction to that second blast — the one not Sylar, that hid underneath its noise — but then she crumbled right to the floor of the elevator, never having made it further. Her face to the cold metal, she's more still than seems possible on a speedster as the bloated and victorious mercenary who fired hunkers over to check his handiwork.

Already shot in the side, Sylar pauses for a few moments as his wound begins to heal, sure that Daphne is out their on the move, leaving carnage in her wake. He knows he only has a few precious seconds before they're on top of him, and he needs to get moving. Pushing the cubicle wall over, he makes a break for it, running down and in between the gray, uniform walls, slamming into each one with telekinesis, throwing as many as he can up into the air to distract the guards.

He comes to a stop at the end of the rows to catch his breath for a moment, and listen to see where the guards are. What he hears, though, is a terrible thing, both for him, and for the guards.

Daphne's down.

Eyes widening, Sylar slowly turns to his left, peeking around the cubicle, giving him a clear line of sight to Daphne's downed figure. Eyes flicker up to the mercenary advancing on her, and brows slowly furrow as the killers eyes narrow. Although the lone gas canister has dispersed all of its contents, Sylar is far enough from that part of the large room that he'll have time to at least make it to Daphne. Then he can deal with somehow getting rid of that gas.

The mercenary standing over Daphne kicks her with his foot to see if she's alive. It's the last thing he'll ever do. His chest explodes outwards, Sylar's fist slamming through it from the other side, and with a rattled, last gasp of a breath, he's dead. Slowly pushing the mercenary off of his arm, Sylar turns and stands to face the other mercenaries as they all bring their guns on him in unison. Seven hammers are cocked, the sound magnified grossly in the silent room. One foot moves backward to gently nudge Daphne, Sylar turning his head slightly to speak to her, but never taking his eyes off of the mercenaries. "You alive, speedy?"

The kick from the mercenary has rolled Daphne's body over, showing her wide eyes staring blankly at the ceiling of the elevator as she remains splayed out, hands clenched near her chest. A chest mysteriously undamaged. In fact, as she's nudged by Sylar, she doesn't seem to show any sort of injury on her at all.

Then her eyes blink.

In the same span on time, the blonde appears standing next to Sylar, almost like nothing's happened except there's no amusement left on her girlish face, only the wicked creases of agitation— the making's of a real tantrum. Coming out in front of her, the right hand uncurls to display that lone bullet where it's been buried into her palm. A perfect catch. But for her, even catching a bullet is too slow, and she digs finely sculpted nails into the ratted skin of her hand to pry the bullet from its new fleshy sheath. Now clutched between two fingers, she eyes the tiny bit of squashed metal.

To Sylar, "Kicking." Then a third finger gears up behind the once-fired bullet and she flicks it. She flicks it really, really fast.

The bullet blasting its way through another man's forehead seems to kick-start the group back into action. By the time this happens, Daphne is already amongst them, grabbing the shoulder-belt of one man and using it to drag him in a rapid, speedily increasing circle until the tornado of their motion not only allows her to chuck the man three times her size into a row of others but the build-up of air easily disperses the gas as it goes blasting out the newly shattered windows.
Daphne's back up. And they'll have to try harder.

As soon as Daphne kickstarts them back into action, Sylar is on the move forward. He goes running to the nearest guard, bringing a fist back as it begins to glow red, and he launches said fist into the man's face, sending him reeling into one of the nearby cubicles, the only thing left where he was standing being a few jagged pieces of teeth. He very nearly took the man's entire jaw off of his face. Either way, he's down.

He pauses for a moment to watch the whirlwind that is Daphne and the soldier she's currently spinning around, his eyes following it as best as they can until she ultimately sends him flying through the window. Grinning, Sylar reaches out telekinetically and grabs one of the other guards, hoisting him up into the air and spinning him rapidly. As he ducks behind a cubicle wall to avoid the aim of the rest of the mercenaries, one of the free guards runs up to his buddy, trying to jump and pull him back down to earth. "Wilhelm!" he screams, unable to jump high enough. "Hang on, we're gonna get you—"

Down? Not quite. The guard begins to spin faster as his buddy tries to grab him, but it's a futile attempt. The merc goes flying out of the window, punctuated by a short scream that's no longer heard once he's on his way down to the ground. Sylar would love more than anything to go over to the window and watch him fall, but there's more pressing matters at hand.

The mercenaries, watching their others get picked off — cause they're not exactly buddies — operate a bit differently than the well-discliplined military. They break off, every man for himself, and take up positions about the room to do their own business. This makes them both easier to corner and harder to pick off as quickly.

On her side of the room, Daphne and her bright blonde hair have squared off with the skinny twerp and his blinding pink mohawk. Waffling another gas grenade, he puts the egg-shaped weapon near his mouth and gnaws at the pin with his teeth. Since the two have managed to worm their way past several cubicles and away from the immediate sight of the others, Daphne widens her stance and sways teasingly from side to side as she's regarded by this lowlife. "C'mon," is the sound of the taunt, "Throw it. I'll give this one to you. Freebie." Pink Mohawk does his own bit of weight-adjusting, perched as he is on one of the old desks, and then cackles around the pin until, teeth clamping down, he whips the grenade out and over Daphne's head.

Maybe he expected her to run away from the gas, or maybe he was trying to herd her towards him by throwing it overhead. Either way, he's caught with a comical wide-eye when she turns around and books it directly for the projectile. Hand stretched out, she lets the grenade land in her palm then makes a straight beeline right at the mercenary. What he gets off are wild rounds as he attempts to fire too close to himself to make up for her speed. He even peppers his own feet in his panic, blood and pain splattering out as he stumbles off the desk and against the wall with a cry. The moment he does, he's pinned down by a tiny hand on his chest as the speedster rears her hand back, never losing her momentum, and rams the grenade right down his throat. The sheer force of how fast she's going literally tears him a new one through most of his throat and into a ribcage where she finally drops the egg and lets it rattle about against bones and organs. The gas leaks out of his orifices but never makes it to the rest of the room as the body slumps towards the ground, disarming most of what it had counted on.

Slipping the shoulder strap away from him, Daphne arms herself with his machine gun. Semi-automatic, it suits her need for speed. So one can imagine what the room starts to look like when she buzzes by in large circles, trigger depressed continuously.

With Wilhelm traveling back down to Earth, Sylar turns from the window to face the last of the mercenaries. He spots Daphne giving Mohawk his final ride out, and it doesn't look exactly fun for the man. Having a grenade literally shoved down your throat can not be a pleasant thing to experience. Once she's finished, the killer continues to watch as Daphne procures herself a semi-automatic gun, and he already knows what's coming next, which means he better get out of the way. It's such a drag to have to deal with bullet wounds.

Crouching low, the killer moves quickly, covering plenty of ground so he can get to the relative safety of the cubicles. On his way he passes behind a mercenary who's ducked behind his own cubicle, trying to get a bead on Daphne. Skipping his hand into the merc's shoulder belt, Sylar pulls him down to the ground, hard, much ahrder than a normal man would be able to do. The floor cracks under the pressure of the man's head slamming into it, and Sylar is actually surprised the guy is still concious, albeit barely. Weakly trying to push the sociopath away from him, life soon leaves the mercenary as Sylar quickly snaps his neck, shoving the body with his foot into the cubicle directly in front of him. With that mercenary taken care of, he slowly stands up, peeking over the edge of the cubicle wall to see how Daphne is faring.

It's evident that being shot has somewhat dampened the mood of the game for Daphne; her methods have turned to taking down the many rather than enjoying the one kill, necessarily. This is different than downstairs with the mighty grenade explosion. With no thought nor regard for the sake of art, she zips to the edge of the cubicle walls and merely swings her arm once from left to right like she means to begin conducting an orchestra. Tap tap. To attention!

At the highest point of that movement, the semi-automatic gives a rattling shudder and then rolls to its last, empty stop. Every bullet expended in a span of time hardly even long enough to really give any mind to. Unless, in that time, you're one of the ones virtually littered with these projectiles. Bodies resembling swiss cheese sway in the loose wind of the broken windows. One by one, the dead tumble to the floor in whatever limp, tangled form their limbs can manage in the fall. As Sylar stands to get himself a look-see, Daphne notices his movement and glances over to study his face.

There's some distant groan, from a man behind a bullet-ridden wall whose feeling the ache of his armor getting all dented up and bruising his chest but who's alive. At least in this second. Long enough to regret his involuntary noise. If there's any others, they take heed of this mistake and stay silent. Clearly uncaring, Daphne shrugs the heavy weapon off of her and strolls to the main doors, behind which are several overweight, unarmed blobs of grotesque humanity who have, since the windows crashing and Wilheim's shriek of a warning, known what's coming for them.

Raising his hands on either side of him in a mock surrender, Sylar removes himself from behind the cubicle wall, placing himself next to Daphne as he turns his attention to the room around them. Throwing an arm around her shoulder, he nonchalantly gazes around, shaking his head slightly. "Not a bad job if I say so myself," he says, letting his arm fall away as she strolls to the doors. Following her, he puts his ear up to it, the dulcet tones of those behind it making their way through.

"Definitely scared," Sylar murmurs, pulling away from the door to look at it. "You know you're going to win," he continues, turning his eyes back to Daphne. "There's no way I can keep up with your speed. I'll take the door down, and by the time it's hit the floor, you'll have them all gutted." He frowns as if the fact he can't kill everyone in the room by himself upsets him deeply, even if the frown is fake. Even so, he takes a few steps back, hands pointed towards the door, which begins to creak and grind against its supports, slowly expanding inward, toward the room, until it finally goes blasting off of the hinges, flying into the room and slamming into one of the poor saps sitting directly across from the entrance. His scream is muffled by the sound of hard, dull wood slamming into his features, and he crumples to the floor, blood trickling from his head.

"… oops," Sylar says, a mock grimace on his features. "Didn't mean to do that."

"Oh, the sad predictable life of being the fastest girl in the world," Daphne retorts back, raising her hand to give an exaggerated yawn. In the midst of this motion of boredom, she leans casually over and viciously plucks a button from off of Sylar's coat. She spins the stolen article across her knuckles idly through the process of their last obstacle being removed — and then dooring someone in the face. A flash of that childish energy flits across her face as she giggles at the action. Then, newly excited, she preps that button and gives it a similar flick as she did the bullet. Who said something can't be fun twice! The tiny black button becomes as much of a blur as the speedster that sent it before it drives its way through a gasping man's throat. He does some more gasping alright, then some gurgling, and then he rocks backwards with blubbery hands grasping at the hole in him as it spurts a pretty fountain of blood.

There's five more of them, pushing out of their cushy chairs as they scramble to put each other in between themselves and the advancing killers. One is even still slamming a hand desperately down on the intercom button, getting only static and yet praying it will turn into the sound of a thousand fresh soldiers.

Whoosh! Daphne's beside two of them are they fight over an ancient pistol one of them managed to get in here. She bats the weapon out of the way and it skitters across the floor somewhere. Hands encompassing both their heads, she blurs her hands together, smashing their skulls with such force that the two shatter like opposing snow-globes. The resulting flare of brains, guts, and more creates fine smatterings across the floor, desk, and short blonde girl like she's a new piece in a gruesome artshow.

Now there's three little indians.

"Hey—" Sylar begins, once he realizes Daphne has stolen one of his buttons. Buttons are hard to come by today when you're not ripping them off and stealing them from a dead person, homeless person, or, well, just a person. He was never one to discriminate. Either way, the use it's put to is something Sylar can get on board with, so the stealing of the button is forgivable. As Daphne makes her way into the room, already dispatching two of the five left, Sylar saunters his way in, passing the threshold of the doorway and turning to one of the men on his left. "Time for you to vacate the premises," he says, slapping the air with the back of his hand in front of him — in turn, the man goes sailing out of the window, his screams heard allll the way down until finally, nothing.

Turning around with a flourish, coat billowing out behind him, he moves to take out the next of the men, grabbing one and shoving him in Daphne's direction. "Yours," he says, the large man tripping over a desk and landing at Daphne's feet, his eyes riveted to the speedy blonde as a look of terror slowly takes over his features, sweat dripping from his brow. He knows he's about to die, but it doesn't stop him from quivering, whimpering, and trying to beg Daphne to spare him, offering all sorts of rewards. Money, houses, the skyscraper itself, anything and everything he can think of so his own life isn't taken from him.

The final man, Sylar's, begins to back away from the killer, pushing chairs and pieces of furniture out of his way as he continues to back up, his eyes locked to the sociopath advancing on him. "There's nowhere to run," Sylar says, his voice calm and smooth. "You're only delaying the inevitable," he continues, as the man bumps up against the wall, realizing there's no more room left to run. He, too, just like the other, begins to beg, offering all of the world's riches so the two killers will spare their meaningless lives.

That fair whistling noise that accompanies someone dropping a sweet distance to smatter on the ground is nice… if only the fall, itself weren't so boring. Oh well. Here's two m— one more. Having the two victims left divvied up, Daphne sets herself into a nice, hands braced on hips pose to accept any of his bribes or last-minute worshipping. She enjoys this part; it's in her eyes, even if she's schooled her face into something stern and appropriate of a judging deity.

God help her, she's beginning to fight a warm, greedy smile at the sound of all those houses, and their rooms filled with diamonds. Her bright eyes glimmer brighter still, tongue whipping out to lick her lips before she pulls them shut over what would be a huge dumbass grin if she didn't control it. A hand draws up to absently steady the tiara somehow still clinging to the top of her hair.

"I don't know," she starts to call to her partner, "I can sort of see us in this house, drinking the expensive stuff… taking a well-earned vacation…" Almost immediately after, her nose scrunches up. "… On the other hand— naaaah." Reaching behind her back, she whips out the partner knife to the one she left in the man below. Her arm comes up and— suddenly, there's blood gushing from the neck of the man in front of Sylar instead. But Daphne? No, Daphne's standing innocently in front of her own victim, who she gives a proper jab through the middle of the forehead with the weapon.

Once a thief…

"Your call," Sylar says, turning his attention from his soon-to-be-victim to glance over at Daphne. "It isn't like we couldn't always just steal one," he continues, sticking a foot out and placing it on the man's stomach, as he started to try and crawl away— but the next thing Sylar knows, he's gushing blood from his throat, and he quickly looks over to Daphne, whose own man is now falling back to the floor in a graceful arc, arms spread out at his sides, unti he lands with a soft thud on the carpet, eyes open, lifeless. "Hey!" Sylar says, turning and advancing on Daphne. "That's not fair," he says, shaking his head. "I can't cheat, but you can?"

"How is that cheating, I didn't cheat," she insists back, leaning over and planting a high heel in the last dead man's chest in order to yank her knife free. She rubs it along the expensive clothing to clean the blood away and then tucks it where it started, in the back of her belt. "That'd be like if I said we didn't know your guys were dead cause they dropped out the window." A swaying of hips carries her closer even as he also closes the distance. Her hands come up to his chest, hoping to run along the muscles there, the black fabric of his shirt wrinkling under the attention. "Don't be like that…"

Watching as Daphne pulls the knife out of the dead man's chest, he shakes his head in denial as she wipes it off on her expensive clothes. Such a waste of fashion, especially after the trouble they went through to get her the clothes. "You threw a guy out of the window too," Sylar says, remaining stoic and still as Daphne advances on him, looking down at her once she nears, his eyes on her hands as they rest on his chest. "Besides," he continues, eyes moving back to hers as he closes her hands in his own, "there's still one more."

Now that the game's over, it hardly seems to matter. Daphne, anyway, gives a vague shrug as to the rules as she slips up all close to him; her small body is nearly enveloped by the mere dramatic flare of his opened coat. If she's blinking bored eyes at him, it only means she'd like to move on to the next fun thing, the bloodbath that waits in every building still standing in the city. Either uncaring or uncomprehending, her one eyebrow trails down, followed by the other. Lips work lazily and then she smacks them together at him. In a smooth motion, she rolls onto her toes as the only sign of expectation. "What are you talking about, stud, everybody's dead."

Hands still on hers, Sylar keeps an even gaze as he watches the speedy blonde, eyes taking in every detail of her face. After what seems like almost too long of a moment, he blinks, coming back to the world around him, taking in the sight that lays before them in the bloodied, frenzied room. His eyes finally travel back to Daphne's, the look in them most likely all too familiar to Daphne.

"Not everybody." His fingers dig into her hands, gripping them tightly, painfully, as he spreads her arms out to her side, and lets go— but not before blasting her against one of the untouched walls with telekinesis, pinning her against cold, paneled wood as he advances on her. "There's still you. Sorry, but I think your usefulness has run its course. It's been a blast, yes," he continues, shrugging slightly with his hands out at his sides, "but I realized something tonight. That bullet you caught? The one I thought hit you? That was the ticket, right there." Closer and closer he gets, until he's nearly on top of her, leaning forward so he can whisper in her air. "It made me realize you'll only slow me down… kind of ironic, don't you think?" Even Daphne he can't help but taunt. After all, he loves it. "But still," he says, leaning back, reaching out and straightening her clothes, tidying her hair. "You did have some good uses. Cute, perky, always ready to find the next batch to kill." Satisfied with his work, he finally looks up at Daphne, directly in the eye. "Any last requests? Final thoughts?"

Moments that are too long don't hang well with Daphne, and she squirms a bit against his grip even before that tell-tale gaze drops down on her like a sentence. In the two seconds she has to absorb the full scope of being pinned under this look, she experiences her heart thudding wildly against her chest and the instant instinct to run… and then the thought leaps to the forefront: This was going to happen eventually.

"Hey—!" No realization makes it comfortable to be squeezed that tightly, nor orchestrated out into the position she finds herself. For as long as she has the ability, Daphne struggles, winning fleeting moments where their hands move in combined speed, but it only hurries her along to her fate. A hard impact with the wall would earn a noise of protest if it hadn't knocked all the air out of her first. Her shoulders give minute wiggles back and forth, the only sign of her fight to escape besides the absolute anger on her face.

To the sound of his predictable ranting, the expression dilutes to a thin-lipped smirk; she wants to tilt her head to the side, show off a little: he's taken that from her. "Admit it, you're jealous that I'm totally faster than you. You have to, or else it means you'll just be a sad man afterwards with no one who can keep up." What, like he's the only one who can toss a word around? As if.

She makes a pretty picture there, colored up and down with the fresh blood of others but all put together nicely for this last display at top of the human's king piece. The fear has run its course, replaced instantly with the rush of adrenaline she's come to crave like air. There it is; it's the one high she hasn't been able to get in so long while bodies fell too easily around her. She fights it, wills herself to live, and that only makes the drug greater when she knows she can't. There's ecstasy and terror in her wide staring eyes.

"Yeah, come on. Do it already!" Speed freak.

It happens in a flash, a blink of the eye. Sylar becomes a blur, suddenly occupying the spot directly in front of Daphne, a small, but potent display of her own power. "I never told you," he breathes into her ear, his weight pressing her into the wall, "I don't need to kill to get powers. I just need to be close." He pulls his head back slightly, looking at her before pressing his lips to hers in a long, final kiss. She couldn't resist even if she wanted to— but he knows her. She won't.

Breaking the kiss, he pulls away, meeting her eyes as he slowly pushes himself off of the wall. "The killing? That's just for fun. The kiss? That's just for you." He pushes himself away fully, taking a few steps back and buttoning up his trenchcoat. He's drawing this out as long as he can— he knows how bad she wants him to end it, to do it fast— always the speed freak.

He's had a good run with her, but all good things must come to an end. "It really was fun, you know," he says, the last button of his coat slipping into place. Raising his left hand in front of him, examining his nails, he finally turns his eyes back to her, fingers curling inward. "I would say this is the part where you start screaming… but no one would hear you anyway."

The display has its effect, the kiss too — a hitch in her breath, that irresistible race of the heart pounding away every agonizingly long second it has to without movement, without freedom, or without resolution to the building anticipation. Speed defines her in ways it never will him, power or not.
Suffering in that forced position through his entire procedure, it finally comes down to that moment. Six count… five… four…

"You missed a button."

Three… two…

The One.

She does scream, after all, as the slice of absolute precision begins to carve its way through flesh and bone. It's a short shriek, raw and high-pitched, that breaks off into a wreck of sobs as the blood sinks away from the original cut down her face, against her hair, and towards all the other blood she split on herself that night. As pale skin fully parts away from a brain whose original damage caused the desires that led her to this moment, the tiny speedster's last sob is actually a sharp exhaling laugh. Then the features freeze. Such an expressive face has nothing left.

There's no more moves. The girl who could run really, really fast has gone still.

But all is not quiet. A large man in layers of protective armor who thought five minutes ago that his reactive groan would be his undoing was left breathing in the other room somehow by two killers in a rush for their prize. Through the massacre he stood, poised at the doorway that Sylar destroyed, the bulky weapon on his shoulder waiting for the perfect moment of distraction. The death of Daphne gave him it. One Moment. The trigger pulls, releasing a high caliber bullet at the back of the head of a man who's just decided to be speedy.

Its success or failure means less than the sum of the fact that there was anyone left to fire a weapon at all: no one else could be alive. The last blow negated.

Game over.

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