2010-02-11: Mountaineer To Boy Scout (Phantasm)



Posting Date: February 11, 2010


Jo hunts a man whose power was grossly underestimated.

"Mountaineer To Boy Scout"

Sloane Arms Apartment

The Moonlight Sonata. Aaron can't think of any song he likes better. There's just something peacefully moody about the piece, something that resonates with him deep in his very soul. He quirks a half-smile, thankful that at least one of the apartments had a piano in it, not that it would have taken much to bring one with him. It just would not have been particularly covert.

Long bands of moonlight stream into the otherwise mostly empty apartment, stretching the shadow of him at the piano, the right side of his face to the window, his left entirely obscured by shadow. He's not alone. Two men sit on the only other piece of furniture in the room: a long, ratty couch. It's a very strange complement to the room's decor. It's almost as though it had been made just for Aaron Michaels.

"Sir!", cries a voice from the hall, as another man runs in. "It's Avery, sir. He's found him. He's on the fourteenth floor. Room fourteen-oh-seven."

"Good," Aaron replies, his fingers leaving the keys. The music continues to play, an unseen force gracing the keys as gently and naturally as his own fingers had moments before. He stands from the piano bench as the two men on the couch leave Aaron alone with the man who delivered the message that finally, his target has been found.

"They're also here," the scout says, "They're near the main stairwell."

"Let them come," Aaron says, straightening his black canvas duster and retrieving a katana that had been embedded in the hardwood flooring of the apartment, invisible under his duster as he sat at the piano bench.

Good hunters always catch their man. Tonight, it's imperative that they do so.

Nearly silent, the black-clad men enter the stairwell 2 X 2, following the command of their leader — the sole woman in the group who works at the head. Concealed by the cover of darkness, the large team of twenty (with more waiting in the wings) trudges up the stairs slowly, nearly silent. The green-y reflection from their night-vision goggles is clear, although the near-dark can only help them with camouflage.

No one dares speak. No one dares utter a sound or make a noise. They're trained for this, for their silence. But they wait in stillness, their leader insisting upon it. They'd be sworn up and down that they would listen.

"Why a sword, sir?"

"I always liked fencing in high school. He did, too. It's rather fitting," Aaron says in response to the scout's query. He moves towards the window and places a hand on the wall next to it, as though it fascinates him. He closes his eyes and takes in a breath of air, and then turns back to the scout. "You know, it's rather interesting how many ways you can kill a person. Or try to kill a person. Take for instance Sheri, Donovan, or Blake. Bullets are easy to deflect; poison, gas, electricity. Not so much." He turns, his hand still on the window. "Of course, when all of that failed, you turned on me." The statement makes the scout gasp, and he backs up towards the hallway, only to be pulled back in by a giant, invisible hand of telekinetic energy, strung up in the air as though he weighed nothing. "I knew it wasn't them, and I thankfully didn't kill them. I wanted you to show your true colours, but I clearly misjudged you. You're little more than a coward."

The room trembles slight as the entire building creaks, Aaron's hand flexing against the wall. His voice seems to reverberate through every molecule of the building, turning it into a resonating and partially distorted sound emanated from every crack and crevice in the building. "Even now, the authorities are heading up the main stairwell to try and kill me. And you brought them here," his voice seems clear in the room he's in, but everywhere else, the sounds in the nearly empty apartment can be heard as well, though distorted. Those in the stairwell might be surprised to hear his voice coming from the walls, or that he knows they're there. "Now you die." The scout makes it through the doorway… as a smear on the wall opposite. Aaron raises the katana towards the ceiling. "Ladies and gentleman: I am here for one purpose and one alone. If you leave, you might not die today. If you stay…. I make no promises."

So much for their surprise entrance. Making a motion to her men, Jo takes a deep breath. Each in turn moves into the room, rapidly firing their darts in Aaron's direction. All they need is one to hit him; one to debilitate his power; one to take him down. One. What are the chances?

None of the men defect, in fact, quite the opposite. They pile into the room, two by two, firing, their leader at the front of it all. Unlike her men, she is obviously a woman underneath all of her armour, flack jacket, and weapons; her build is too small to belong to a military man. She holds two guns, one with darts, the other bullets. Does she care at this moment? Absolutely not.

Nor does Aaron, apparently. Every single dart stops in mid air, suspended for the time being. Apparently, he was more than aware of their entrance. Aaron lowers the katana and takes his hand off the wall. His duster flaps in the absence of wind, drifting along slightly as he lifts up off the ground, turning the shadowed side of his face towards them. The entire left side of his face is marred by burn scars, and although their nightvision does not show it, his iris has gone red. It's blind, and yet he sees them perfectly because he can feel the kinetic energy around him. It's how he felt them coming. Not that they're privvy to that little fact. "Now on the one hand, I could turn your weapons on you, or on the other hand I could just let you live. This is not your fight, it's mine. I set out tonight to kill one man. You can have me after if you really like, provided there's anything left to take."

The entire building trembles, the sound of the steel girders that make up the building's skeleton can be heard creaking. "You'll have to excuse me: I'm wanted on another floor." The ceiling above him shatters, leading a plume of smoke out and around him as he travels through the hole it made. From the debris falling, it would appear he's travelled up at least another four floors. Loud, destructive sounds echo out as the fourteenth floor gets a substantial remodelling. Once Jo and her team arrive on the fourteenth floor, they'll notice that the hallway only leads to one place: A giant wall of rubble.

Everything has come full circle. Aaron walks along the other side of the debris, what's left of all rooms but 1407. He steps up to the door thusly numbered. There's no pretense of gestures, the door simply crumbles into sawdust flying into the apartment. When he enters, katan in hand, he speaks in the same tone of voice he was greeted with one year prior, January 16th. "Hello, old friend. Remember me? You burned down my show, and me, destroyed my life, and then to boot, tried — half-assed — kill me. Oh, that was really rich your failed attempt. I assure you, I will be more effective than you ever could be. You want to know why?" He leans forward as flames begin to spread around the room, the tenant apparently attempting to defend himself. Flames flicker in Aaron's lifeless, dead eye, the other one reflecting the orange of the flame. "I have passion."

"Move people!" Jo commands loudly as Aaron disappears. "Don't lose the target!" the team is sent back into the stairwell 2 X 2, running up to the fourteenth floor with their leader in the front. "Dammit!" she curses at the debris. "You need to get that out of the way! Come on! Move it!" Coolly the army men work in pairs to clear the debris, but it's not that simple; it's a heavy and slow moving task; fortunately there are ten pairs of them working in tandem; ten pairs to find their leader a way into the room, but it's not fast enough. The target will be long gone by the time they get the door open. Or it might be, anyways. "I need bigger guns — something to blow open some debris —" she demands into her radio.

Moments later another black clad man returns with some charges, "Agent Scott, your request…" The charges are set up and the men are cleared. With a loud bang, some of the rubble is cleared, broken into small pieces. "AGAIN," she demands angrily. "I want to know what's going on inside that room!"

That room. It's quite a sight, what can be seen through the hole in the rubble. One apartment. All others make up the wall of debris. There's a draft. Apparently the windows were destroyed when the rest of the floor was demolished, which suggests the man responsible wasn't particularly careful in making the barrier.

In the apartment, Aaron's opponent doesn't make a sound, at least not with his mouth. The only sounds are those of fire burning, though all the fire the man can muster up is just deflected. Furniture catches on fire. The pyro's attempts at lighting up the room as much as possible makes the fire visible in the hall as the plaster outside of the room ignites, as does the carpet of the hall.

"Is that the best you can do?" Aaron asks, walking along, katana swaying back and forth as he moves protected in his bubble of telekinetic energy. More fire from his opponent is about the only thing he gets in response as the flames go so far as to creep all the way up to the debris blocking access, making it even harder to get to the apartment in question.

"I want in!" Jo demands again to her men, yet they have to back up as the plaster ignites. "Dammit," she murmurs. The fire encases her crew. They are essentially trapped on all sides. They back up from the fiery walls and consuming flames, moving to the centre of the room. Some unsuccessfully try, but their efforts are in vain. Their are too many of them and not enough hallway to escape to. The marine's fingers move to her radio as she gets down low (something all of her men do) to avoid inhaling the smoke, "Mayday, Mayday! Mountaineer to Boy Scout. Come in boy scout! We're stuck on the fourteenth floor. I repeat stuck on the fourteenth floor and being cornered by fire… we need help! Immediately! Call the fire department…"

The marines don't even need to get in contact with Vaughn. There's a sudden chill in the air as frost creeps along the walls. Two specials have managed to sneak up on the marines— not hard to do in all the smoke and fire. It's just a kid, from the looks of it, no older than 17, his hand on the wall. The man behind him, however…. well, he's huge. Six-foot-six and at least 350 pounds of pure muscle stalks up the stairs. The red glow of the fire through the smoke is all he needs, and he pushes straight past the marines — pushing them out of the way of necessary. He stands very still in front of the holey barrier, pulls his arms back and thrusts them at the wall of debris, which crumbles to the ground, a lot of it squelching the flames.

It's around that time that the man Aaron was after runs into the hallway side bleeding from a deep stab wound. He runs through the flames as though it were not there, and the man in the black duster, a red scarf tied around his neck, comes out not long after. The fire shifts around him, forced so by the protective bubble around him. The hallway is light thanks to the fire and the smoke parts at his very will, revealing the team and two of his own men.

"I am disappointed," his voice echoes off the walls, the vibration of the sound waves he emits replicated on the walls with his vast telekinetic abilities. Vastly underestimated ability. "Betrayed at every turn." On each of the last words, the two traitors die. First the cryokinetic becomes little more than an icy smear on the wall behind the marines, and then the large guy is torn apart, skeleton going one way, husk going the other.

"What the —?" Is the tall man trying to kill Aaron too?! Four powered people. Four powered people and one intended target. How is she supposed to operate?! Several of the marines are bulldozed into the fire as the tall man pushes them away.

She murmurs to her men, "Stay on target." And as Aaron takes care of those that betrayed him, Jo springs into action, lifting her two guns and levelling them directly at Aaron: her intended target — once again with a dart gun and a real handgun. Her team follows suit. They have no choice; they need to try to take down their target, regardless of the circumstance.

The man limping through the fire with a stab-wound in the side rubs a hand through his short brown hair, only to have head and hand skewed off in a flash of silver. The katana comes back to Aaron before the hand and head hit the ground, the body following suit shortly after. Three specials neutralized in under 30 seconds. If only Aaron were so easy to take down. He walks through the fire, his protective bubble brushing licks of flame aside. "If you want me, you'll have to dig me out."

"You intend to go down with the building, Mr. Michaels?" Jo quirks as she signals her men to advance. They are all going to pursue their target. All at once — a remaining sixteen marines. Jo herself trudges towards the target, gun still in hand. They were supposed to have the element of surprise. That didn't happen. Now the plan has been screwed. There is little that they can do but advance.

"Something like that," Aaron says. He drops the katana on the ground and the flooring cracks. The entire building trembles, the sound of the girders creaking, bending, and breaking. How do they know their breaking? Giant spikes of broken I-beams come through the floor and the walls, pieces of concrete crash down from the ceiling even as the flooring starts to give way. In all of it, Aaron's face remains stoic until he asks them: "Any last words, Mountaineer?"

Jo and her team remain relatively level-headed, even in the face of dying. They knew what they were signing up for when they took on this task. Instead they get low and brace for impact. It's unlikely any of them will live. And so Mountaineer spits what will likely be the last she'll utter:

"I'll see you in hell."

The sound of Sloane Arms Apartments hitting the ground was heard all over the neighbourhood. It's not every day a building crumbles to the ground in what could only be described as a controlled demolition. What was once a rather lovely, twenty-eight storey apartment building now lay in ruins, virtually a crater in the middle of the neighbourhood, though little more than a blemish in the grand scheme of things. Some people even thought they heard screams.

"God, I hope nobody was in there," one onlooker says to a man in a black canvass duster.

"If there were… God rest their souls."

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