2007-10-11: One Time Too Many

Starring:

Mara_icon.gif Nova_icon.gif Sylar_icon.gif

Summary: He's been teased one time too many.

Date It Happened: October 11, 2007

One Time Too Many


Level Five

In the timeless space that is the Level Five dungeon, as it were, two women walk down the hallway. They're not making the rounds, it seems, moving at a brisk pace - or at least, Nova is moving at a brisk pace, content to not linger down here longer than necessary, and considering the fact that she's leading the way, Mara will just have to settle for the other woman's long strides and keep up. Nova's dressed professionally, hair tied back in a severe, low ponytail, and her jacket disguises the ever-present firearm. Visible at her hairline is a healing bruise and cut, because you don't get thrown down a hallway twice a week or so ago and go unscathed. As they turn the corner to approach the cell of Gabriel Gray, Nova mutters to Mara, speaking to her for the first time they entered this level, "Make this quick."

Mara's exchanged her taser for her sidearm again, though it's tucked inside her jacket. She's not used to being the shorter woman, but she doesn't have much difficulty keeping up with Agent Armstrong's pace. She's just as eager to do this, but for different reasons. "Thanks for coming down here with me. I can't explain it. It's just this… feeling I have in my gut. She stops just before she'd be able to see into the cell she came here to monitor, stretching her arms out to either side of her and flexing her fingers restlessly. "Something's wrong. Everything feels weird. My ability— " She shakes it off and stuffs her hands into the pockets of her blazer, striding forward those last few steps. "I'll feel better once I see him."

The moment they turn and look into his cell, things will turn very, very bad.

Sylar is nowhere to be seen. In his place is the body of an older man, his graying hair receding from his forehead.. or what used to be his forehead. The top half of his skull is lying near the glass, turned upside down like a bowl, and the rest of his body is lying just to the side of the table Sylar once occupied, his face wearing an expression of terror and pain. His left is gripping one of the wrist restraints, suggesting that he was untying it just before the moment of his death.

It's none other than Jacob, the head of the Company. The moment the rest of the Company finds out, it will all make sense. Marilou's death. Kellie. Sylar. The attack. The villains escaping. All planned by this man, a traitor, one with his own agenda for the world. His agenda will never be known now, with his untimely death. It seems, however, in this stage of his plan, Sylar turned on him. Killed him.

His brain has been tossed carelessly to the side of the room, near the corner. Upon further inspection, one will see that the door to the cell is just barely open, giving the impression that it's closed.

It's far from closed, however. Sylar has escaped.

Click.

As soon as Nova sees that everything is not alright in the world, gaze switching from Damaris and towards the cell window they have just approached, her gun is in hand, safety off. Only then does she take in details - the identity of the corpse, the nature of his murder, and perhaps in some ways, even more disturbing, the slight parting of the door. After a look around the immediate space with wide eyes, Nova's other hand travels to the pocket of her jacket, where a cellphone is kept, as she almost instinctively backs up from the cell. For all her years of working with the Company, she's frozen in indecision.

Mara backs away from the cell quickly, staring in shock at the horror of the scene they've just uncovered. "I should have questioned Kellie myself," she murmurs in disbelief. She turns her head sharply. "Kellie." And she takes off further down the hall toward the pyrokinetic's cell.

"Ah ah ah." His voice echoes throughout the hallway, the source undeterminable. "Not so fast, detective…" There's the sound of swooshing air, and Mara will find herself suddenly thrown against the glass pane to Sylar's cell, slamming against her back hard. The villains who haven't escaped from this portion of level five begin to rile up, pounding their hands on the glass and screaming things at Mara, insults, slurs, and generally Not Nice Things.

"Damaris!" Nova yells after her, suddenly jolted back to life by the other woman's movement. In no way can they split up, as she takes out her cellphone, taking after the detective— but that doesn't last for long, Nova flinching away as the other agent is suddenly slammed back, thrown past her. Wildly, Nova points her gun towards the opposite direction, but resists firing at what she can't see, the weapon twitching this way and that. The yells of the other inmates are fairly distracting, their movements drawing her attention. Fuckit. She flips her cellphone open, pressing a button. They needed cavalry ten seconds ago.

Mara skids to a halt when she hears that voice. Just in time to be thrown against the glass of the cell. Her legs kick out futily and she lets out a grunt of pain and surprise. "Armstrong! Call back up! Call Bennet!" Not Bishop. She trusts Bennet, and only Noah Bennet. Her chest heaves as her eyes search wildly for the man's form. Where is he?!

"Bennet can't help you," Sylar says, his voice ringing and echoing weirdly throughout the hallway. It's near impossible to determine where exactly he is, but he's definitely somewhere close. Nova seems to go ignored by the killer, wherever he may be— all his attention seems focused on the detective. It's soon revealed why. She'll find herself moving away from the glass, hovering towards the middle of the small hallway in front of the cells— only to find herself slammed up against it once again. The motion repeats, one, two, three times, Sylar slamming her repeatedly into the glass. Enough to cause pain, but not enough to knock her out. He wants her alive when he begins to kill her.

Nova slinks back as the man's voice rings out a second time, her back connecting with a wall as Damaris is toyed with. She stays in the vicinity, close, but out of the way. As long as he's playing, he's not leaving, though her wide eyes watch Mara all the while. Fingers finding the right buttons, she raises her cellphone to her ear, gun still in hand as she murmurs, "Situation on Level Five, Gray has escaped, send back up and prepare to lock this place down."

With each slam, Mara shrieks. It's a repeat of an ordeal she already lived through once and thought she'd only experience again in her nightmares. "Armstrong," Agent Damaris cries desperately, "do something!" One of her high heels is kicked off in the struggle to free herself from the invisible force, but she's stuck just as fast as ever. "Help!"

With each slam, Sylar's laughter grows louder and louder, bouncing off of the walls and seeming to surround the detective and agent from all directions, making the job of pinpointing the killer extremely difficult. His location is soon revealed, however, when Nova will find her gun shooting out of her hands, and suddenly stop in mid-air. From around the gun Sylar's hand is revealed, which soons turns into the rest of him— he's standing no more than ten feet away from them, his left hand holding Nova's gun, his right hand holding Mara against the glass, each slam represented by a small flick of the wrist.

Then, as suddenly as it began, it stops.

Mara will find herself dropped to the floor, a confused look crossing Sylar's face as his eyes snap to his hand. "What— ?" he begins, eyes darting around, and the reason for his sudden lack of abilities is soon revealed: the Haitian. He stands just inside the doorway, head tilted down slightly as he looks at Sylar, his silent presence a welcome break for Nova and Mara, surely.

Hello, Haitian, remind me to buy you a beer sometime. If you drink. Nova spares a glance the man's way, and is already in motion, prepared to use Sylar's surprise to whatever advantage she has. Right now, she wants her bloody gun back, her fingers still stinging from when it was whipped out of her hand. 6'2" worth of Agent barrels against Sylar, her hands reach to twist the gun out of his hands.

From the floor, Mara groans, pushing herself up onto her hands and knees. She nods a weak thanks to the Haitian before reaching for her own gun. She drops flat to the cold, hard flooring to steady her arms, gripping the gun with both hands. She can't take the shot just yet. Not while Nova's in the way.

The killer's eyes turn back towards Nova and Mara, a look of murderous rage on his face. He moves to bring the gun up and point it at them, but the next thing he knows the Agent is /right there,/ wrestling with him for the gun. He grunts, tightening his grip on the piece of metal, and does his best to wrench it away from Nova's hands. He doesn't do a very good job of it, considering she's still holding on, but at least he hasn't lost the gun completely. He notices Mara past Nova, a gun pointed in his direction, and the killer makes /sure/ that Nova remains in the line of fire. Hopefully he can keep her that way.

Sylar is tall, but Nova is taller, and probably makes an adequate meat shield. Not much she can do about that in the immediate future, but… She nearly growls when she can't immediately wrench the weapon free from the murderer, but she makes sure it's pointed down towards the cement floor. She does, however, spare a glance over her shoulder, perhaps to bark yet another order in Mara's direction - but the woman has the right idea. With a grunt, she brings a hand up and executes a backhanded, fisted blow across the man's face, unwilling to get out of the way without at least stunning him.

"Dammit, Wonder Woman! Would you move?!" Freakin' amazon. Mara watches Nova deliver the backhand and waits, adjusting her aim for movement. She spares the briefest glance to the Haitian, making sure he isn't about to show up in her line of sight, too.

When the blow strikes, Sylar's head snaps to the left, a large, ugly red mark appearing on his face. It's going to start bruising soon. In retaliation, Sylar brings his own hand up, making sure to keep a grip on the gun still, and slams it down across Nova's face. Hard. His eyes keep darting back and forth between the two women, not daring to move or let go of that gun as he struggles to keep Nova in place.

The dual blows are traded almost in the time it takes to blink, Nova's own head snapping back when she's hit with a guttural grunt of pain. The gun is promptly released as she allows herself to go with the momentum, staggering back without grace - but out of the way all the same, a hand reaching out and catching herself against the wall. This is all going to end quickly, one way or another - so let's hope Mara's fast.

Bingo. Mara grins slowly when Nova stumbles out of the way and she has her shot. But she hesitates. The trained NYPD detective is screaming to take the shot. But the Agent is too wired to consider the target's abilities, negated though they may be. Only when she realizes that she's not feeling that uncomfortable thrum of… whatever it is that her ability forces her to feel - that's when she takes her shot.

Winner. Sylar takes his gun, the one that Nova failed to acquire, and begins to twist it around in his hand as Mara points her own gun at him. He jumps to the left, well, dives to the left is more like it, and lands on the floor with a soft thud, an "oof!" escaping his lips. Luckily, the shot misses due to Mara's split second of hesitation, and Sylar aims his gun in her direction, firing off a round of his own, despite his aim being shaky from his sudden landing.

Nova instinctively ducks as the sound of guns rings off the walls. Is someone bleeding yet? Please let someone be bleeding. With Sylar firing off with her gun (goddamnit) and Mara shooting right back, Nova stays where she is, praying that there be cavalry following the Haitian, whose quiet presence still isn't missed on her. She freezes, for now, ready to leap out of the way should the escapee attempt to open fire on her, or for an opening in which she can be useful again.

Mara calls out in surprise when she sees the gun turn on her. She scrambles away just in time for the bullet to go whizzing past her head, taking a few strands of hair off in the process. She growls and takes another shot, this one far more haphazard than the first.

As soon as his round is fired off, Sylar scrambles across the floor, aiming to get to the other side of the small hallway and squeeze off a bullet from there. Another gunshot rings out from Mara again— however, Sylar has no need to dodge it. The bullet goes astray, very astray, and slams into the one thing it needs not slam into: the Haitian. It sinks deep into the Haitian's right shoulder, causing him to stumble back and slam up against the corner of a nearby wall. He slides down, eyes slipping shut as he loses consciousness.

The effect is almost instantaneous. The killer has his powers back. He stands up from the ground, quickly, his left hand moving in an arcing motion as he does. From it erupts a massive, jagged line of electricity, which quickly forms into a ball of lightning. There's a sharp shove with his hand, and the ball of lightning goes flying directly at Nova.

Snapping his eyes to Mara, the killer smiles, his voice soft and low when he speaks. "Hello, detective." He raises his hand, and Mara will find herself lifting up off of the ground as well. There's a flick of the hand, and the detective slams up against the glass of a nearby cell. The villain inside goes crazy, pounding and slamming the glass with his fists and yelling things in an unintelligible language.

Nova actually lets out a sound when the Haitian goes down, a gasp, as if she were the one who got a bullet shot through her shoulder, her gaze tracking the man's progression as he goes down. Then, her eyes go to Sylar, as the flash of electricity briefly lights up the dim corridor. Nova is already moving towards him. What will she do when she gets there? He has a gun. He has superpowers. But no one ever said Nova was the brightest spark in the Company and she's planning to do what she always does. Hit something.

But the electricity rockets out of Sylar's hand and hits her midsection, sending the tall woman flying back and into a wall, where she lands on the ground in an unceremonious pile. Her eyes flicker, dazed, before sliding shut, and she stays down with a soft groan, and twitch or two.

Mara's eyes go wide when she realizes her shot's missed. She recognizes it immediately - her bones ache from the energy that fills her from her surroundings. The Haitian is down. And that means the bogeyman is back on top. By the time her brain puts all the pieces together and she tries to scramble away, it's already too late. She doesn't even have the chance to yell before she's slammed against the glass again. And again. And again. There's no screaming, but the woman is terrified and her mouth works like she'd like to sob, but each crash knocks the breath from her lungs, leaving her unable to find enough air for sound.

A pace or two from Nova's fallen form, her cellphone has skittered away, still open. It sudden lights up with life, but no ring tone, just the tinny sound of a man's voice saying, "Agents dispatched for Gray's wing. Confirm Gray's position, Armstrong?" Obviously, no reply from the near-unconscious Australian.

A grin creeps across the killer's face as he closes the distance between them, his hand falling to his side as he walks up to Mara. "You never could let me be, could you," he says, tilting his head to the side. "One time too many, detective." He slowly raises his right hand, index finger pointing straight at the woman's skull. It's at this moment Nova's cell phone lights up, the voice in the phone falling on Sylar's ears, superhuman hearing amplifying the tiny cell phone speaker. He begins to drag his finger across Mara's skull, cutting deep into the skin and through the bone, blood spilling over her right eye— he stops, head snapping to the right, his eyes falling on the stairs. Agents. Very, very close. Mara is dropped to the floor, and Sylar disappears an instant later. "Detective," he says, a whisper from nowhere, and Sylar is gone. Invisibility has its uses.

Moments later, three Agents burst into the hallway, guns trained on Mara and Nova, Sylar having bypassed them at some point on the stairs.

One time too many.

Mara's mouth opens in a soundless cry of distress as his hand lifts to point at her forehead. No matter how many times the woman's told herself she'd never scream, some instincts simply cannot be quelled. As the line begins to cut across her skin and through bone, the shrill shriek tears from her throat. It doesn't stop until she's dropped on the floor. A whimper takes its place as that whispered farewell meets her ears.

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