2007-08-31: DF: Operation: Rescue Delphi


DFElena_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif DFPortia_icon.gif Eric_icon.gif DFDesiree_icon.gif

Summary: A group of Saints and one invisible girl hit Alaska to retrieve a certain psychic from the clutches of Nathan Petrelli's government. Not everything goes according to plan.

Dark Future Date: August 31st, 2009

Operation: Rescue Delphi

It's alright
It's okay
It's alright
It's okay
And I love you
Night and day
It's alright
It's okay

Times will be hard
But we'll get through
Times will be hard
But we'll get through
And I love you
Night and day
It's alright
It's okay

This house may fall
But not on you
This house may fall
But not on you
And I love you
Night and day
It's alright
It's okay

— Desiree's Lullaby

Unnamed Research Facility, Middle of Nowhere, Alaska

Middle of nowhere, Alaska.

The drab building on the small uprising of tundra earth is a dark, square shadow on the horizon, completely unremarkable against the beautiful backdrop behind it. The aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, flicker and wave greens and blues in the dark, otherworldly. Slowly, a satellite on the roof of the building swivels. All is quiet.

"Make it stop… make it stop… make it stop… make it stop… s'too fast…" The captive psychic is curled up into a tight, stiff ball in the corner, inside the building in what has been dubbed the Oracle Chamber. The colourful chaos of the walls has been bled dry by the lack of light, but her eyes have long since adjusted to the dark. Her forearms arms, thin and sinewy, press against her forehead and obscure her face (or more likely, hide her eyes), shuddering, as she rocks forward and back, forward and back.

Their information better be solid.

She lets her father drive. It's been a few days since she and her father, and a group of Dittos, have left New York to pursue the only lead they have on the psychic. Upon getting to Alaska however, they didn't go right away to the facility - even if it took some doing to get her father to keep from leaping towards the location right away. They rented a warehouse around the area to prepare, loading up weapons, synching comm gear, and acquiring special winter ops clothing thanks to the investments Eric made overseas with some weapons development firms. They even spray-painted the vehicles to match their surroundings - white, black, and gray.

When they're finally ready to go, she lets her father drive. Headlights are off. It is dark. Elena's wearing her thermal gear, goggles perched on her head. Her pistols, some grenades - she manages to keep her weapons load-out light. Not like she needs it if she really keeps going, but today, she can't fry her circuits. She doesn't want to die, after all. But she'll do what's necessary.

Once they're in range, Elena fires out her ping ability, trying to home in on neurotransmitters that could be present at the base. How many people were inside? Granted her father could probably do it himself, but he was driving, and she'd like to get a bead on what to expect before they actually get there.

Ramon keeps a tight lock on himself. He's grateful that Elena is there to do this, because if he does a sweep and picks up on her fear, her pain, her hurt…things he's sure will be there—he'll lose it right then and there. He's grim, silent, radiating fury and fear as he clutches at the steering wheel. He is the driver right now. He is content to let his daughter lead, because she is actually better at this than he is. He trusts her to guide him in and bring Dezi home. Once he was very good at this, but 2 years has whittled away the capability. He just wants Dezi alive. He'd follow anyone's orders, and to the letter, to bring her back.

Whenever Ramon picks a place to stop, Elena looks over at him. "There are thirty people inside the building," she tells him, taking a digital photograph of the facility and pulling it into a PDA. She starts marking the image with a pointer, to mark down the locations of the neurotransmitters she had detected so they could get an estimate as to which locations are less occupied, and which ones are. "The heaviest concentrations are here, here, here, and here. There's an isolated signal here." She taps it on the image. "Whoever it is, the person's alone. Could be the boss, or it could be Dezi. I say we start a breach in the less occupied areas and start our search from there." This would've been easier with Gene. But this was a family affair.

"Alright," Ramon says, picking up a gun and loading it. Lock and load. Lock and load. "Do you want to go in shooting, or do you want me to try to mindwarp anyone we meet into believing we belong there, with the guns as a backup in case I fuck up, or someone has something that counteracts what I do?"

At first glance, the building looks abandoned— until one notices the small, narrow windows, only two viewable from this angle, that give off a dim glow. There appear to be no guards, but the main doors certainly look heavy. The air is crisp. Every now and then, the American flag posted high out front comes to life and snaps sharply in a breeze. It doesn't look like the kind of place that would be harbouring a psychic, but then, where does?


The least occupied area happens to be in the basement. "No, no, no, no." Desiree sways to and fro, tangling her hands together, squeezing. They only tremble harder. She claws at the side of her neck instead, scratching the paling skin raw. On the opposite side is the puncture wound from the sedatives she was administered.

"I think that'll be best. I don't want to go in hot unless we have to." It was the same as when they grabbed Cass. When it came to the people she loved, Elena wasn't one to go in with guns blazing. The Saints might have earned a reputation for being bloodthirsty, but when it came to rather sensitive rescues, they tended to go in more subtley. After all, they have enough resources at their disposal, including the broad array of abilities their members have. "All of us, you, me, and the Ditts." She checks her pistol, and she stows it in her holster, but she doesn't get out of the vehicle just yet and taking a deep breath of the crisp air. "Attempt it, see if it takes. Then we move in."

Ramon closes his eyes and starts feeling out the minds, starts feeling out the triggers he might have to mess with to make them just…not be very interesting. He tries, one by one, to plant the subconscious thought process that anyone they see out of the ordinary today is just…supposed to be there. And is somebody else's problem. This may take him a long time, quite a bit of time, as he's going to have to go into each individual mind for this. 'Blanketing', his term for just roughly mindfucking everyone he can find, is not smart here.


From the outside, there's no way of knowing if Ramon's attempts worked, save for the man's mental searching. A few of the individuals inside aren't even awake, or conscious. Most of them are. Scientists. Lab technicians. Guards. Ex-military personnel. Government?…

This could go really badly or really well, but Elena trusts her father's abilities. Still, better be careful. "We'll split into two groups just in case. I'll go through the front. You go this way," his daughter murmurs, tapping into the area that's least occupied. "If my team comes in without a hitch, I'll let you through that side no problem. If not….you'll hear it." Because then there'll be shooting. Plus if it doesn't work, she can blast people unconscious within a 20-feet radius. She nods to a few, armed dittos, taking about five of them and leaving her father the rest. "Let me know through the comms if you're in position, and then I'll start trying the front door."

"Ten four," Ramon murmurs, and he…slips off. In the direction she offered him. He doesn't know if he's getting some dittos or just going solo. He doesn't care. He risks looking for her. For one mind in particular. *Desiree,* he whispers. He wants her to know he came. If he dies, he wants her to know…he never stopped looking. He came for her. Even if he doesn't succeed, he wants her to know.

There is a back entrance, through a parking structure that contains vehicles suited to traversing the tundra. Its garage door seems awfully impenetrable. A weather-battered keypad is situated to its right.

In the Oracle Chamber, Desiree gives a start, her arms and legs going wild, scrambling to stay sitting upright. Her eyes go wide, roving every which way like a spooked horse. "Ramon…" she says out loud in a hoarse whisper, then presses her palms against her head. Her thoughts are tangled, broken. *…Ramon?! … shouldn't be… oh, God, Ramon … basement.*

Elena watches her father go, and then she moves on with her team. Her troop of six (including her) walks up to the front door. She trusts her father to update her through the comms, but she'll move forward now. Her hands are free, and she homes in on the nearest neurotransmitters just in case, marking them in her head in case she needs to blast them into submission. So she goes, up towards the front door, and buzzes in. She waits for a response, narrowing her eyes just a bit. Her body is tight, tense, but not boosted yet. She forces herself to relax. This isn't the first time she's played bait or distraction, should she have to. And whenever anyone responds, she'll say that it's one of the facility's perimeter patrols, checking in after their rounds.

*I'm coming,* he rasps into her mind. *I'm coming. Hold on. I never stopped looking. I can't keep talking though, I have to get to you.*

He edges through the route that Elena has plotted out for him, trying to find where it actually puts him into the facility. If he ends up staring at a standard lock himself, well, he will cross that bridge when he comes to it.

Static crackles in response to the buzzer and a distant voice breaks through: "All clear?" the man on the other end says unsuspectingly. "Then what're you waiting for?" The door Elena has approached requires a good old-fashioned key. There's no one beyond the door within at least twenty feet.

The door to the garage, however, which leads in the back way that Ramon has found thanks to Elena? Takes a simple punching of a well-guarded code of numbers. Well-guarded, that is, except from telepaths.

"All clear. Nothing but the wolves," Elena says. The old fashioned key? She nods to a Ditto, who essentially leans forward to pick the lock while another ditto moves in place to block the view from the cameras casually. While the young woman has accumulated a lot of skills over the years, lockpicking wasn't one of them. Thanks to Prime's connection with his super-thief counterpart, the ditto will be able to pull it off. Once the lock is disengaged, she removes the lock and opens the door, and strides inside. ~Moving in, Papa~ she transmits mind-to-mind. ~No sign of trouble, yet.~ That might change later, but she's ready to take people down if necessary. Her eyes roam around to look at where she is, and where the nearest people are.

God he loves being a telepath sometimes. *Same,* he grunts, as he punches in the code. God. Both his daughters are here. He starts to sweat. He should never have told Elena. He should have come in alone. He shouldn't have gotten help. But without help…

No. He can't second guess himself right now.

He steps inside, hoping his telepathic witchery has done its work.

Slipping like a ghost invisibly behind Ramon, Portia is simply shadowing for the time being. Silent, ever so silent, she follows, watching and waiting and simply preparing for the little she could do. She was ready, though. Ready and waiting.

The facility may be in the middle of nowhere, it may have a heavy-duty door but locks, as we've seen, can be picked. Whoever owns this building doesn't take a lot of risks. Inside is a rather bland corridor lit dimly by lights inlaid on the wall; at the very end is a door with a narrow rectangle of a window. It has a fingerprint entry system. The window looks in on another corridor, this one brighter, with an American insignia painted on the floor. It's empty. Everyone close-by is busy out of sight, in rooms, in labs.

The garage Ramon finds himself in is as dark and echoing as one might expect. It smells like oil and ice. A simple door to the far back right leads inside to the rear wing of the building. The sound of talking emanates from there, behind the door, along with a distant grinding sound.

Where is Eric in all this madness and madhouse? Eric is…somewhere in the middle! Not infront of Elena(For that would be silly to be in her line of fire.) Not behind Ramon. He's staying quiet, happily strolling in a pace or so behind Elena, taking full advantage of Ramon's little maipulation. Someone has to make sure to watch Elena's back.

Lord above know she won't.

~Papa where is she?~ Elena asks mentally. She needs to know where to go, but if people were putting fingerprint security doors in, there's probably something important behind there right? She strides down the hallway, as if she belongs there. When she looks at the electronic security system, she doesn't bat an eyelash. She turns to look over at Eric, and nods. She doesn't have to worry about fingerprints if she has someone who can walk through shadows. "Think you can get the door?" she murmurs towards Eric, nodding to the fingerprint security system. No way she was going to be able to fake that. But why bother when you can go around it?

Someone's talking. Ramon considers this. If he's done his work, they should be able to walk right past. But if they haven't…*Basement.* There's people directly ahead. What the hell is the /grinding/ sound though? *Got people ahead, closed door, grinding sound, no indication if what I did worked or not.* He'll coordinate before busting through.

~It worked on our end~ Elena replies mentally. She doesn't need to tell her father to be sharp if needed.

"We will find out in a moment," Eric murmurs back as he narrows his eyes slightly. The young man reaches out to touch Elena's shoulder. As his fingers close around her, he closes his eyes slightly to concentrate better. First he sends his sight though the shadows to take a look at the other side of the door…and if the coast is clear he'll concentrate for just a moment before wrapping a cloak of shadows around the pair of them so he can move them to just the other side of the little obstruction to great justice. And rescues.

Ramon is going to go through the door, putting swagger in his walk like he belongs there and is perhaps there for an inspection. The thing about setting expectations is it helps to meet them. The urge to try to grab Portia's invisible form and haul her out of danger is strong, so he clasps his hands behind his back and walks in narrow eyed, military fashion as he attempts to just…stride right on through.

The section of the facility Elena and Eric covertly slip into is secured for a good reason. Through those hospital-like doors are glimpses of very state-of-the-art medical and lab equipment (and their technicians). It looks like a research facility. A completely boring research facility.

Meanwhile, off the garage, the grinding sound — metal on metal, along with a high-pitched squeak; pulleys? — ends with a SLAM as Ramon enters, but it's coincidental. No one stops him or his invisible tagalong. No one seems to notice their presence, or at least they don't seem to care. A man in a labcoat strolls down the hall, tiredly looking at a clipboard; from the opposite direction, a stern-looking older woman in a business suit stalks down the hall, passing right by Ramon so close that her brisk stride stirs his clothes with a breeze. She glances at him, but doesn't stop.

To the right, the corridors branch off to others. To the left, there's only one turn. By Elena's map, this is the way to the basement.

"We have to find a way to the basement…what is this…?" Elena murmurs, seeing the research facility. Behind her is the door, and she opens it up for the Dittos, who file in one by one. She lets the door close behind her, but she glances over at Eric. With a quiet shrug, she continues leading her team through, looking through the doors she finds as covertly as she can. How many people are in here? She lets her Ping ability out as she searches for a way to the basement. But….a thought is niggling at her. What the hell is a research facility doing -all the way out here-? In the middle of nowhere in the middle of nowhere? She starts searching, if she can, trying to listen into conversations that are around. But her priority is Desiree. ~I'm in the research labs….trying to find a way to the basement.~

"…I have no idea…" Eric murmurs back. Keeping watch as the Dittos all file through the door he narrows his eyes. "…what the hell /is/ this place. Some sort of high tech research center it look like." He murmurs softly. "…did you have a map or should I see what I can find out?" He asks, though with her Ping-ing about…it should be easier for her to find the way than him.

While the slam might be a little startling, Portia is still silent and invisible, remaining as Ramon's shadow. She keeps a careful eye on everything going on, a slight frown on her features, not that it's visible. She'll stick close, watching and waiting, despite how anxious she is.

Ramon's jaw is twitching. He's sweating. He'd lost the eye patch for this: given its been in newspapers and some magazines he figures its too 'signature'. So it's his mangled half a face bare to the world. His single eye is purposeful and hard. He could rip a map from someone's mind, but…the more he fucks around like that, the more chance someone will discover it. He's done all the telepathic tomfoolery he intends to do beyond communication.

A man cuts past Elena's team followed by a colleague, having a tired discussion about the cerebral cortex and an MRI.

After the leftward turn, the source of the grinding noise becomes more obvious. A large, metal door, operated by a pulley system with an old handle waiting to be turned for it to raise. The basement? It's the only door in sight, save for a doorway with no door that leads into a small room that resembles an office, manned by an elderly man at a desk with a Tiffany lamp. "Sign in…" he says automatically when he glimpses someone coming out of the corner of his eye.

Sharp footsteps start to approach from the corridor Ramon and Portia just left.

"….." Elena glances over to the man and his colleague. The brain. They were talking about the brain. Why? She looks over at Eric and nods. "Use it, go see what you can find," she murmurs, and she moves forward, trying to check the rooms down the hall if she can. She's still trying to find a way to the basement through this corridor, but she also wants to see just what the hell they were working on here too. It might prove useful, for when Peter gets back - or to determine the next steps in the dark future. But she'll let Eric use his powers to try and see if he can find anything, or hell, even take her there. But she'll do what she can. Her powers aren't of much use looking for information - she can't read minds, or see through shadows.

*Go ahead of me,* Ramon tells Portia and the dittos. He looks for a place to get out of sight. He wants to see who is coming. The way that person is walking tells him something may be wrong. But he wants his team to get in. He can stay and handle this person if there's a problem, and it is Portia, not he, who can render her mother invisible and get her out if this all goes pear shaped.

"On it, keep an eye out," Eric replies after the pair of men have passed them far enough to be out of earshot. Pausing a moment he leans his back against the hallway wall and closes his eyes. As if he is thinking, or just tired and resting his eyes for a moment as he waits on someone. He sends his power out though, not to create darkness, but to feel and see through it, searching left and right down hallways to try to find some sign on how to get to the dreaded basement of this confoundingly odd building.

*Right.* Portia moves ahead, careful and quiet so as not to give away her invisible presense. She's curious as far as the footsteps, but she lets that not distract her in what's going on.

The men in labcoats shut themselves in a room and pin images of the brain on a lightscreen. Their voices, now, are muffled. In another room a lab, a late-working scientist transfers a drop of blood onto a microscope slide. Some of the equipment against the wall has to do with DNA analysis.

Thankfully for Eric and Elena, the building is relatively small. It's mostly a straight trek to the back with a few twists and turns and another security door.

Speaking of the back, the footsteps come to a halt until the stern-faced woman in the business suit is facing the hall to the basement. Her faintly red hair is pulled back into a tight, almost military bun. She stares at Ramon, at first, as if looking through him… but starts to narrow her eyes. She's a keen one. Strong-willed, strong-minded. "I recognize you." An accusation as well as a statement. Her head tips to the side. "You're unauthorized to be here." Instantly, she throws her hand up offensively — not to hit, or even physically touch the man. No, something else. Something special. Who can act faster?

"…sign in?…" No? Fine. The old man in the adjacent office goes back to reading his book.

Eric's eyes snap open and he points towards the second security door. "That way," He murmurs. "Second door, far as I could see."

She's reaching for powers. Ramon is just going to try to slam the bitch in the face with the butt of his gun, using the moment for his power simply to note, *trouble* in the minds of all his colleagues. Because the communication is key. Paramount. If he failed to use his power in the split second he may have to alert them, and instead turned it into an offensive vs. offensive that allowed her to raise the hue and cry before they realized, the irresponsibility would be unforgiveable.

She closes her eyes, hearing the mental thought. She looks at Eric. "There's trouble. Take the team to the second door. Let the dittos through," Elena murmurs to Eric, peeking through the door to see the late-working scientist transferring blood on the slide. "I'll catch up." She walks inside the room, throwing her ability out to make the late scientist drowsy. Quickly, until he passes out. If she's successful, she'll move further into that room so she can take a peek at what he's working on. It could be useful, for Peter to take back…but also perhaps an insight as to what these people plan on working on next. Cass might be dead, but she had been perhaps on the right track - if they could expose what the hell they're doing, people might rise up and take up the cause.

"Heard," Eric replies as he steps away from the wall, waving the Ditto's forwards a moment. He pauses though before she moves off, reaching up to grab her arm for a moment. A fierce glare is aimed towards her. He watches her a moment then leans forwards to kiss her swiftly on the forehead. His lips twist into a smirk.

"You die on me here woman and I'll never let you live it down,"

Then he spins away, striding quickly towards the second set of security doors and hardly stopping as he opens it for the Ditto's to make it though. Glancing around again after the door opens to try to find a way further down into the faculity.

Smack! The woman goes down before her ability gets a chance to attakc Ramon, whirling onto the floor. The violence, however, alerts the office manager to stand up an drop his book. Gradually, the reality that something's not-quite-right starts to settle in, and while he can't quite grasp what it is… it's enough to get on the phone.

A wailing alarm sounds.

Desiree screams.

She leaps up. She scrambles. She shouts, she kicks, she knocks over the singular chair in the room, fights to knock over the table and fails, but shoves all the papers off of it in one great big frantic attack. She runs to the door and pounds on it.

Someone opens the door to the chamber and she's nearly flung back; instead, she just stumbles on bare feet. A broad-shouldered man takes her wrists and holds them while she flails and shrieks. He puts her out like a light.

Trouble isn't good. Given that no one's going to get in her way since she's invisible and trying very hard to make sure she's not detected, Portia moves forward. If she can get to her mother, it'll only be a matter of getting in close and getting her invisible which should be simple enough. But then there's that alarm. Dammit.

Her arm is grabbed, Elena spinning around to look at Eric. "What is it?" she asks urgently….until she gets kissed on the forehead. And at what he says, she smirks, and gives him a nod, before turning to go on and do what she needs to do.

What she sees….Elena stares at the research. She narrows her eyes a little. "What the hell…?" she whispers, picking up a file and reading through it after peeking through the results of the blood under the microscope. And this is when the alarm sounds. There's no time to grab everything, but she does grab a few folders, shoving them into the inner pocket of the thick, winter jacket she was wearing. And then, she isolates Eric's signal for what she's about to do, tagging the few neurotransmitters she detects down the hall.

And then, she fires her blast, in an effort to drop the life signs in the same corridor with her, and then her gun is out, running for the second security door. "We have to move!" she tells Eric. The alarm wasn't triggered on their floor, which could only mean it happened where Ramon had been. She needs to get to her father, and her sister. And her stepmom as well.

Ramon snarls in frustration and kicks the woman as hard as he can. There's no reason not to rip out a map now, so he goes looking for the nearest brain to tear a facility map from. He should have done that /first/, god damn it, but he only thought of it /now/. If he gets it, he'll try to pass the information to the friendly brains on his team. "Desiree," he growls, as if that one word has become his entire being. Fuck everything else.


The basement is dank, dark, and chilly. It's lit by industrial sconces on the wall and looks like a cave more than anything. An adventure in archaeology rather than a rescue mission to save a man's wife. Behind Ramon and Portia, the grating sound of the door's pulleys still creaks at the top of a very long, very treacherous flight of cement stairs. The alarm system above them is a muffled wailing.

It now sounds in every wing of the building. In the front wing where the main research goes down, it's earsplitting. Guards rush and fall, save for one armed man who, resistant to Elena's tampering, wastes no time in firing a semiautomatic at the young woman intruder as soon as he skids around a corner.

Back to the gloomy basement. A heavy door, at the end of the hall, one of several, is being locked by a burly man in a guard's uniform, his keys rattling. He stops, suddenly, to stare dumbfounded.

Blood sprays on the other side of the wall. Elena crashes hard against it, one bullet piercing through her shoulder and one lower to tear the flesh of her forearm. If there's a scream, she bites it back - besides, the pain vanishes the moment she plugs her own powers into herself. She whips out her Desert Eagle, and fires off a couple of shots with her good arm before flying through the darkport that Eric's set up for her. They're through the second security door, and they're running for the basement. Rivulets of hot crimson trickles and flows down one arm, but she keeps moving. She uses Boost on herself to move faster. She's not about to let her Papa and stepsister be unaided for long.

Ramon's projection of the mental map is noted, and she uses that to maneuver towards the basement. If there's any opposition, she lets the five dittos with her team take them out. Prime was better at firearms anyway, so she focuses on moving forward. If anyone gets in her way, she'll throw the full brunt of her powers on him or them. But she's not stopping. She doesn't see Ramon yet. But she hopes to meet up with them fairly quickly. Eric's hot on her heels. The dittos are somewhere behind.

Ramon lets the safety go on his gun and points it at the soldier with the door. "The only reason your alive right now," he says evenly, "is my wife wouldn't like it if I killed indiscriminately. So. Open the damn door, and keep your death indiscriminate. Fail to open the damn door, go for a weapon, give me any god damn crap? And you become absolutely discriminate. Are we clear, asshole?" He realizes his daughter's there. *Sorry sweetheart. I'll try to watch my language,* rasps his mindvoice.

*Don't worry about it. Extenuating circumstances, I think.* Portia replies, the invisible girl still hovering nearby as she waits for the door. She's anxious, but she's got a good feeling about this. They'll get through okay.

Elena's attacker is gouged by bullets, a nearly identical injury to hers. He's trained to keep going. More shots are fired off-Elena may have disappeared, but there's cavalry, and he's indiscriminate.

The basement guard at the door to the chamber shakes his head - not to Ramon, but to the hopeless situation. He holds his hands up; a clunky key drops from a gloved hand onto the cold floor. "So you're the husband. She talks about you. In-between the crazy. Hey, take it easy. Go ahead. Take her." What do I care. Government's gone down the crapper, who do we even work for? he thinks as he backs slowly up to the opposite wall.

BANG BANG BANG. The bullets ping into the security door that Elena and Eric have slipped through. But they have an access code, so that door isn't going to hold them for long. The dittos move to create a Death Corridor, positioning themselves in corners leading to the basement as Elena and Eric continue busting all through to the basement. The hallway there should bottleneck the incoming cavalry.

Elena continues running, following the map projected in her head. She's bleeding, but she doesn't care. Her gun is out on one hand, her other arm can't exactly hold the weight of a pistol even if she can't feel it, and she takes the stairs. She hurdles the last few on the way, and busts through another door. It's going to take her a bit to get there, but she will make it there. She lost two siblings, one step-sibling, a mother, and a stepmother. If things were going down the crapper, she's not losing her father and stepsister too.

When she finally reaches the hallway where Ramon's squaring off with the guard, and the key is dropped on the floor, she doesn't take any chances. She throws a blinding shot of pain right into the brain. It'll knock him unconscious if it works, but she's not going to kill him.

The invisible perks at the guard's mention of her mother. Mostly the phrase 'she talks about you'. Portia glances towards the door quietly. If she's still able to talk about Ramon.. she's alright. The teenaged girl is more than happy to wait just a little longer.

"Secure him," Ramon growls at the Dittos. He waits for them to do so, and then he gets the keys. He opens the door, fearful of a trap, intent on not showing it. Now is the time for confidence. He's not so sure his wife is fine, but the start is getting her the fuck out of this hell hole. It is only her proximity that keeps her from tearing that soldier apart for his role in it.

The guard gives a guttural scream and goes down on his knees, clutching his head. The hell was that?! He starts to slump against the wall, until the dittos swarm him.

The door sticks a little, and it needs to be forced open even after it's unlocked. With the bizarre scrawlings and colourful, brain-stimulating images all over the walls, ceiling, and floor, it's difficult to tell where surfaces begin and end - even moreso with the light off. Thankfully, Ramon doesn't have to go far to find his wife. His foot will probably brush her knuckles. Desiree, all angles of bone and sinew underneath a dull green pair of oversized scrubs, lies on her side with her face against the floor just in front of the door.

"Papa, get Dezi," Elena breathes. "I'll start clearing a path out of here." She nods to Eric, and with Ramon's dittos taking care of the guard on the ground, she moves down the hall again to try and determine either by Ping or mental map. She peers around, and up. She wonders if they can get out the way they came in, through Ramon's way or hers. Either way, she'll start figuring it out.

When the cavalry arrives in the corridor she and Eric took to get to where they are, the dittos start firing, taking advantage of the bottleneck to try and weed out what's approaching. After all, they all have to get out at some point.

Ramon scoops her up very tenderly, a terrible look in his eye. He cradles her close, but stands still. The plan was for Portia to render the three of them invisible, and he isn't going to do a whole lot of moving till they do. He rests his cheek in Dezi's hair. His jaw clenches firmly. They aren't out of the woods quite yet. And when they are…

He's going to blow this place to Kingdom Come.

Portia is quick to follow Ramon in. Soon as he touches Desiree and cradles her, the girl moves in, reaching to touch them both. That done, she's quite visible now to them, but the three of them are invisible to the rest of the world. Ramon might not have a great expression on seeing Desiree, but the girl's smiling now.

The facility is under-manned for an attack like this. Once, it was. Once, when the country wasn't in turmoil. Only so many people will stay around when they have no government left to speak of.

Desiree is dead weight in Ramon's arms, but she's much, much lighter than she used to be. Her cheeks are gaunt and sallow, obvious as her head lolls in her mass of tangled hair against her rescuer. There's a pattern of healing and new bruises on her face and arms. It's hard to tell what's self-inflicted and what's not. Darkened eyelids flutter, as if fighting restless to wake up all the way. She can't. Not quite. But she does reach out, one hand weakly clutching at Ramon's arm and the other reaching out, trembling, for Portia.

"Let's go!" Elena calls out behind her, and then, she leaps forward, leading the charge out of there. She ditches the Desert Eagle in favor of a rifle, picked up from the guard that the dittos had secured on the ground. She braces it on her not-wounded shoulder and lifts it on eye level. Go ahead, bastardos. Make her day. She'll proceeds to spray bullets on anything that gets in her path, but with the mental map in her head, thanks to her father, she'll maneuver her team through the way that Ramon had used to get to the basement, calling out orders through her comm for the dittos to start pulling back. They were there. They were so close. She won't breathe easy until they get to New York, but they will get there even if she has to mow this entire facility down.

Ramon moves behind Elena, staying with Portia and keeping ahold of Dezi. *Desiree,* he murmurs into her brain, not the start of a conversation but just … her name. *I love you. I love you so much.* He keeps his lips pressed into her hair as they move as rapidly as the pace will allow for. His hand itches for Kitten. He'll keep one arm around Dezi, and one hand on Kitten when they go, and he'll rain down fire and blood and death and vengeance…and then he can wrap his arms back around her and not let go. Or maybe not. Maybe…to hell with Kitten too.

Desiree's teenage daughter is more than happy to keep a hand on her mother, and Portia keeps pace with Ramon. She's silent again, mostly because she has no words. Just a sense of peace, despite the fact that there's still some lingering sense of danger.

Disoriented, Desiree's eyes fly open. At first, they're pure white, unseeing and allseeing - but as they stare up, they blur into bloodshot colour. "…Ramon…" she whispers as if unsure. Her hand clenches tighter on both of them. "Portia. Darlin'… oh, Jesus. Is this real?" Her whole body shakes. "Where are…" She strains to lift her head and look around. "Where are we…?!"

The resistance is few and far between from the basement to the exit. The past of least resistance is the way Ramon and Portia came through the garage.

And that's where she's going. Elena lingers behind. Ramon, Desiree, and Portia are invisible. The visible ones will get shot at, so she lets them get out through that way first, and out of the facility. And then, she, Eric, and their dittos will follow. It's been good so far, save for her injuries, there had been no casualties on their end - and that was always a win for her. But once they were out, and once their signals move further and further away towards the vehicles they brought, she and her team follow - guns blazing of course, should they encounter any opposition. But they're not clear yet. They'll only be clear once they're at the airstrip and out of Alaska.

Out they go. *Alaska. Shhh. Its not quite safe to talk yet.* Winding and ducking through and staying close to Portia. He feels a twinge of fear as he realizes his rear guard is Elena, but there's no hope for it now. He moves as quickly as Portia can, keeping up with her easily. To the vehicles. And in. /Then/ its safe to talk.

Portia is silent still, her hand remaining holding onto Desiree as a reassurance that she's really there. She doesn't speak, though. They aren't out of danger and silence is the key with invisibility. She glances back to Elena as they head out, the girl making good time as they head out.

The woman moves in and out of consciousness on the way. Even in the cold air, Desiree is covered in an unhealthy sheen of sweat. When the air touches her skin, she's struck with chills. Her eyes, now wide, stare up at the beautiful, rippling sky and open tundra with something akin to horror. "No!" she forces through a hoarse throat. "No, no, no." She stares at the vehicles wildly and starts to squirm in Ramon's arms. She's weak, beaten down, but she still has some vigor in her through sheer force of will. "Oh God, oh God, Ramon— 'Lena, sweet Jesus, was that her? Portia, honey— you shouldn've— I gotta…. I gotta get down. Please." Her voice takes on a frantic, pleading tone. As if, more than anything in the world, right this second, it's what she wants. Bare feet or no. "Please, c'mere, I wanna see your faces— "

Clear! Elena and the rest of her team get to the vehicles. Unlike her father, she sees no need to blow up the base - they got what they came for, and she did some opportunistic stealing of some research to boot. "Come on, we have to leave. What's going on?" she asks breathlessly. She smelled like gunpowder, cordite, and blood, and the crimson rivulets are still flowing free down her arm. But she's confused as to why Desiree wants to be put down. "Dezi? Dezi, it's me." Oh god, she hopes her stepmother can still recognize her. "We're going to take you home. Back to New York. We'll sort things out there, and…oh god. What did they do to you?"

He'll put her down. In the van. Ramon keeps a hand firmly on her arm though. He heard the part about the crazy. Though it tears him apart, he can't trust that she won't do something detrimental to her own health. He strokes her hair gently, considering. The visions. The god damn visions. They overloaded her. But he doesn't know how to shut down a power with his mind. Any tampering could make the madness worse.

There's something about the way that Desiree's talking that gives Portia her first impression that everything's not alright. Her smile faulters a little, still sticking close to her mother. She's not letting go until they're all safely in the van. "Mama.. I'm here. Don't worry." That's all she says.

"You look…" Desiree doesn't finish, as she regards Elena with a certain sadness in her eyes - eyes which, at this point, are nearly manic. "They made me- m- made me see. Always. Everythin'. They…" She swallows, hard and dry. As soon as she's laid down in the van, she tries to sit up. She scratches at the red patch on the side of her neck - raw, from prior clawings - and searches out the familiar faces. "Come, come 'ere— " She tries to draw her husband and daughter close to hold them tight in the clumsy space of the van. "I love y'all. Oh, God, oh God, so much, so much. You came all this way and— I been watchin'— but I couldn' get to y'all, all that time— to tell you— I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Tears stream down her face in rivulets that instantly chill. Desiree closes her eyes tight and seems to hold her breath.

Ramon holds her as tight as he can, and says grimly, "We're not going to New York. I'm not taking her back to that Hellhole." He pauses, but his decision is made. Like iron. "I retire as of now, Elena. I'm taking her to the islands Eric set up. Portia, you're coming with us." He keeps stroking her hair, looking grim as he gently removes her fingers from that red patch. He keeps kissing her hair, letting her cry it out. What is she sorry for? He's the one that failed her a thousand times over.

She'll wait her turn, and once there's room, Elena reaches out to hug Desiree tightly. "We didn't give up. We kept looking for you," she says quietly. Her throat tightens, but even now she doesn't cry. But there's no time to relish the reunion. Not now. So when she pulls away from Desiree so her father can gather his wife in his arms again, she looks over at him and she nods. There's no argument - she had tried to convince her father to leave before. Now he's got an incentive, she's not going to say anything that'll get him to stay. "We'll land in Los Angeles. Eric's got assets there, if I remember correctly. We can part ways there, and it's easier to get to the islands through the Pacific than the Atlantic." She looks over at Eric to see if he'll approve of the plan. "But we absolutely cannot linger here. I'll track down Manny in New York and send him your way when I get the chance."

The girl doesn't question it. Portia nods over to her stepfather and smiles again at her mother. "Shh.. Mama, you'll be alright now. Everything's gonna get better. You don't gotta do that anymore. Y'don't have to be sorry for anything."

"…I'll hold you to that Ramon," Eric's voice drifts over the happy little reunion even as the tall young man vaults into the drivers seat, stepping out of the shadows near to the van. Well who else did you think was going to be driving?! Elena…hell no. Ramon? He's busy. Portia is too young. He turns in the seat though before smiling towards the three of them. "…yes you remember correctly. I can have a plane waiting for you all when we get there." He adds after a moment as he reaches towards the keys to start the van. Must leave. Must get out of here. Can't let any of the people here be captured again. "…you'll love the South seas." He adds as he looks back towards the road ahead of all of them.

Desiree holds Elena tight and kisses her on the cheek. "No you ain't," Desiree says to Ramon, her voice oddly hollow, devoid of the spark that makes her the lively person she is. She pulls back, her hand trembling in Ramon's. "Eric. you get 'em there safe, darlin'. T-take the route out along the northwest way insteada the way you came, they're gonna go that way first and … they got a helicopter." Her focus returns to Ramon, and she lays her unstable, long-fingered hand along his jaw. "You — you go to the islands. You— you keep on livin', you hear me? Hear me?" Her eyebrows raise, brow creased adamantly. "You keep your mind about you for Portia." No mention of Parker. "You gotta take care of her for me." The woman smiles expressively at her daughter, so genuinely loving but heartbroken all at once. The red patch on her skin starts to slowly darken, flushing further and further along her neck. The veins become engorged.

"ELENA. Something is happening. She's dying," Ramon shouts. "Do something. Fix it. Fix it right now!" He spins away from the woman, freaking out. "Its something under her skin, in her neck!" Nononononononononono. NO. NO. NO.

"Wh— wh…" Elena stares as she sees the change. It was hard not to, and she feels the breath squeeze out of her. "Eric, keep an eye out!" she yells from where she is. She doesn't get on the passenger seat, not like what she intends earlier. But she slams the door shut and reaches out for Dezi. Oh my god. Oh my god what is this? Was she poisoned? If it was just poison she can neutralize the effects by using Desiree's natural antitoxins, but if it's not….if it's not….and she was already so weak… Her hands reach out to cup Desiree's face, firing her control into her body to try and detect just what's happening, and purge what she finds if she can. But seeing the veins engorge, and her skin blackening, her heart sinks, but she keeps trying desperately. What is this? WHAT IS THIS?

What the heck is she talking about? Portia wants to believe that everything's going to be fine, but the way that Desiree was talking.. then there's that odd patch of red skin. She shrinks back for a moment, just staring as Elena tries to determine what's wrong. Her voice comes out as a sort of choked whisper. "Mama?"

Starting the car moving in the right direction, Eric can hear the sudden change of tone in the people behind him. His eyes widen as he risks a glance behind them. Oh my god. What the hell did they do to her. What the hell. He does follow her directions though, heading towards the Northwest way out. He raises one hand from the wheel as he taps the earpiece that wraps around one ear. He's calling out commands, speaking in a quick and cliped voice. Medical attention needed. Have it ready on arrival. If there is anything he can do keep her alive he'll do it…but right now he's fustrated as hell, he doesn't know whats wrong.

"There's a…" Desiree moistens her lips, her eyes shutting. "…whatsitcalled. Perimeter… we're past… past my perimeter… can't leave. I'm— I'm sorry you hadda come, I'm sorry…" It acts fast. It's a hop, skip and a jump to her nervous system, the implant. Once it activates, that's it. Desiree lays her head back gently wherever it falls. She's a ragdoll to whoever touches her— and she's burning up, where before she was clammy and cold. "Portia," she rasps. The mother's next words slur together. "Sing for me? I wanna hear your voice."

Ramon's thoughts are wild. Drive back then. Fix it. Do something. He stares at his wife with all the blood draining from his face. Why didn't he anticipate this? Why? Hope is leaving his eye, leaving only a barren wasteland behind. He keeps ahold of her hand, squeezing tight, famously unable to speak. Tears start rolling down his face, and his jaw clenches. His responsibility to fix all of this before it ever happened. His.

Logan's mocking voice. Hard luck, Ramon. Or just irresponsible.

"Alguien me despierta arriba de este Infierno," he whispers desperately. "Por favor, por favor, por favor. Desiree."

Ohgodohgodohgod. It had been hard enough to sing with Desiree just missing… there's a gigantic lump in her throat, and Portia swallows hard. Desiree doesn't look good. She doesn't want to sing. She really doesn't want to sing, not when she knows that..

But she can't refuse her mother. Not like this. Wetting her lips and swallowing hard again, followed by a deep breath to calm her nerves and her voice, she shuts everything else out of her mind save for her mother and her own voice. She opens her mouth and starts to sing. It's a lullaby that Desiree used to sing for her.

Link: #6

It was too fast. Too fast. Elena's becoming desperate as she tries to chase the toxin in Desiree's system, blood trickling from her nose at the effort. She tries to shut everything out. Desiree's whispered words. Ramon's Spanish wailing. Portia's singing. Eric's attempt to bring medical help to rendezvous with them on the road. But the more she tries, more follows, slipping past psychic fingertips. "I can't…I can't…" she breathes. It was getting hard to breathe, her desperation mounting so hard and fast that she was feeling lightheaded from the attempts to do so. "Dezi, please…you can't. You can't! We just got you back. WE JUST GOT YOU BACK!!!" Normally she wouldn't sound like this. Normally she could keep her head. But her hands are on her stepmother's face and her mind is flashing back to everything. To two years ago. Meeting her in the bus. Meeting her in the church. Running into her with Peter at the park where she offered to give her a place to live while she was in New York. Accidentally walking in on her and her father smooching in the kitchen. But the more she tries, the more she can't hold back. But she keeps trying, because she doesn't know what else to do.

It's hard to tell exactly when it happens. Desiree is as silent then as she is when the life disappears from her body. Ramon and Elena may realize the exact sliver of time when her thoughts cease, shorted out, and her brain loses the ability, and need, to create the chemicals necessary for life. A faint smile had settled in, listening to her daughter's song. It's alright. A few moments later, as her cracked lips fall open, the smile stays.

Two years ago…

"Even if we can't stop it and our world changes, I know we'll be okay. We'll get through it. We'll look out for each other, and the kids. Our families are strong, ya know…?"

There's a sudden slamming sound. It sounds again. And again. And again. It's Ramon, slamming his head backwards into the wall as grief slams into him and shuts everything else out. As if he could dash his head open. As if he could join them. Little Nita, Luis, Catalina, Cass, /Desiree/. Its alright. We'll be okay. God fucking damn it. God damn it, god damn it, god damn it. But of course his head doesn't split open. There's not even any blood. Ramon's head falls forward, onto his knees. He keeps ahold of Dezi's cold hand with his left. His right…

There's this soft click as the safety is taken off his gun. He's forgotten his daughters are there. Forgotten where he was. He's in this void, between life and death, in the river that Dezi just crossed. It's all white noise and despair. And the hot press of his heavy calibre pistol shoved right between his eyes while his head rests on his knees, his finger trembling like the wings of a butterfly on the trigger.

The movement is swift, and a blur. Elena's hand snaps out to snatch her father's gun-hand by the wrist and attempts to pull it away from his face. It's pretty indeterminate as to when the Gomez girl lets go of Desiree's face, but she's moving faster than what she's capable of normally.

Given the shaking trigger finger, the gun fires. The roar of the pistol echoes like a crack through the van, a bullet hole through the door. Should Ramon's eyes focus on Elena's face, her eyes have bled gold, using Boost in a split-second application to keep her father from killing himself. Her face is determined, and despite the watery eyes, his daughter doesn't cry, and as always even with the unnatural color that same spirit is there.

Skin breaks slowly, blood trickling down her cheek where the bullet had grazed her face.

"Don't you dare," she says softly. "She told you to live. You think she's going to let you get away with that even if she ends up in Heaven and you end up in Hell?"

'Please don't shoot the driver.'

Thats the first thing that goes through Eric's mind, but right now, right here. He doesn't have the heart to quip out something like that. He keeps the van moving forwards, hurling towards the rendevous even though their most important package is already growing cold. Trying to focus on the drive he does pause a moment to glance back towards the little family in the back of the van. A look full of sorrow on his face. He tries to shake it away though before he adds.

"She told you to live Ramon, she'll be waiting when its time. Its not time yet…there are still things to do. Still people to take care of." He adds softly, his voice persuasive and soft as he adds the weight of his words to those of Elena's.

Elena gets the gun. For a moment Ramon stares blankly at his daughter, as if he can't even see her. Then he rasps, "You're bleeding, chiquita." Take care of. He can't take care of anybody. He reaches out with a thumb to wipe away the blood, then lets his head drop to his knees. Live. Live. He slogs back to the cold banks of the river on this side and flops, defeated, tired, out of reasons. Out of fight. Out of purpose, out of hope. Cored out. Take care of Portia? The girl's nearly crossed over into that same vista as Manuel and Elena, the vista where they're far exceeding him in competence and purpose. There's not even anything left of him. Just all the voids. One big void. Nothingness.

He might not have said it in so many words but Desiree's last wishes were to make sure he knew what he had to do, and Elena will remind him as many times as he needs. When her face is thumbed, she nods. "I am," she says softly - but she doesn't say anything else than that. She reaches out, and folds her arms around her father. Her eyes moving over to Eric in the driver's seat. "Eric, take us home," she says softly. And that's all she'll say for a while. Meanwhile, she'll keep holding her father, while he holds onto the corpse of his wife. How cruel was God to take two loves in one lifetime? She didn't know, and she hopes there's a reason somewhere.

He just continues to drive Eric does. What can he say to ease this? What can he say to fix this? He can't say anything to do it. Nothing will. He just fixes his eyes on the road ahead of them all. Why did this have to happen. Was the world laughing at them. Some cruel fate that just point-laughed at this little family as they had to struggle on. "…as fast as I can," He murmurs towards Elena before he puts his foot down and carries this sad little van off into the gathering darkness.

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