2008-04-05: The Final Founder


Church_icon.gif Noah_icon.gif Haitian_icon.gif

Summary: The raid on the Primatech facility to try and retrieve Angela Petrelli goes a little wrong.

Date It Happened: April 5th, 2008

The Final Founder

Abandoned Primatech Facility - Hartsdale

The twice-over burnt husk of the Hartsdale Building stands in the dark hamlet. Midnight approaches, the time that had been given in a timestamp for the rescue to need to occur. At first there's no major signs of activity in the area, no real movement, until someone spotted a man in black moving past one of the broken out windows of the facility. The closer that the eyes of the Company got, the more they saw, taking patrols in the area. One at a time, all armed, most with assault weapons. Black body armor on their chests, black pants with cargo pockets, heavy boots. Most of them appear to have experience, either military or hired guns. A half dozen at least on the ground floor.

No movement at all above the ground floor, no heat signatures. No movement except for the occassional creak and crash of dust and ash as pieces of the digraded building threaten to collapse. One wing has collapsed entirely. But the area leading to the burnt out cells… that would be different. No one walks the lawn. No cars are parked nearby.

Situated from the nearest building to the old 'home away from home', a lone man dressed in black lays prone, watching the building via fancy binoculars. "I think I have a rough estimate of the patrol patterns, sir, but there seems to be more people coming in," the man says, speaking into his radio.

Wearing a tactical bulletproof vest and holding a silenced 9mm pistol in his hand, Noah gives a simple nod, half way between the two buildings, using some simple shrubbery for cover. The Haitian likely is MIA, given specific orders by Noah to stay out of things. If Pinehearst does have a telepath, making sure that no one knows the Haitian's location ensures that he has the freedom to move about. Even if the rescue attempt fails, perhaps Haitian will be able to free Angela on his own. As for trust? Well, he's one of the few people that Noah doesn't have to worry about. Roughly thirty feet away, another 'normal' Agent sits behind a tree, merely waiting for Noah's go ahead. He might not have powers, but he's worked with the Green Berets before coming, so he knows a little something about special operations. "We can't afford to wait until we have it down pat… The window of time is supposedly very narrow," Noah begins, speaking into the small Bluetooth like device around his ear. "As soon as everyone is ready, we go in quiet. Avoid detection if possible and remember the goal is to save Petrelli, not kill them all." The two other human Agents give their ready, Haitian is not asked to give his… that leave only one other.

There's a similar pair of binoculars examining the same area from a far different location, the next man in black holding them to his eyes. "If they sniff me out, how fast do you think I can roast'em in their body armor?" The comment from Church over the buds of the other devices is said with just a little bit of rigidity. Lawrence is being entirely serious, yet he still retains that head on his shoulders- so perhaps it is not as bad as he makes it sound.

"I'm ready." As ready as he'll ever be.

The positioning on the ground level continues to move in the consistant pattern that the agents have monitored for a time. The entrance to what had once been the cells has two guards on standby, silent and armed. There's two who are heading down another wing, further from the main area. A couple of popped out windows on the ground floor would likely be one of the best entrances. There are many of them, what formerly had been wide windows.

"Hopefully, we won't need to find out. Jenkins, Church, move in," Noah states on the radio before he gets up slowly. A little slower than he'd like, but age is starting to hinder Noah in his ability to be hardcore. Using the trees, signs, and whatever else Noah can, he attempts to move toward the windows that are blown out. After all, if he can get into the building, best to use a route that is not planned. Windows are not planned entrances or exits (unless you're Nathan).

The 36-something Jenkins moves in with Noah, following his lead. While he understands the importance of this mission, he can't help but be a little glad. After all, this is going to be the last mission before he finally asks that girl from accounts receivable to marry him.

Age shmage. Sure, some things might not work as fluidly as they are supposed to- but experience counts for quite a bit.

Keeping himself visibly hidden behind whatever he can fit himself behind, Church moves in towards the building one step at a time. There's humor in conducting a 'raid' on your old stomping grounds, right? At least when he finds a way inside, he'll be back on turf he knows by heart. Lawrence is aiming his journey through the dark and from shelter to shelter towards a blown out window that once was one of the old office supply stockrooms, the inside blackened from smoke more than it has been with flame. Paper? Was in Primatech? Say it ain't so!

One mercenary soldier nearest to the entrance starts to walk in their direction, his weapon held across his chest, body armored. Each step is steady. Another loud creak from above comes right before some cracking sheetrock and bit of dust thrown into the air. The man pulls out his walkie and holds it up to his face. "The second floor is starting to crack. There better not be stray cats up there again."

After a moment of static, "We haven't ever had stray cats. Don't worry. The building checked out last night. It should hold for a while longer."

He still mutters, as he takes a few more steps. The radio isn't on anymore, already pulled away from his mouth as he mutters, "I don't get hazard pay cause a building might fall on me. I get hazard pay cause I might get shot at."

At the same time, he just happens to be walking in their direction, without seeing them. Yet.

As soon as the man moves toward their direction, Noah glances about. It would seem the people are failing to use an active buddy system. Has grade school taught them nothing? Debating the advantages and troubles that come with killing the advancing man right on the spot, Noah decides to just take some cover behind a pair of trash dumpsters, followed closely by Jenkins. The pair move almost in unison, crouched as they attempt to slink into a safe spot before they get noticed.

Should the man stop and look toward their direction while the slinking is going on… Well, Noah will waste little time in lining up the shot, trying to plant a silenced bullet on a place he knows won't be protected… Right at the neck.

Though there is no silencer for his ability, god be damned- Church does have a gun with such tucked at his side. He has not pulled it as of yet, taking steps further away from Noah's direction after a short glance of his space. He tucks himself against the corner of the wall near the window he was headed toward; he trusts Noah to take care of business with that set of footsteps coming around the bend, from his hiding place on the other side. Call it faith, or just call it common sense.

Lawrence is watching the inside of the room past the bottom edge of the window- if it is all clear, he'll make one last check of his perimeter before springing from the crouch and vaulting himself up over the bottom half of the window. Timed right, his feet will touch ground on to a pair of seconds after Noah gets his shot off.

So much for hazard pay. Hopefully he got a 'if you get killed the money goes to your next of kin' clause on his contract. Either way, the silenced bullet sings through air and hits the back of the man's neck. That part is quiet as ever. But the crumpling of his body and the sudden impact of nearly two hundred pounds against rotting and burnt floor? That's not quite as quiet. Another loud creak from above at the fall. Another crack starts to work along the ceiling and the wall. More dust and ash fill the air.

Movement starts as the two people, the ones who do have a buddy system in effect, start to move away from their position near the stairs, toward the sound. One starts to pull out his radio.

Cursing as his hand is played quicker than anticpated, Noah merely powerwalks down toward the entrance point, trying to get toward the wall of the main building before the ones by the stairs get there, only pausing to pluck the radio from the dead guy. After all, what better way to know what the enemy is doing than spying on their radio? Jenkins remains Noah's shadow, understanding that if Noah has lived this long in the business, it might be wise to follow his lead. Mr. Bennet doesn't look for the guards, more concerned about trying to get in. After all, if the focus is on the guard and spreads outwards, then the kill will actually make things easier for the spy team.

Smells like a fire pit in here. The charcoal smell has never been one of Lawrence's favorites. His nose wrinkles as he comes to a crouch inside of the window, and as the man pushes himself to his feet, he unhitches the gun at his side, holding it close and creeping towards the door of the supply room in silence, flattening himself against the wall beside one side of the doorway. Church looks first down that direction out into the hall- provided there is not a soul in sight, he'll shift enough to aim a look around the other side of the hall. A second at most- enough to make sure this portion is empty. This building should have been dozed- the precarious noises above made by wind and whatever else are very… unsettling.

The unsettling noises continue, especially as one of the two mercenaries breaks away from the second at a run, moving to the lump that happens to be the first one down. The man did run right past the people in the window. There's a lot of dust in the air, ash, making visibility difficult. A moment later a voice comes through the coms. "I think we got company."

Maybe he should have used a capital C there? Either way, he kneels down to check the downed man. The second, the one left behind, shifts his weapon and says into the radio, "Everyone on alert." Noah manages to get right past him, but a shift in the dust catches his eyes, and he levels his weapon in the direction of Jenkins. Who just happened to sift up a little too much dust into the air. There's no warning, just a shot fired. And these aren't silent.

The bullet tears through the air, nailing Jerkins in the chest as he moves to get into the building. It sends him to the wall, but the vest catches the bullet. Of course, the ceramic plate shatter, reducing the effectiveness of any other shots. That's why they call them second chance vests, not third chance. Jerkins replies by brandishing his own weapon and aiming it right back to offer a couple of shots fired more by instinct than any real skill.

Noah merely turns around to face the gun fight… But he doesn't get directly involved. If Jerkins lives, he will usher him to come forward. If he is badly wounded or dies, Noah will leave him right where he is. Ruthless, but Noah's got a job to do… Angela would understand.

There's the sound of a gun- and most bets are off. It's move or be moved. Death changes things. Gunshots even more. Checking his path one last time, Church moves ahead into the hall, heading straight for the stairwell leading down. If he can make it over there without being sighted through the film of dust, then the first thing that happens in that funnel of downward spiraling air- Heat. The room temperature more than doubles, and gains momentum. The swelter comes down the stairs soundlessly, just in case there are more guards posted inside of any of those doors. If there are- sorry, fellas.

Wild bullets fly through the air. They're more silent than the assualt weapon that landed a shot on the second chance armor. Two shots hit the plaster walls, sending another burst of ash and dust into the air, more creaks, and then the third, fourth and fifth all hit the armored man. First one shatters part of the armor platting, second one shatters more, and the third busts through. Down the merc goes, landing against the floor with a thud. It's very possible he's still alive, gasping for air, with broken ribs and a punctured chest, but he doesn't get more shots off.

A sound of footsteps come running down the hallway. More people.

Heat fills the stairwell. It's soundless. With the except of a sudden loud curse and a clatter of metal. The heat had a side effect of making a guard's gun to hot to handle. Hot potato at it's worse. No one invite Church over for that game if guns are being used.

"What's going on?" a voice comes over the radio, from one of the other teams. By the time the question is said, another sound is heard. A thud of a body falling to the floor. Too hot to handle indeed. The radio question is not answered. The immediate stairwell may be clean.

Noah presses the talk button on and off a few times, trying to buy a few seconds as he tries to make it seem like the radio is just having a temporary glitch. Making sure that the talk button isn't on, Noah states to the tired Jenkins and the just getting warmed up Church, "Let's move." Without another word and the gun drawn, Noah makes his way down the stairs. Not exactly the way Noah intended it, but it is rare that a plan ever goes as planned… No matter who in the Company makes it.

Jenkins likely becomes the last guy to head down the stairs, taking a couple moments to get back up and half limp, half walk after the more experienced Agents.

It's always hilarious when someone's holding the Hot Potato. Church cannot help but stifle a laugh when he hears it, taking the steps a few at a time by means of the rails, and laying a satisfied look on his face when the sound of the man falling to the floor whumphs through the stairwell. "I'm below you. Leave the door open." Don't want it to get too hot in here, even if that first heat rush is already fading away. But below, around Church, the air is sizzling hot.

A glitchy radio might be a good ruse. There's still vague hints of footsteps in the background, but they seem to be slowed. Perhaps to question the first man they downed. He'd been a small distance away from the one who was shot, and thus the group heading down the stairs. Creaks from overhead send haunting noises through the burnt out husk of a building. No signs of collapse yet… but it definitely gives off an uneasy feeling. "Five-six-six." A voice adds over the radio. The voice isn't recognizable. Male. But that's the last word heard over the radio. Or more appropriately, number.

The downstairs leads into the holding cells. The report from Petrelli indicated Level Five was the location. A man lays at the bottom of the stairs, now unarmed, and knocked unconscious by the additional heat. The stairwell itself is still warm, any metal hot to the touch. Not a good idea to try and take his weapon, or radio.

The cells of Level Five are down a hallway. The hallway appears empty. Unlike the upstairs, though, it's been thoroughly cleaned. No sign of fire or ash. The ceiling hasn't even cracked. The only sign that there had been a fire at all down here, are scortch stains on the concrete that would need to be painted over to disappear.

There's only the faint lighting down here. No light can stream in from windows that aren't present, so lights further down likely indicate that someone's there. Waiting.

After seeing if there is a station shift possible to 56.6 on the radio, Noah will likely put the thing back on his belt. Even if he can't tap into their calls, it is nice enough to force them to rely on other methods. Moving through the hallway, Noah pulls out his big and shiny gun, putting away the small and stealthy. In times like these, size matters. "Watch your back… Arthur might be here," Noah states firmly as he continues onwardly. Hopefully, Noah's hidden wild card is still out and about and ready as well. After all, if there is one thing Noah hates… It's to be unprepared.

Notes are made of the state of the other floors on the way down, Church glancing through the windows in the doors. At the bottom, his foot lifts to shunt the unconscious man out of the way of the door. The only response that Bennet recieves at this point is a grunt of affirmation while he waits for the two to catch up; when they do, the trio moves out of the stairwell and into the old Level Five hall, guns drawn.

These cells used to hold the likes of Sylar. Of Eric Doyle, Jeremaiah Dorsey, of people like Kellie, Flint Gordon, and Mandy Larson. Dangerous people. Violent people. Now they're empty shells. Except for one — in the middle of the corridor between cells, on the right. The pane between corridor and cell provides a vague glimpse at what's inside, but there's no light in there, and the movement is just a glimmer, a hunched over form in the dark unless you look closely for details.

Angela Petrelli sits up sharply after an unwelcome sleep, bloodshot eyes wild as she shoots up from the surface of a desk. The desk, small and made of glossy dark wood, is tucked against the wall, out of place amidst the concrete. A stack of books and a journal, along with writing implements, sit nearby. She clutches the edge of the desk, looking around the empty room in shock and rare fear, taking in the sight of every corner and shadow. Angela is dressed neatly, but she looks like death.

She looks at the glass.

Does she see them coming for her?

The hallway brings back memories for HRG as he advances down the place filled with an odd mix of justice, hate, and secrecy. He looks through each door. He knows who has been behind each door. Some died in their cells from the troubles that ravaged this deadly floor. Others escaped, still likely on the loose today. Others became Agents. As a thought of a particularly violent prisoner jostles Noah from whatever memory he was, he turns to see a cell with the familiar face behind it.

"This must be where she gets it," Noah states with a faint smirk, still keeping his humor, even in a time like this. "Church, make the lady an exit. Jenkins, help secure the hall." With Jenkins taking the other end of the hallway and Noah covering the way they came, the two humans prepare for whatever attention might come in the freeing of the 'Final Founder'.

Melting glass easily is just out of reach for the Combustion Man, unless he took his time. Here time is limited, at best. The pistol in Lawrence's hand tucks away as soon as Noah turns. He has not been down here since the agents departed for the last time. Before that, he had smothered a cryokinetic into ashen pieces against the wall of one of these cells.

Wordless, Church approaches the glass, the weight of the armor that he wears sitting heavier on his torso. Noah will be able to feel the emanating field of heat pass by as the other man moves to stand in front of the cell; his hands are coasting over the glass, the thin skin of his palms the color of fresh embers. In another state, it might look sad, but right now, his hands search for the best places to heat up that pane of already fogging glass.

The electrical grid is not what it used to be. The security of the door is that of locks and steel, nothing else, but the window pane is much softer, despite whatever hi-tech material it's made of. When a weak spot is found, it lets Church know by rippling around his glowing hand, like a puddle.

Inside the cell, illuminated by a faint, unnatural sunset-like glow thanks to Lawrence, Angela climbs out of the chair, facing the window. Her eyes are wide, still, a frozen expression of alarm. She holds a hand up, as if expecting an oncoming heat wave — then abruptly brings it down, looking to a corner of the cell.

Where Arthur Petrelli is suddenly standing. He speaks to the woman, but stares coldly at the men in the corridor. "Now now, Angela. Don't get your hopes up just yet."

This is expected. The part of the plan Noah really wasn't looking forward to, but in the plan just the same. Without a second thought, Noah pulls out his gun. If the glass is warmed up to a visible extent, Noah will merely assist using a couple rounds of his gun, trying to plant some hot lead into Arthur. They aren't going to kill the man, but hopefully it will slow him down enough to finish the job or get Angela out. If not, Noah will just lower his gun, not able to do much for the time being. "You."

Jenkins, however, is just aiming for the head shot, waiting for the glass to be taken down so he can kill Arthur and end his career on a high note.

The agent against the window steels his jaw. This was expected, after all. He knew that if not one of his right hands, Arthur would be here. Considering that he appeared out of nowhere, there are only two people that it could possibly be. The window is simmering and shivering under Lawrence's palms, the edges misty as they condense what humidity is in the air. The cell is warmer, of course, but it does not keep increasing once the unwanted man finally appears.

On the other side, Church's clenched jaw relaxes for a split second; his nostrils flare in silent anger, and a plume of white breath curls against the glass. His eyes are on Arthur. The glass gives off a hum against those hands, straining quietly. Not quite enough to get the cleanest of breaks. Almost.

The man in the cell jolts — once, twice from HRG's gun— as bullets pump into his flesh, ruining the steely rey of his wide-shouldered, tailored suit with round blotches of dark blood. A thin smile remains on his face the entire time.

Angela shouts out, "Church! Noah!" She backpedals against the wall between the out-of-place desk and a small cot.

"The loyal agents…" Arthur says with a wave of his hand. "You've come all the way down here to your old stomping grounds… For what? The last of a dying breed?" A cruel lop-sided smirk is lent in his … Wife's direction. "Do you think you can kill me?" He glances, unthreatened, at the weapons pointed at him, through the melting glass. "Before I kill her?" A hand lashes around Angela's neck, while the other, in what would, under normal circumstances, seem like a casual gesture, waves toward the separating window. A swathe of icy white and blue battles the heated material, frosting it over. The air seems to cool down a few increments.

To Noah, Jenkins and Church's far left, at the end of the corridor, a soft creak. A door? An emergency exit? There was one, once upon a time. There's a sudden wave in the air, everything around the occupied Level 5 cell blurring for half a second.

"If you wanted to kill her, you would have done that already, Arthur," Noah states, though he continues to keep his gun aimed right at the powerful Petrelli patriarch (trying saying THAT three times fast). "Now, who were you trying to draw down here? Me and Church? Unlikely. If you DID want to talk to me about a deal, then I suggest you let Mrs. Petrelli go before we talk. If you are the god you claim to be, then hostages are truly beneath you."

Go ahead and talk, Noah, Church will get you a clearer view.

Arthur's first mistake is doing the reverse of putting boiling water into a cold glass. Same effect, once the heat from Lawrence's hands meet the glass again. His arm pulls back, and the air around his fist bounces alive with a layer of red. When his knuckles meet the glass, it sends a hot punch into the pane, heat splashing over it with a dull 'whumph'; cracks splinter over it like a giant web, and the pieces of what was once the cell window clatter straight down onto the floor. It is unceremonious and rather sudden, but it gets the job done in a matter of seconds.

A dying breed? Not to Lawrence. Noah says what is on his professional mind, but the personal one- it is all dog-teeth snapping at the bent wires of an old cage.

As the glass shatters into a million pieces, obscuring those behind it, the emergency exit off to the left reveals a shadowy figure. It's not one to be worried about, if you're one of the Company agents: the Haitian eases into view, unaffected by the ruckus. He closes the door behind him with a purposeful thump to alert his comrades to his otherwise silent presence. The whites of his eyes flash in the otherwise dim corridor, particularly dark in his hiding place, as he regards Noah and Church. He brings a finger to his lips and takes one step closer, that opressive field of negation walking with him. Shh; watch.

The sound of clattering frozen glass ceases.

The window is still in-tact, malleable by the heat but untouched by any ice. The cell is empty. No Petrellis in sight. The desk is gone, the chair is gone, the small cot is scorched and on its side. No one has been inhabiting it for months and months.


A sudden wrench of metal sounds from behind HRG and Church as the door to the cell behind them is thrown open and the bulky figure of a man makes a break for it down the hall toward the stairs: a man who might be recognized as one Maury Parkman.

To say that Noah enjoys being fooled would be a lie of the grandest sort. However, this moment in time is why the Haitian is his most trusted ally. Once he makes the playing field level, Noah almost always wins. Unless the Haitian lets them get away. YES, HE HASN'T FORGOTTEN THE LAS VEGAS INCIDIENT.

The gun is swiftly drawn and a single shot is fired Right for his leg. He doesn't want the man dead, as he is the only lead they have currently. But the shot is enough to let Maury know that this isn't the kiddie gloves Company that Angela and Bob ran with their 'watch but don't touch' manners. This is the Noah and Church show now with the 'touch but don't kill (unless you have to)'. "You have thirty seconds to convince Agent Church not to kill you by proving your worth," Noah begins as he looks to his watch. "Annnnnnnd go."

Jenkins just frowns as he continues to guard the hallway like he was assigned to originally. At least this wasn't the last time he got his head messed around and ended up coming back to the Company HQ dressed as Marilyn Monroe.

One thing about having time in this job- you get better and better as time marches on. The Founders began the process, and at the current point- Noah, Lawrence, and the other veteran agents are the culmination of that process. You reap what you sow, Maury Parkman.

By the time that the word 'go' is uttered, Church is heading down the hall after the elder Parkman. The bottoms of his boots click down on the cold floor with each stride, and whatever leash that was wound under his collar is now hanging invisibly off of Bennet's wrist. Eyes burning and nostrils flared, Lawrence slows when he gets closer- his feet keep him lingering virtually on his toes, ready to tense and pounce, so to speak.

"Where is she?!" A spitting puff of smoky air exits the agent's mouth along with his angry words. Playtime is over.

Before Church ever reaches him, Maury is sprawling on his stomach thanks to the bullet that embedded itself into his leg with a sickening sound. The powerful telepath is not prepared to prove his worth, nor is he prepared to die or answer demands; it all might lead to the same thing. He shoves, awkwardly, onto his hands and looks over his shoulder, sweating, a somewhat crazed look in his eyes. "Not here, that's for damn sure. Oh I got worth — you think I would tell you anyway?! Hypocrites!" The eldest Parkman sucks in a pained breath and gives an unhinged chuckle. "We all got it comin'."

The Haitian glides into place alongside Noah, urgency rising although his demeanour remains stoic. He does, however, look up beneath dark brows. At the ceiling. The walls. "I do not think," he says to Bennet, "That we should stay here longer than necessary."


The sniper that Noah placed at the perimeter to watch the building spots something through his sights. Movement in the building, suspicious in nature, and two men moving out of the side. Clean shows both, but he doesn't take them, because he picks up the radio in his pocket instead. A small model that's clicked on. "Sir, you might want to get out of the building, I think that…"

While he's speaking, he spots a flash of light. Multiple flashes of light. There's a loud crackling sound, like creaking. A crash follows, shaking the floor, the solid area of level five.

The Haitian was right. And maybe Maury was wrong about his worth. A bait is only bait if there's a trap. And things usually don't turn out well for the bait.

Through the loud sounds, the threats of a collapsing building, a voice calls over the radio, giving an update on the state of the building. "The south wing is down. The central corridor is starting to collapse. Get out now!"

"Noted," Noah replies to the surveillance despite the situation that is unraveling around him. "Jenkins, Church, escort Mr. Parkman outside." As Jerkins moves to take one side, Noah waits for Church to take the other. If he doesn't, Noah will at least pick Maury up, still holding his gun with his off hand. He doesn't try and breathe the air right now, considering that Maury likely smells like pork grinds and day old soda. At least he will if the personal notes on Parkman were accurate.

Church grabs onto Maury's other arm roughly, seemingly doing what Bennet has told him. The appearance of being a good listener is clearly a ruse; Lawrence draws his other hand up quickly to the older man's face, fingers curled. It gets burning hot, and the agent pulls Maury half a step closer.

That hand beside the baitman's face lands fingertip-first on the right side of his round cheek, and from contact onward the smell of burning skin is the only smell left. With two agents hanging onto him and a bullet in one leg, Lawrence takes his excellent chances now to rake his molten fingers down across Maury's cheek, down the front of his neck, and over his upper torso, leaving a burnt, bleeding, and raw red set of what look like clawmarks down his front, never digging below the surface of his skin.

More pain. Lawrence never did like him very much.

The decrepit Level 5 is filled with a sound it's used to: screaming. Maury fights against Noah and Church, fists pounding where they can, one leg kicking ineffectively against the floor. It ultimately does little good, and somewhere in the anguished shouting is probably an incomprehensible curse to Arthur for demeaning him to this job.

Another crash can be heard over the screams, and another report comes over the radio. "The east hall of the main corridor is down. I'm calling in a secondary crew now." The sniper isn't going to bother to take out the fleeing men, beacuse he's dialing in emergency numbers. They're going to need a possible crew down here to fish people out of a collapsed building if this gets any worse.

Dust begins to rush down the stairs, the collapse hasn't covered their exit, but the collapse is getting closer. Level Five still holds. The walls and the floor rumble, but the ceiling hasn't cracked, the walls are secure.

Noah took the shot for solely professional reasons. Unlike Church, Noah never lets business become personal. Everyone's expendable if they have to be. Even Church and the Haitian, as unhappy as losing either would make Noah. Of course, sometimes even good Agents do bad things. This would be one of those times. "Church!" Noah roars out, trying to peel the Evolved off of the other Evolved. Should he manage to 'save' Maury from the fellow agent, HRG will shout toward the Haitian. "Get him back to Level 5, now!"

Maury might have manipulated this entire affair, but he is still a lead. While telepathy might not worry in getting the information… Noah has other ways. But those ways won't work if Mr. Parkman dies. If he has Church, he will throw him toward a wall. If he can't get him off, he will just rely on his voice. "Church, pull yourself together, NOW! This place is coming apart!"

One touch is enough to get his point across. As Noah pries the two apart and puts Lawrence back-first against the wall of the cell behind them, the hot air around Church clings dangerously to what parts of the other man happen to touch him. Nothing burning, just that crawling feeling of heat winding around the skin, even under that armor.

"Don't touch me, Bennet!" Church snarls madly, throwing up his own arms angrily when he is pushed away. Starting at the collar where his neck meets clothing, a flicker of orange pulses inside of his throat, traveling up under the thinner areas of his cheeks and other facial features. Much like if someone had stuck a flashlight into his mouth and flicked it on. If the rest of his skin were not covered, chances are that it may be the same all over.

Coming apart, you say? Well, in this anger, the building is not the only thing to fit that description. "Get moving-" He snarls again, less maddeningly, but does start heading for the safer of the exits- but only after making sure that Noah goes first.

The Haitian steps up, looking between the two agents, his serious expression pinching between the brow, becoming darker. With his proximity, that glow, that heat of Church's will start to fade. "Hurry," is all he says, one two syllable word filled with importance. While Church makes sure Noah goes first, it is in fact the Haitian who does so, moving ahead toward Jenkins.

The wall and floor shake slightly as another part of the building comes down above them, a gust of wind carries more of the ash and dust into the basement, making it difficult to see as the glowing heat fades. The electric lights down in the basement area flicker, threatening to die out entirely. Hurry. Good advice. The radio gets another update. "North section is gone. You can probably still go south and get out." But the sound of his voice hints that they'll need to be quick on their feet.

An angry glance is given toward Church, but he doesn't say a word. This is not the time. Bennet merely follows the rest of the party up the stairs, rushing as best he can after those that went before him. The gun is put away, allowing Noah both hands for support as the building shakes and wobbles.

Spooky may be one of the guys, but Lawrence will never get used to his power vanishing- to be tucked away into his brain like everything else. When the Haitian gets within his range when they do get ready to move, the air leaves Church in a rush, and as soon as he tries to catch that breath back, the brown-haired man braces himself against the nearest wall to cough and sputter, still stepping forward up the stairs. His face is flushed, and breathing in is like spending a sudden moment in the Sahara. Ouch, ouch, ouch. At least Spooky knows how to punish a guy, right?

Church is slowing down. HRG looks toward Lawrence as he struggles and for one moment, he ponders pulling a Peter. Risking his life to save his coworker, perhaps sharing the same fate as himself under a ton of rubble. But then he thinks about what would happen if he died. Who would watch for Claire, who would find Angela, and who would keep the Company going? "Keep moving, Church!" Noah orders as he just continues toward safety and freedom. It's okay, knowing Noah's lucky, he'll be trapped in a building too.

The same things are going through Lawrence's head, save for changes in who he has yet to finish watching over. He has no family like Noah, but some people are just as important. There is, however, one bite of difference between the two veteran agents- Church has always been the human element, the bleeding heart, the one that is most likely to stop to make sure someone else has a chance before making or taking his own. Noah always did his best to stay serious, and stay uninvolved, while Lawrence always did the opposite for his own reasons.

Still sputtering on hot lungs and now sweating down his forehead, Church reaches out to the side to push Noah ahead once they get the the top of the stairs, where the ceiling is already beginning to fissure.

There is a briefest pause as Noah watches as the ceiling begins to buckle. It is too late for speechs, well wishes, or even a prayer. He hits the ground, watching as the Church disappears under the falling building. Getting up slowly, Noah puts on the glasses that fell from his face, watching the place where the man is or was. He gives him a simple nod as he catches his second wind and continues on, silent as the grave.

One second before the ceiling finally gives away, Lawrence turns his head upward to look. The sharp crack-snap of ceiling rumbles in his ears, and he draws himself back out of the direct path of the falling debris. By the time that he is able to turn his eyes up from under a protective forearm, that part of the hall is gone, and Noah and the others out of sight. The rest of the upstairs blankets the lower levels with a sickening crash.

There is no yell from Church as the hallway gives out completely, collapsing in on itself right at Noah's heels.


And whatever happened to Peter contacting Felix and Mariska?

Trivia: This scene was originally planned to take place on April 1st. April Fools.

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