2009-10-10: Tomorrow's Ashes, Today's Fire



Date: October 10th, 2009


Angela tries to prevent a worst case scenario.

"Tomorrow's Ashes, Today's Fire"

New York City

The Petrelli towncar glides along Park Avenue at a snail's pace, Angela — the sole person around to make use of the car and its driver, nowadays — sits in the backseat, tired. Like the car inside and out, she wears black, the neat suit blending into the unlit interior and matching the darkness in the sky above. It's getting late in the evening and, returning from the Yamagato building after a long day of putting out many figurative floods at the Company, it's no wonder that her eyes start to close and her head starts nod to the side.

She drifts off.

* * *

The heavy wooden door of her office is the first thing evident. Flat, dark wood. Slowly, it opens, meeting darkness instead of the muted light that normally lines the ceilings of the headquarters' many corridors. Sparks fall from above, one of many clues that something is not at all right. Pale, ghostly and shaken, the scared face of Angela Petrelli looks out on the headquarters, her eyes wide as saucers as she takes a cautious step out. The hall has an unsteady, dark and lilted quality to it. Not a dream — a nightmare. Familiar things have turned to ruin.

The sparks that sizzle down out of the light fixtures flash visibility over the walls one electric jolt at a time. Moments of yellow-glazed lucidity in the dark. Immediately outside the doors, the feel of hot air, blowing back into the office as soon as the pathway is opened for it. The grimy feel of smoke, the smell of burning- another spark bursts from above, illuminating the charred black of walls, floor, and ceiling. Debris from holes in all four litters the ground ahead- crunch, crunch, crunch- ashes split apart beneath feet, mashing into the floor.

A third spark tangles out of the wires; among the chunks is the shape of a man, lain askew on the now warm floor- it gets hotter with each step, until it feels as if one is stepping up against a bonfire. Lawrence is on his back, arms lying palm-up nearby, spine arched slightly, a great number of smoldering holes in the front of his shirt. The metallic smell of blood mixes with smoke and heat, and on closer inspection there is at least one slick, shiny hole in his lower torso. His eyes are not closed, but just barely open, shifting below the lids in a dazed search for something. His features are marred by ash, a scrape or two on his cheeks, and jaw clenched behind a bloodied mouth.

There is enough fire left in Church that his shoulders send a small lurch through him in a useless effort to push his body onto its stomach, lower legs shifting as if to try and stand up again. He isn't done with this mess yet- in his head, anyway. Physically, he is unable to produce the energy that it requires.

The scene elsewhere within headquarters is not pretty. The moment the Company facilities were raided, Benjamin answered the call to arms, the same as any loyal agent. Or hell, anyone with the spine to fight and protect themselves, friends, partners and coworkers. Like so many others, he put up a fierce fight. He wielded both his power and the gun he's only recently gotten better at using. By all appearances, it seems he was able to take down his fair share of infiltrators before they got him. Bloodied, Ben lays on the floor right by his wife, several taser bolts taken before he was finally incapacitated. The gun that he was using is emptied of bullets and is several feet away from when it fell from his grasp. His chest is barely moving and his pulse is almost gone from the number of tasers he was on the receiving end of.

Veins spidery in the strange, strobing light, Angela holds her hand up in front of her face. Her shock-widened eyes are forced to narrow against the roasting temperature. Ash and rubble crunch and smear underneath her shoes as well she makes her way closer, despite the wall of heat. "Church," she rasps. Horror, regret. There's nothing she can do, but she crouches reaching out as if to touch his face. "No, no…" The woman looks up for someone to blame — not that she doesn't know — and catches sight of Benjamin down the corridor. She squints. Benjamin and… Meryl? This can't be happening. This can't happen.

Green eyes are bloodshot until the whites aren't white anymore. Meryl lies still, though breathing slowly and, by the looks of it, painfully. Being anywhere near Church when he used his ability was probably a gigantic mistake, but she was far enough away so that it didn't kill her, and it probably won't kill her.

Nah, the blood loss'll take care of that. "Where's Chuckles when ya need her, huh?" she asks, the laugh that follows turning into a cough. A spray of red appears on the floor in front of her, and she swears and says nothing else. It looks like she's been shot, but she's so curled up, it's hard to tell where.

Most of her concentration seems to be on staying conscious, though it's a losing battle. Her eyes start to close… But she sucks in a hasty breath, opening her eyes just long enough so that she can find Ben's hand with hers. And then she's out. Who knows if she'll wake up again.

Besides the sparks of the ceiling and Meryl's voice before it dies out, it is eerily silent.

There's nothing Angela can do for any of them. And these? These are not acceptable losses. "I'm sorry," she says, her voice dry and hoarse — partially due to the smoke, the ash, but not entirely. Reluctantly, she stands tall once more, turning to witness what lies down the corridor in the other direction.

Angela is greeted with the image of a blurry figure dressed in black, coming at her as fast as a speeding train. She has time only to widen her eyes and to choke on a scream before something forces into her chest and causes her entire body to convulse with electricity.

* * *

Tangled inextricably in the sensation of falling while electricity courses violently through her, Angela jolts awake. Gasping, she grips at the car door, fingers clenching beneath the window glass; city lights shine in, turning her reflection blue, orange. She looks away. The backseat of the private car she rides in is quite and calm, and yet it takes her a moment to regain her bearings, though the dream sticks with her, remembered all the way to her core. That's simply their nature. They wouldn't be quite so effective otherwise.

Reaching into the black leather purse that sits neatly beside her, Angela pulls out her cell phone and dials. It's a quick affair — a name in the address book. Trauma and shock rapidly giving way to stoic, dire determination, she presses the device to her ear and waits.

Maybe it is like seeing a car crash- adrenaline as you watch, and soon you're back to normal- at least, that is what Lawrence has tried to compare it to, the few times that he may have actually seen the immediate aftermath. This time, of course, he has absolutely no clue of what happened to be going on moments before, likely halfway across the city. He is at home in Queens by now. As such, he is also rooting through his fridge when the phone rings. He also picks it up without looking, having been expecting a different call by the sound of it.

"I thought you didn't love me anymore because of the catfish? Change your mind?" Yeah, definitely was waiting for something else.

The sharply chastising voice in Church's phone is not the voice he was expecting, whoever in God's name that was supposed to be. "I seriously hope you're not drunk. I know it's Saturday, but now is not the time." In the confines of the car riding through Manhattan toward Hyde Park, Angela eyes the window to check where they are; how long she slept. "We're being targeted. We're not safe."

"Oh shi- Angela, hello-" Church is quick to respond, audibly sheepish though it may be. The sound of a drawer cramming shut can be heard in the background. Maybe he was thinking about the drinking- not so much now. "Targeted? By who? Where?"

"I'll give you one guess," Angela replies, cynical. It's no secret inside Company walls that the government is suspected in taking people, even their agents, and for attacking two of them in Greece. This brand of targeting, however… right a their own doorstep… "I need you to help me get the word out to the others." She's being vague. While not unusual, there's a certain choice to her words, as if she doesn't want to say too much over the phone. "The headquarters may not be safe anymore. I don't want anyone going in there. Anyone who's inside now has to take as much as they can and leave immediately."

"Okay, okay." Church's background noises now consist of rustling and soon, the clicking of keys on a laptop. "Do you want me to go supervise the building and make sure anyone in there gets out?" Perhaps one of the most loaded questions he could possibly be asking, considering what Angela saw.

As such, there is a definite pause before Angela answers the seemingly simple question. The silence is heavy as she weighs her choices critically. "No." Delivered calmly, decisively. "That would be a bad idea." She watches the buildings whisk past outside, their lights flaring in the window now that traffic has broken and she can see the trees of Central Park in the distance. "I need you on the outside. Check on the pair of Winters."

Church catches that pause, and matches it with one of his own. There is something amiss in the orders, he is sure- but out of habit he does not ask for her to offer what she saw. If Angela wants to share, she shares. Then again, if she doesn't- well, maybe it is that bad. "Alright. I'll stay away. I'll check on them and then check back if there's a problem, of course. Do you have anything else that you want me to do?" His questions keep seeming precarious- if that is even possible for a question.

There is no pause this time. In fact, Angela's rapid-fire answer arrives on the heels of Church's question. He barely has time to finish it. "Yes. Be careful out there." A chary look is cast out the opposite window. It's an unpleasant feeling for the Petrelli matriarch, disquiet over the possibility of being watched and inevitably hunted. "It's only going to get worse before we can make it better." There's a decided if lurking in her words, out of place and unwelcome.

"Mn." Lawrence makes a single noise in response, somewhere between confirmation and curiosity. "I understand- and I'll be careful." His assurances can do little, but at least he tries. "If I hit any bumps I'll let you know first." The hollow click of a laptop screen into the keyboard echoes after his words.

"I have some calls to make myself." The car Angela rides in slows as it pulls close to the familiar manor that suddenly looms in view. The driver slides open the dividing window and looks back at the woman. She smiles briefly to him in cursory — and presently insincere; bigger fish to fry — gratitude. Muffling the phone with a hand, she says, "Thank you George," and resumes her focus on her ending conversation. "Goodnight, Church."

"You be careful too." Somewhere in there he is probably thinking 'If they get to you I'll take out a few city blocks' as well, but obviously he fails to say it. "If you think that you have to, call Pete or something- or just make sure you've got a weapon. Goodnight, Angela." Church finally echoes her one sentiment.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License