...The Abyss Screams Back

Participants:

ff_ashleigh_icon.gif ff_carina_icon.gif bf_cassandra_icon4.gif ff_denisa_icon.gif ff_des_icon.gif ff_devon_icon.gif [ff_edward_icon.gif vf_elaine_icon.gif elisabeth_icon4.gif ff_geneva_icon.gif ff_gerard_icon.gif vf_isabelle_icon.gif ff_joy_icon.gif vf_kain2_icon.gif ff_kenner_icon.gif wf_lance_icon.gif ff_leroux_icon.gif vf_ling_icon.gif bf_lynette_icon4.gif magnes_icon3.gif ff_mala_icon.gif meredith_icon.gif ff_miles_icon.gif ff_namiko_icon.gif bf_odessa_icon4.gif ff_remi_icon.gif ff_roux_icon.gif ff_ruia_icon.gif vf_ruiz_icon4.gif vf_shaw_icon4.gif ff_silas_icon.gif ff_stefan_icon.gif ff_trask_icon.gif wf_walter_icon.gif ff_west_icon.gif ff_woods_icon.gif

Scene Title …The Abyss Screams Back
Synopsis The Travelers are invited to dinner.
Date December 23, 2018

Once, the Commonwealth Arcology was a dream of a better future. Somewhere along the way, that dream became polluted beyond recognition. Physically, the arcology was designed to evoke positive emotions and lighten spirits. Its walls were a sterile white, plants grew in climate-controlled alcoves to add a splash of natural decor. Everything was tailored to feel like a paradise away from the troubles of the real world.

That paradise is destroyed.

“We’ve had a rough time of the last few years. Things keep falling apart, but we endure. We’re the last bastion of civilization in an uncivilized world.”

Donald Kenner has been escorting the new arrivals to the Ark through the winding corridors of the subterranean structure for several minutes now, speaking to the history of this place and its inhabitants, how when the flood came this subterranean think-tank and sealed environment became the final bastion of knowledge. Kenner’s view of things is a myopic and self-aggrandizing love affair with his own voice, and he does nothing to hide that.

The once pristine white walls of the arcology are streaked with rust from seawater intrusions. Old, dark stains blend in to the grimy, white tile floor. Destiny recognizes this route, it’s the reverse of the way she fled with Michelle and the others months ago. Those dark stains… She’d rather not remember it. The hallways here are lined with locked doors, preventing egress into any of the flooded wings of C-Ring’s once vast fabrication labs. Ultimately, Kenner stops at a freight elevator and obfuscates the keypad as he dials in a passcode, allowing the others to file in with his armed security detail.

“This Ark was a dream given shape, and one we seek to continue to uphold until such a time as we can reclaim the surface. One day those risen oceans will recede, and we’ll be there, ready for the coming of a new age.” Kenner speaks like a cult leader, enforcing his point of view through grand promises of a future that may not ever be, a future so far out making good on those promises is a problem for another day. “Your arrival is a part of the prophecy we’ve been given, a road-map to a better future. You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Don slants a look to Destiny as the elevators begin to lift up, saying nothing of her escape. Nor does he even acknowledge that Carina seems to know him. Instead, he talks more about himself.

“Let me tell you about my vision for the future…”


The Ark

Below the Ruins of Cambridge, Massachusetts

December 23rd

11:17 pm


By the time Kenner and his security detail have led the survivors to the A-Ring, three floors up, he’s spoken of a vision of the future where the scientific knowledge contained within the Ark is brought out to the “savages” outside, returning civilization to the world. Kenner’s security detail, especially the younger among them, bob their heads in accepting nods as though they fully buy in to the idea, fully buy in to Kenner’s vision of what the outside world is like.

Some of them may never have even been outside the Ark since the flood.

At the end of his tour, Kenner reaches a pair of double doors that opens into what was at one point a black and white tiled mess hall, illuminated by flickering fluorescent lighting. Bench tables have been replaced with a single, long dining table draped in an eggshell white tablecloth with dozens of seats arranged around it, all metal folding chairs of mismatched design. Plastic and ceramic plates, flatware, and cups line the table, a hodgepodge of kitchen accessories likely salvaged from across the facility. The smell of food in the air, however, is prevalent. It looks predominantly like vegetables, probably grown in hydroponic gardens, but there’s also a selection of steamed fish, quite possible pulled into the Ark through intake valves, given how they don’t appear to have a means to get to the surface. The sight of more than a dozen other faces is also, likewise, surprising.

Kenner has arranged for a banquet, at eleven o’clock at night, and a tired table of weary and worried-looking people are gathered around it already. “Please, please. Come, take a seat. Wherever you’d like.” Kenner walks toward a chair at the head of the table, while his armed security detail moves to stand at the perimeter of the room against the wall. “Allow me to make introductions,” Kenner says, beginning to introduce others at the table.

First, Kenner motions to another bearded man in a knit cap, far thinner and older than he is. “This is Doctor Stefan Ford, our chief medical officer.” Doctor Ford raises a plastic cup filled with what — based on the bottles on the table — must be wine.

Next, Kenner gestures to a dark-haired man in his late twenties or early thirties, square-jawed and not having touched the steamed vegetables on his plate. “My security chief, West Rosen.” West nods, offering a long and uncomfortable look to Destiny.

Lastly, Kenner points to the blonde man in the scarf who chooses not to sit at the table but rather stands up against the wall with the security detail. “Norton Trask, my right hand, of course. He’s saved my bacon more times than I can count,” comes with a rueful smile.

Thirdly, Kenner motions to some of the others sitting around the table. “Some of our other illustrious residents, Devon Clendaniel, Robyn Roux, Nathalie Leroux,” familiar faces to some of the Travelers, especially Magnes and Elisabeth. The presence of Devon and Robyn alone bring pangs of familiarity and at the same time distance. But then, the next pair in the line—

“Gerard and Ashleigh Gerken,” as Don points to them and says their names, it is as though their eyes are magnetically drawn toward Lance.

“And I believe many of you know our guest of honor,” Donald says, pointing to a man in a wheelchair sitting at the other head of the table. His back was to the group on their arrival, but he turns subtly in his seat to turn bright blue eyes on the crowd, bruises on his face and one black eye.

Edward Ray.

The Gerkens may not look the least bit familiar to Lance, as any memory of him had been completely removed at some point in his past, but there’s definitely something familiar about them. The woman, Ashleigh, looks like an older Hailey in many ways, dressed in a jumpsuit like something a repair person would wear, her hands going to her mouth as if to stifle a sound that she doesn’t want others to notice. The man, Gerard, with his thick beard and security uniform, looks to have a jaw set in some kind of emotion, though his eyes are very much like Lance’s own. Holding deep emotion as well. He looks as if he wishes to speak, but his eyes shift to Kenner and then the bruised guest of honor and he holds his tongue, keeping his hands under the table, grasped tightly.

In the other worlds, a negated Mala would have needed help walking around, but here it’s thankfully different. She helps herself to her seat which she makes sure is near Doyle and Denisa sits down beside her, still dressed in her wet suit and now Mala’s coat which the girl gave her not too long ago, but still shivering. She’s not used to this shivering thing. It’s new to her. She doesn’t much care for it.

Lucy stays near Lance, looking curiously at the people with the same name as him, but she mostly opts to sit in silence. She had not gone into the Dome previously, so negation was new to her, but she honestly wasn’t sure she could feel it even if it were happening.

And it was welcome to Ruiz, actually, who laced his fingers between his wife’s without worry for the first time in a very long time. His eyes fall on Edward and there’s an odd flash of… mixed emotion. At first it looks like anger or distaste at the least, but then it shifts into guilt and he looks away to focus on something else. Specifically those around the table on their side, one by one.

Keeping her daughter securely tucked between herself and Kain as they all shuffle to seats and keeping Cassandra securely on her other side, Elisabeth has remained mostly silent throughout the trip from the docking bay to the table. Aurora, already tired and the adrenaline of the excitement dropping, drags her little feet some of the way until Liz scoops her up and wraps both arms around her to hold her on a hip despite the injuries she herself took on board the Featherweight. She walks more slowly, but it also gives her the time to make eye contact with others like Walter and Isabelle — the latter getting a warning look as they enter the dining room.

It's the people at the table who bring her up short yet again. She didn't know Robyn well, and she doesn't know Nathalie at all … but Devon is another knife in her gut along with Trask's presence. They look like her people and are not. But her concern multiplies exponentially at the names offered for the couple. Her eyes flicker to Lance Gerken and the baby Lucy's carrying in her sling carrier — she doubts he is any more prepared than she was to see her dead mother standing there alive and well.

The one thing she is very careful of, however, is her expression. It stays very neutral in this shark pit — Liz is making no mistake: This is the first shots fired at her group, and Don is making his power here very obvious. He tops her list of Those Who Should Be Killed At First Opportunity. He reminds her of Donald Sutherland in that dystopian movie the year Aurora was born — where kids were killing each other for the pleasure of those in power like gladiators. Creepy asshat. The sight of a beat-to-hell Edward Ray, though she doesn't show it, gives her a little bit of hope that Don Kenner was lying in the bay about Michelle being dead — what purpose does the man serve, if not maybe as a hostage?Maybe?

She has to find hope where she can right now.

There's a bit of a nervous look in Robyn Roux's eyes as Kenner names her. An inclination to remain quiet and controlled at first given the situation, but she chooses to instead offer the travellers an energetic and slightly exaggerated wave that Destiny might appreciate in better circumstances. Green eyes flick from person to person to person, a hopeful look in them…

…but as she makes her way through all of them it fades a bit, instead turning into a wide but muted smile. "Hello~," she says in a sing-songy voice, leaning forward a bit at her seat. "Oh wow, this is so exciting. New faces!" It's clear that this doesn't happen much, at least not to her. Her eyes slide over to Don, and then back to the others. Blonde hair falls over her eyes slightly as she tilts her head to the side, silently judging them all on first appearance.

"Well," Ling remarks in a low breath. "At least the idea of dinner was honest." She's been ill at ease ever since they arrived, but for possibly the first time since they've arrived in this flooded world - the second at best - her shoulders slump and she seems to visibly relax. "Perhaps this is better than our arrival made it seem."

Her eyes fix on Edward though, and some of that tenseness returns. After all these years, she still remembers their leader in the Hub well, even if he wasn't the true leader. It's almost alien to see him in the condition he's in now, her gaze lingering on him for a moment later before she continues looking around the table.

Destiny holds on to Woods' arm as they make their way through the familiar hallways of the Ark. Her fingers squeeze just a little harder at the memories of blood and bodies where the darker stains have been left behind. By the time they arrive at the banquet hall, her head is pounding and she isn't sure she heard a single word Don said – though she caught every meaningful look.

Her focus returns once she starts looking around at the assembled dinner guests and registers the familiar faces. She starts to wave to Robyn when the last introduction is made. "Mister Ray!" she cries and starts forward two steps, then stops, as if waiting permission to continue.

That lasts only a moment before her sneakered feet slap against the hard floor as she races to the man in the wheelchair. Nearly tumbling, she drops to her knees at his side and reaches for one of his hands, tears in her eyes. "You're alive." This assuages some of her guilt for having left him behind in the first place. But only some. Her eyes are transfixed by the bruises on his face, which only make her cry harder, but silently.

Odessa scans the room, tension having wound its way through her muscles, making her shoulders tight and her posture rigid. Her eyes linger a moment on the face of Robyn Roux, astonished by how much softer she looks in this place than the Robyn Quinn she remembers.

Wordlessly, she rests a hand on her brother's arm and inclines her head toward the table. Taking a seat, she hopes he and his family will join her.

During the long trek up to the dining hall, Remi has gone more and more quiet and despondent — in fact, by the time they reach the dining hall, she’s gone completely silent, eyes turned down toward the ground, and it seems like the only reason she’s still really moving along is because Jasper is guiding her.

She does come out of her quiet inflection long enough for the introductions — none of these people mean much of anything to her, at least, so she doesn’t have to worry about feeling any worse. She slides into her seat next to the deaf man, still leaning heavily against him, blue eyes turned toward the table.

The silence isn’t really good for Remi — especially not now. Her ability helped her stay out of her own mind, helped her avoid thinking about her losses. Not so much any more. Her crew should all be here, but they’re not. They’re out there somewhere, lost forever. And by the sound of it, hope seems to be lost — at least, as far as she knows.

The food looks good, but her stomach itself disagrees — so she keeps her hands folded in her lap, lapsing into silence.

Silas spent the whole trip to the banquet table nodding thoughtfully as Kenner rambles on about his vision for the future… and, more importantly, being seen nodding thoughtfully.

He'll give the man credithis pitch is well-polished. Unfortunately, Silas is also reasonably confident that it's emptyall hat and no cattle, as it were. He promises the moon, but doesn't give anything but the vaguest allusions to how he plans to bring all of this to pass. Kenner's entire speech, in short, seems to be something of a well-polished turd.

Happily, even if the Ark has clearly seen better days, the food looks to be quite nice. Silas is reasonably certain that he could do a hair better on the fish, but it still looks quite tasty. Arguably even better than good food, though: Kenner's brought guests. They seem like actual guests, too, and not poorly disguised cronies. Maybe someone will say something that's actually interesting.

Though the guest of honor is a bit… worrisome. Silas rather suspects that Edward Ray was recently 'guest of honor' in a small, poorly lit interrogation room before they switched venues to the banquet hall. Maybe he just fell and hit his head six times in a row. Yeah. Sure.

Still, Kenner did say to sit anywhere. Silas picks a spot near the guest of honor… and his course to it brings him by Destiny. He eyes her for a moment with a bit of concern; much as he'd tried not to react, the sight of her getting clubbed over the head with a rifle but had not been one he'd liked. At all. "You alright?" he asks quietly.

Calling this place a well-polished turd does a disservice to the good, honorable Turd name. This place is a poorly-maintained museum staffed by zealots, all wholeheartedly and eagerly supporting the power that keeps the world outside at bay. The insanity of waiting down here until the water recedes is laughable - it would take tens of thousands of years at least, and by that point structural failures, cabin fever that leads to insanity, a heavily restricted gene pool, and basic vitamin D deficiency would make this place the perfect tomb that it already promises to become.

All through this, Cassandra walks and listens, staying close to her young charge and Elisabeth, only looking around when she dares. Some of the names given might ring a bell or two - after all, she was working with Pinehearst in Bright, but putting faces to the names read long ago in dusty journals is frankly impossible. Any names she does happen to recognize gets a moment of observation, cementing the face in her memory.

The ghosts of the past often come unbidden, and here, she’s certain, there are thousands of ghosts that ache to have their stories told. Thanks to the negation, a quiet fills the room, allowing her to focus on the man and his claims of a grandiose future, but she finds her attention drawn to the food. Vegetables…it's been forever since she's had a good bite of that. Even six-year-old Aurora might actually be pleased to have squash or green beans, fresh. Time will tell on that, though.

“It's a pleasure to meet all of you.” Cassandra minds her manners. “Thank you for the meal.” She studies everyone for signs of malnutrition - the travelers almost certainly are deficient in something, but these people must be barely surviving on a subsistence diet. After all, growing enough biomass to feed an entire city beneath the waves is a major hurdle to get over.

Namiko doesn't know these people, she doesn't know why any of those names should be significant, but the guest of honor being beat so thoroughly is more than enough to set the tone. If the speech wasn't. She would have to admit to tuning out when Kenner spoke, though, if she were asked. Something about old white Americans with delusions of grandeur makes it hard for her to focus. "Isa," she says, in a low voice as she steps over to her and Shaw, "we aren't really going to eat here, are we?" A glance toward Kenner does little to hide her wariness.

Lynette clings onto Ruiz's hand, her other keeping Evie close. This isn't the place to get caught exploring, as much as their daughter might like to. By the time they reach the banquet, she's ready to jump back on the sub and go back to the surface. She seems to accept that they wouldn't be allowed to do so, though, and she greets the inevitability of this meal and their time here with a heavy sigh. Edward Ray's state doesn't get any sympathy from her, rather, he's regarded like a ghost that insists on haunting her. Taking a place at the table is more in the name of making sure her daughter gets to eat than herself. She might not be able to keep anything down.

Nathalie lifts a hand when she's introduced, waving at the new faces. Friendly enough, but it doesn't extend to a smile or even a welcoming look. "Please," she says to the crowd, "find a seat. It's a long dive from the surface, I'm sure. Take a load off. Have some food." The please is genuine enough, but her tone is one that is used to being heeded. Even if she does try to make it gentler for the group.

"Not a fucking chance in hell." Comes the reply from the older woman as she looks to her fiancé and then… whatever the fuck Namiko was (besides fucking ace, Isa owed her life to the young woman). The woman's eyes travel the room and spots the faces she knows and the ones she doesn't. Edward. Wrinkling her nose, "You really do collect them. I'd throw them all out the airlock if I were you." Precogs, what crocks. Always meddling, fucking around. Destiny clearly loves the dude and Isa turns an eye to her older counterpart and raises an eyebrow. This place was fucking weird.

Stepping slowly to the table, the brunette looks from the ones seated already. She ignores Nathalie and glares down at the food presented before them. How long could she hold out? Well, there was that time she almost starved out in the shits with her Magnes and Brenda.. "Why not here huh?" Pulling out the chair that sits in front of Trask, sliding into the seat the pyrokinetic stretches an arm and pulls out her flask from her back pocket. "I always bring my own," raising her flask to the air before tipping it back all the way, guzzling the.. unique liquor down. "Ahh." Wiping the side of her mouth, "We can whip up a real tasty Lemon Drop Moonshine, you've never tasted anything better." The shift in mood is noticeable, well she's been sipping all the way through the snooze fest of Don's ramblings, she had a thought that he wanted to be like the seers he kept, Maybe that's why he was so fucked up. "Wanna try some? Let me know if your crew could handle this, put some hair on their chest."

Drinking because she's cold, offering the flask to Trask because what up dude.

Miles sits down in the general vicinity of Namiko/Isa/presumably Shaw somewhere in there, and leans back a little bit as he surveys those who are being introduced. None of them mean anything to him, either, though unlike Isa, he does not ignore Nathalie. No he does not. In fact she’s pretty much the only one he’s not ignoring.

“You give tours?” he asks her, authoritative ‘please’ or not, and while his tone is relatively serious, he can’t keep a little smile completely off his face. Hey, everyone has their own way of whistling in the dark. Don’t judge.

From where he’s seated, Devon doesn’t immediately look up as people shuffle into the room. It’s late and well passed when supper should be over. He’s picking at the food on his plate, a fork carefully manipulating vegetables and a small portion of fish the way he might work an equation on a blackboard. His name brings an upward tilt of his head like a hound might at the familiar sound. His eyes follow to find Kenner in the lead and then the guests as they file in and take seats.

“Hello,” he echoes Robyn and Nathalie’s greetings, albeit his enthusiasm is subdued. He lays his fork down beside his plate, leaving his food alone for the chance to scrutinize the rag-tag bunch that has come to dinner. Dev folds one arm across his chest, the other rests on it, and he raises a hand to pinch his lower lip between a finger and thumb. He offers little aside from a contemplative look as his attention not staying on anyone for very long before moving to the next.

Gerken?

Lance is dumbstruck for a few long moments as he just stares at the people named, at the people staring back at him in return. It’s not until there’s a not-so-subtle nudge from Lucy that he moves, stepping over to slide into a chair across from… his parents? No words, yet, as he settles in— wary attention flickering between them and the man that’s marched them all here for dinner.

As usual, when emotional— he drops silent, and waits to see what happens next.

Further down the table, Eric Doyle draws out a chair for Meredith before taking one himself, smiling a big pasted-on smile as he settles in, hands folded on the table’s edge. “Well, hello, hello,” he greets all the people that they’re introduced to, making a little finger-wave to the guest of honor, “Oh, he looks in great health. No wonder he’s at the end of the table, you know, he must be in the best position here.” Sarcasm is an art.

As his guests settle in, Don moves over to the head chair and stands behind it, hands on the back. “See? This is nice.” He drums his hands on the back of the chair, then fires an irate look to the door as a tall, blonde woman in a ratty lab coat slips in. She briskly carries herself across the room, a patch on her jacket reading Doctor Ingram. She pauses, briefly looking at Destiny, and there is a wordless and intense exchange.

Doctor Ingram says nothing, but instead leans in and whispers something to Don, then scans up and down the table. Don nods once, then waves a hand to dismiss her. Doctor Ingram step's away, head bowed, then looks over to Doctor Ford and nods once, before making her way out of the room. Carina watches her the entire time, eyes narrowed, and she regards Don with a thoughtful uncertainty after that.

“Miss Harrison,” Don feels her eyes on him. “It's good of you to join us again.” Then, he looks out to the table, brows raised at the Travelers. “Did Miss Harrison tell you? She used to live here, with us. Carina and I were the first people to find the Ark after the flood. She left on a supply run with Mr. Ray’s late son, and never returned. It's good to have you back with your— well—” He looks to Elisabeth. “Second family.”

Walter has taken a seat next to Lance, relieved of his sword by one of the security personnel who goes around the table quietly confiscating obvious weapons. Kain hands over his gun, giving a sour look to Ling as he does. “So, Colonel Kurtz,” Kain says with he notices Don’s eyes on him, “to what do we owe this rich spread?

A flicker of a smile crosses Don’s face, though he carefully watches Woods crossing the room to sit beside Destiny. “There's no need to rush things, grab yourself a plate. Our residents have been excited to share the bounty of the Ark with you. They’re very hopeful for your help, for all their sakes, for every man, woman, and child that calls this place home. Their lives,” he gestures around the table, “are ultimately in your hands.”

Doctor Ford quietly cuts through his steamed fish with a plastic fork and knife, bulging blue eyes inspecting Destiny and Odessa the way one might a visual puzzle, then to Mateo with a slow rise of one brow. But soon his attention is on the Gerkens, and then Lance. The Good Doctor, however, says nothing. His lingering stare is word enough.

“If you have enough liquor to share,” Don finally says to Isabelle, “by all means do. We don't have much variety in alcohol down here. But we make do.” The bottles of wine on the table are all 2008 to 2010 vintage, likely holdovers from the original inhabitants.

Magnes has been staring at Robyn for the longest time. Well, more accurately, between Robyn and Edward. He's had this perpetually quiet look of disgust in his eyes, even while keeping Elaine next to him.

A lot of things have gone through his mind, and he's given people time to say their peace, to express their perspectives on the situation. He doesn't touch his food, he instead stares squarely at Don now. "What exactly is this the pretense for? What exactly do you think is going to happen here?"

"You have an idea of what's happening, you've been expecting us, you know things. But lots of people have known things." He crosses his arms, leaning back in his chair a bit, though is sure not to lean too far back, having to remember that he's under the force of normal gravity now. "I've met so many megalomaniacs, so many people who manipulated me emotionally, who tore me apart both physically and literally."

He motions around the… display of people laid out before them. "You've researched us, you had foreknowledge to prepare, you knew how to shake us, how to possibly lure us into a sense that maybe it's not so bad here. But…" He shrugs placing his hands down on the table. "You're not Kazimir. Nothing will ever fill me with the guilt of knowing that in another world, a version of me was capable of getting someone I deeply cared about murdered, just out of pure weakness."

"This isn't my Quinn, she seems very different from any Quinn I've ever known. I wonder if she even makes music, or cares about music. I'm not entirely sure how you learned some of the things that you did, but I'm sure there's plenty of ways, I've seen a lot. But all of this…" He motions his hand around the table again. "This was always going to happen, this is all supposed to happen."

"Why don't you drop the pretenses and talk to me like a man who's had to watch worlds burn and the same friends die over and over again instead of flaunting the face of one of my best friends in front of me?" he asks, his anger and lack of patience for the situation clearly beginning to spill over. "Why don't you talk to me like someone who probably knows far more about fate and destiny than you ever will for as long as you live? Because I'm not interested in Baby's First Power Trip."

"You are a megalomaniac, Magnes," Lynette says, flatly. She flicks her gaze from him to the other one present. "We've traveled a long way, we're tired. Why don't you tell us what you want from us? How is anyone's life in our hands?" Her tone isn't particularly optimistic or even all that interested, but she has a feeling none of them are leaving this table until Kenner has said his piece. He is the director of this little show, after all.

Namiko blows out her cheeks, exhale heavy. "The only way I can be of any help is if I'm not negated. Oh," she says, perking up suddenly, "unless you've got a music collection and a working PA system. I was a DJ up top. I could rock this place from top to bottom. A-Ring to C-Ring. You know, for morale." She lets a beat go by, then, "I'm an agrokinetic." She gestures to Isa. "She's an aggrokinetic."

While everyone else talks, Nathalie looks over at Miles, an eyebrow lifting as if in consideration. Her expression implies that she might give tours. Under the right circumstances.

"Grossière," Roux remarks to Isabelle with a roll of her eyes. She reaches over enthusiastically for one of the bottles of wine, and begins to pour herself a glass. Her smile has widened a bit as she looks down at her food, beginning to cut with an odd over exuberance.

She did catch Odessa's odd, lingering look though, and returns it with one of her own - though instead of being mildly confused or taken aback she offers that wide smile and another small wave, before she turns her attention back to her food, and seemingly more importantly, her wine.

But, well, then Magnes speaks up. Quinn he says, and well, she doesn't know anyone else here he could be talking about. Her fork stops just short of her mouth as she listens to him, seemingly frozen for a moment. I wonder if she even makes music, he says, and she starts to shake a bit. When he finishes his little… monologue, she squares her eyes with him, narrowing them. "Va te faire foutre!" she hisses, stabbing her fork into her meal.

"Who do you think you are, coming in here and making assumptions like that anyway!" She'd certainly been happy a moment before, abruptly she's swung back the other way. "All of you rude people! We're just trying to have dinner with some people who showed up on our doorstep!"

She look over at Don, pursing her lips - but in that moment she takes a deep breath. "I'll show you caring about music," she grumbles as she down a bit in her seat, folding her arms and pouting like a teenage who just got scolded.

Having to hand over her knives was clearly something that had sat about as well with Ling as having their swords taken had with Walter and Odessa. Her eyes rarely come off of Don as she gets herself situated, watching the man at the head of the table intently.

Silas has to fight off the urge to slam his own face into the table at Magnes's speech. Oh my god I am trapped in the same room with two of them, he thinks. It's an uncharitable thought, and he knows it… but these are not circumstances that bring out the best in anyone. Still, the options as they stand seem to be either 'dinner and speeches' or 'guns and baseball bats'; Silas is determined to do everything in his power to steer things towards the former. Lynette's able to swat down Magnes, at least, but at least one of the targets of his rant appears to have taken umbrage.

"And rest assured, Miss Roux!" Silas speaks up, his voice pitched to carry. "Your food, your open doors — and your wine, of course," he says, with a flicker of a grin, "They are most certainly not unappreciated," his voice briefly taking on a tone near humility.

"It's been a rough journey for us, I fear. Over troubled waters, through dark of night, against rain and sleet and wind and violence. We've lost friends. Some of us have lost our homes. So if we're maybe not as bright as we could be… I ask that you try not to hold that against us," he finishes, offering Robyn an apologetic smile.

He holds that pose for a minute, then takes a small bite of his fish. "Fish is good, by the way," he adds conversationally. "Mind passing the wine?"

Seeing as her friends who are eating or drinking haven’t dropped dead, Remi places a single bite of fish into her mouth and chews it in silence; then, she notices there is wine. And she has no ability to be affected by it — so she snags herself a nice bottle of what appears to be Pinot Grigio, and pours herself some. After a quick glance around, she promptly slugs down a good two thirds of her glass.

That seems to be enough to bolster her toward speaking. First, she turns her gaze toward Magnes. “Mon dieu, Magnes…” She shakes her head, and turns to look at Robyn. “S'il vous plaît pardonnez mon ami. Notre navire a coulé dans le voyage ici. C'était très difficile.” She takes another gulp of the wine — at least there’s someone with whom she can slip into her native tongue with. “Nous sommes tous très fatigués et certains d'entre nous ont été blessés. Beaucoup de nos amis sont morts il y a quelques heures à peine. Je suis désolé que nous sommes un tel fardeau.”

The rest of her wine disappears down her throat, and more is poured to replace it. Apparently, Remi is dead set on getting very drunk right now. Her concealed weapons are kept close — though if sussed out, she will quietly acquiesce. The wine glass is raised toward Donald. “Merci beaucoup pour votre hospitalité, Monsieur Kenner.” Even without her ability, she can be quietly subversive — she’s not likely to speak a word of English to anyone but those she came here with, for now.

When Silas makes his initial approach, Des is slow to acknowledge. Eventually, she lifts her head when she realizes she's being addressed and nods shakily. She's rattled, to be sure, but she's otherwise fine, given the circumstances.

Given the state Edward is in, Des declines to squeeze his hand as a form of reassurance and instead drops her head so she can press a kiss to the back of his palm in silent apology for having left. She should have stayed. Should have done something to help him. Finally, she gets up and settles into her seat.

When Doctor Ingram enters the room, the teen's blue eyes get big for a moment, then settle down. There's something reassuring about the look exchanged between them that she can't explain and won't try to. It's another familiar face. Someone else left alive. It's what she needs right now.

There's something else she's decided she needs right now – particularly once Magnes begins speaking – and she gives a wary glance that doesn't quite make it to Woods' face before she reaches across the table, having to stand up out of her seat to make the distance, but stops short of her prize. Dropping back down to sit she looks down at her lap, hands fidgeting there. "May I please have some wine?" she asks in a soft voice.

It's a good thing Odessa was relieved of her sword, judging by the way her face has flushed almost purple by the time Magnes has finished his imbecilic screed. "I don't want to hear another word out of your fat mouth unless it's please or thank you," she warns. In his assumptions of what Kenner knows about them, he gives much away. "Eat your goddamn dinner and shut up."

At that pronouncement, she begins to follow her own advice, stabbing her fork into her vegetables with more force than is strictly necessary. Her other hand reaches out to her side to steady her brother. Or seek steadiness from him.

Magnes,” Ruiz hisses under his breath, as his chair squeaks, the hand on his arm met with one of his own as he speaks, as if they both needed to calm each other down. The look he’s giving says everything she said and so much more. And possibly he would have done more if not for the hand. Though he’s sure just about everyone who can feel the tension is doing the same thing too, at least with a look. “This isn’t the time or /place or company to be saying things like that.” For so many reasons. He’s been taking small bites of the food, but he’s still worried about Destiny, and many others as well. But mostly he’s worried about all those guns.

The young adults sense it too. Lucy keeps looking at Lance as if wondering what he’s going to do or say, taking small forkfuls of food, but no more than nibbling on it. Even if this was much better food than she’d been used to the last few years. Mala and Denisa seem to be eating through the tension, the shivering hispanic girl practically shoving forks into her mouth and chewing furiously as if it might warm her up.

Gerard isn’t eating at all. His hands remain under the table, but at the words exchanged his shoulders tighten, and he shoots a look toward Don. “Maybe we should show some of them to their rooms, Director,” he speaks up in a tense voice, as if he means to physically escort some of them. “Some of them sound as if they need it.”

Following on some unseen cue from her husband, Ashleigh speaks up right after him. “Yes, the children should probably be put to bed, at the very least,” her tone is gentle and forceful all at once, but there’s something in the way her eyes shift toward Lance and the child with him especially.

Well… at least she hasn't had to say it. Elisabeth manages to remain silent — if only because Magnes's ridiculous speech initially infuriates her to the point of speechlessness and by the time she can unclench her jaw enough, others have already said what needs saying. That was exactly what she'd warned him not to do. What in the bloody hell he was thinking, right now she doesn't even care to know. If they weren't in such dire straits right now, she would have hauled him off by the ear and then ripped his head off.

Instead, she simply works on making sure Aurora has food on her plate and the child is eating. The little girl hunches low in her chair, not understanding the undercurrents in the room but clearly not liking them. Elisabeth herself puts food in her mouth simply for the fact that who knows if Don will try to starve them to death. Always eat when you can. A small, grateful smile is sent to Ashleigh Gerken. "They're pretty exhausted, but a little food in their stomachs is welcome too. Thank you." The woman's concern seems genuine, so Liz's thanks are as well.

From her spot next to Elisabeth, Cassandra sits and eats in silence, only listening as conversations swirl around her. Magnes’ pontification sets her eyes rolling almost out of her head, but the smattering of French being spoken aloud almost makes her feel a little bit like she’s at home again. Remi, who is sitting nearby, gets a small nod and a murmured “avoir plus de vin.” when Cassandra refills her glass, the seer turning to look at the gathered group at the table.

“Thank you for your hospitality.” Cassandra says in English to the others. God, this almost reminds her of a scene that could be from Dr. Strangelove - the generals gathered around the table in the war room arguing over things that do not matter while the world burns down around them. “I'm sure our arrival was a surprise to most of you, and this must have taken quite a while to prepare. I think that, once we've all eaten, I agree our rooms might be the best thing. Before we discuss whatever it is you'd like us to attempt, a good night's sleep is certainly in order. I, for one, would welcome a bed that's not moving beneath me.” She pointedly does not mention Magnes’s speech or the contents therein.

No poking the bear from this Cajun gal.

For most of the duration of dinner, Geneva had sat in silence from the spot she had taken next to Remi, quietly and contemplatively sampling her own meal. She had been too much in a state of exhaustion and newly realized hunger to think of doing much different. Besides— this fancy food is rather delicious, all things told.

The ridiculousness of Magnes’ speech, though, makes her lift both her eyebrows up in an expression of absolute consternation. This prompts the girl to speak up for the very first time, her head bowed and eyes tightly closed in a sigh: “Please… ignore my former shipmate. Not all of us are trying to get killed tonight. As has been said—” Here, she sends an appreciative look over at Cassandra. “…Thank you for your hospitality.”

Lordy.

Nathalie may not have said anything, but her reaction is is apparently enough. Miles grins, tapping his fork on his plate absently a couple of times as he regards her, before he spears a piece of whatever’s on his plate with it to take a bite.

Namiko’s words, though, have him nodding, and he says around the mouthful, “Oh, yeah. She’s great. She likes 80s a little too much, but nobody’s perfect, right?” Though he does look at a few of those gathered as though they might dispute this particular cliche. Hey, he might have disputed it himself, too, under the right circumstances.

"Sorry I don't speak Lumiere." Isabelle directs back to Robyn, the woman who she's noticed has a mouth on her in any timeline. If she wasn't here… we'll Isabelle likes the light lady. The pyrokinetic nods over at Don, "I can get you nice and boozed up Donny Boy, it's the least I can do. Look at this spread!" The brunette in full swing eyeing Trask up and down as he doesn't take her flask, God's Gift To The Masses. "Don't speak, don't drink. Silent type. I have a friend for you," looking over at Liz and raising an eyebrow, "She's blonde and packs a punch." They have to get him on their side somehow!

The smile on Doyle’s face is plastered on, broad and yet at the same time a grimace as his eyes nearly bulge out of his head as Magnes continues to go on. “I’m not with him,” he informs whoever is coincidentally across from him at the table, desperately keeping that smile up as he waves his hands a bit,“I don’t— I don’t even know who he is. I think we found him in a gutter somewhere and took pity on the poor kid, I mean— “

He leans forward, tapping his temple and stage-whispering, “I think he’s not quite right in the head. Pirates hit him a few too many times, I think. Terribly sad story.”

Maybe they’ll buy it.

“We’ve come a long way,” is all Lance says, fiddling with the silverware; thumb brushing over the edge of a fork’s handle, as if perhaps considering how effective it might be as a weapon. They took his most obvious knives, but he likely has a few more, since he hasn’t been fully searched just yet. He doesn’t take his eyes off the Gerkens, measuring their faces, their movements, the tones of their voice, sizing them up with an uncertain look on his face.

One quiet man who has said about as much as the Hero of Hyrule at this point seats himself beside his garrulous fiance, Isa, and couple of newer companions, Namiko and Miles. Shaw tries to hide his disappointment and exhaustion too with a faint, brief smile in young Evie's direction, but the certain crestfallen, downward cast of his gaze at the whited eye of a steamed fish makes it obvious. "There aren't waffles here either," is the first statement he's said in hours.

Despite the worries of the others, Shaw eats - but he only eats of the dishes what he sees others eating, and taking small, bite-sized portions.

Don’s expression has been an impassive mask this whole time, slowly pulling out his chair and coming to sit with a tired grunt. He scrubs both of his hands down his face, and Doctor Ford looks increasingly uncomfortable as he eats, wide eyes scanning the table. Slowly, he sets down his fork and starts to push back his chair. “I— I have some tests to run, I should— ”

“Stay.” Don says into the palms of his hands, dragging them down his face, “by all means Doctor Ford, please stay. Enjoy your meal. I insist.” The lanky Doctor, halfway out of his chair, stares at Don with the wide, frightened eyes of a wild animal, then slowly eases back down into his seat.

Edward, across the table and having so far not touched his food at all calls out, “Donald. Please. They've— they've clearly had a long trip. Just— ”

As Don raises a hand, Edward looks away sheepishly and grows quiet, blue eyes focused on his lap. Exhaling a sigh, Don sits up straight and looks at the good, then up and around at the others gathered here. “Mr. Varlane is right,” he says with a thin and strained smile, “I should've… known who I was dealing with better. I should’ve— of course, you all react better to actions more so than words or…” he leans in, motioning to Magnes. “Posturing, was it?”

As Don leans back in his chair and takes a plastic fork in hand, he twirls it with one tine dimpling into a fingertip. “I know who you are. I know you can condense gravity,” he motions with the fork to Magnes, “I know you have those lovely portals,” is said to Ruiz, not Lynette. “I know you can modulate audio frequencies,” he motions to Elisabeth.

“But, the whole fate and destiny thing?” Don clicks his tongue. “Not a big fan of that. I like to imagine that we’re all guided by a higher power. Someone bigger than all of us, who… eventually… is going to come back and clean up the mess we’ve made of their world.” Don continues to twirl his fork as he talks. “You asked what I want? Well, you've met my acolyte, Else.”

Mention of Else’s name causes Edward’s jaw to set, Wood’s brows to furrow, and color to bleach out of Carina’s face.

“I suppose the easiest way to explain what I need is to lean back on my Catholic upbringing,” Don says with a flick of the fork against his knuckles, “because I need the three of you,” he motions to Magnes, Elisabeth, and Mateo, “to help bring about the second coming. Because, like I've told my followers here… this world isn't going to fix itself. But there's someone who can.”

Don slowly overturns the fork in his hand. “The first of our kind. An entity so powerful, this flood?” He waves one hand, flippantly, “gone. Our dead loved ones? Back. I've seen the face of god, my friends. She's real.”

But Don’s tone doesn't match his upbeat demeanor. “But you're probably thinking I'm some sort of religious lunatic. And that's fair. That's fair.” Tapping the fork against his knuckles again, Don glances to West, then back down the table. “What'd you call all this? Baby’s first power trip?”

“Don, please.” Edward says with a quaver to his voice.

“You were right about one thing,” Don says, snapping the plastic fork in half. “I do know how to rattle you.”

As soon as he says that, gunfire erupts inside the mess hall. Multiple rifles from the security team, firing on the table. Meredith is hit in the back, shoulder, neck, and head. Blood sprays across the food, across Doyle, across the people sitting next to her. More gunfire hits Geneva, a bullet striking her square in the side of the head and spraying a cloud of red mist and brain matter across the person beside her. Amid the screams, Walter is struck in the shoulder and falls to the ground, a bullet whizzes past Elaine close enough to part her hair and hits Woods square in the forehead, painting the wall behind him red with gore. Right beside Remi, Jasper is struck by several rounds fired from West’s rifle, clean and targeted shots. Blood sprays out his back and spatters to Remi’s cheeks and lips. These aren't random killings. They're too precise. They were chosen.

When the shooting is over, screams fill the air, and Don raises one hand to the guards and then slams his hands down on the tabletop. “Take Mr. Varlane to a fucking cell,” he screams, “and the rest of you— does anyone else need to be made into a fucking example!?

FUCK A MOTHERFUCKING DUCK. She can see Don is losing it. She can see it happening almost in slow motion, all of her hostage negotiation training of the cop years giving her that one moment of clarity before he has them start strafing the table. Elisabeth's hands are immediately on the back of Aurora's neck and Cassandra's neck and she shoves them down into their chairs and under the table even as the mayhem commences.

"Ground! Ground!" she shouts toward the others, hoping that Lucy and Lynette also can move fast enough to get the babies under the table. Given that they are all in chairs the best she can manage for herself is to put her head down on the table and pray to a God that she's not even sure exists anymore that her people don't get hit. That they aren't going to lose their people right here and now.

The screams of the room are muffled in her ears, but Elisabeth moved as fast as she could to protect the people within her physical reach. When it's over and done, she slowly raises her head and glances toward Kain and Ling with a grim expression, then her gaze flickers to her mother. Donald just signed his own death warrant, even if he doesn't know it — if she can't get to him, she damn sure knows one of the others will.

Eventually. Others will get to him eventually. Right now, with all of them in the crosshairs and with children on the floor, a charge towards Don would be suicidal at best.

Cassandra listens as Don starts to get more and more animated, seeming more and more like a kindergarten teacher at two o’clock on a monday after a long vacation. Cassandra can see the frustration building. This guy’s going to do something, and soon, and she’d much rather be out of range of something being thrown. Gunfire is the last thing she’s thinking about occurring.

And then she’s unexpectedly on the ground, with Aurora, with gunfire erupting all around her. Cassandra scrambles beneath the table, pulling Aurora close to her, covering the little girl’s head and ears with her hands, trying to hide her from the chaos that’s erupting around them. Thankfully, the table does shield her from a lot of the audible damage and, when the silence does come, it’s almost deafening. The only thing she can hear is the whimpering coming from Aurora, who’s scared out of her wits - for good reason, mind you.

At Destiny's quiet question, Roux turns a sympathetic eye towards the young woman, quickly leaning over to pour her a glass of wine before anyone can argue with her. It seems, to her, that everyone could use some wine right more, which she then follows by filling her own glass back to the top and… not passing around the bottle she's picked out. Not something she'd normally do, but that cheerfulness she had on display earlier seems to have largely faded.

When Else is mentioned, she as well peeks back up, a mildly hopeful look on her face - maybe she was someone she had been hoping would be with the group that had so recently - and, it seems rudely - arrived on their doorstep. Isabelle is cast as baleful a look as she can manage, though it largely fails at its purpose.

And then, all hell breaks loose. Roux screams, the darkness in the corners of the room beginning and shift in a reactionary manner, muzzlefire close to her muted and snuffed as she ducks downwards and under the table. She starts to sob almost immediately, the sound mixing in with gunfire and shouting as shadows rustle and reach around her and the chairs of those near her.

Ling is just staring into the distance between whomever may be across from her at this point. Her expression has gone blank at Magnes' sudden tirade, and she looks as ready to jump in and chide as the others had when the gunfire starts. It's probably unfortunate that her trained reaction is to jump to her feet and reach for one of her knives… but halfway through the motion, she remembers that they had been taken.

And this was probably exactly why.

Rather than become Don's next example, she is quick to raise her arms up in a motion of surrender and slowly lower herself back into her seat, looking over to Kain first to make sure he wasn't struck, and then angrily first to Magnes, and then to Don. Neither of them are making out of this unscathed, if she has anything to say about it.

A single brow arches slowly upward as Magnes speaks, and when Doyle tries to cover for him Devon slants a look there next. His head gives the smallest, most sutble of shakes, but too late or too long thought over, because the motion cuts almost as soon as it begins. As soon as Donald begins talking again. His eyes first snap to the director, watching with some kind of uneasy anticipation, and slowly his head turns to match the direction. He can tell, this is not going to go well.

Doctor Ford might try to leave his chair by standing, but the much younger man thinks to go the other direction. As Don continues talking, he slowly sinks in his chair. His lanky form is less inclined to disappearing easily, but legs fold until his nearly shoulders at the back of his chair by the time the guns begin reporting.

As hot warmth hits him from someone else, Dev lets himself drop from his chair and under the table completely. He presses himself close to the travelers, arms flung wide as though he might be seeking shelter within their numbers. But the looks he tosses away from those he manages to join and the way he presses them downward, he’s trying to keep himself between them and the gunfire. It’s a long second after it’s finished and gone silent before he’s pushing himself away.

Don starts to speak like she's expected him to – though he seems to have ramped it up since her daring escape – and Des starts to reach out under the table for Woods' hand. She tugs at it gently, like she wants to urge him to slide under the table with her, but they both sit there, still and listening at the horror of it.

There's an explosion. Several explosions. Destiny shoves Woods' shoulders and they both topple to the floor and stay there until it goes quiet, save for the sound of Don's screaming. Des slowly lifts her head from where she'd buried it into her guardian's chest. Her head feels warm, like something spilled on it. "Are you okay?" she whispers. Her eyes lift to his face.

Then she starts screaming. "Jimmy!! Jimmy, Jimmy, please wake up." Small hands paw at the man's slack and bloodied face, begging for some sign of life. She'd read crazy stories about people surviving head wounds. It's not impossible.

Except that it is.

Destiny starts to sob. "Dad…"

When Don indicates Ruiz for the portals it immediately clicks to the one who can no longer actually make portals that no, despite their seers and possibly even a cosmic being of some kind talking to this crazy dictator, he doesn’t know everything. But he doesn’t have time to really formulate that into a plan they can do anything with because those guns he had been concerned about suddenly show he had a right to be concerned.

At the start of the gunfire he quickly stands up rather than going down, sending the chair flying backwards and putting himself in a position that he hopes will keep them from firing in his general direction. Don said he needed the three of them. If he could keep them from shooting toward Lynette and his daughter and Odessa that would be preferable.

But then his eyes fall on Woods and Destiny and… he abandons that post after all, trusting that in that time Lynette would get herself and Evie under the table. Going to Destiny’s side, he puts a hand on her arm shoulder and then pulls on her, trying to hug her as he looks toward Odessa. Watching Woods die again probably hurt her just as much, but he knew what he was to this teen too.

Lynette stares at Don as he explains their roles in his plan for the future. She doesn't seem to think he's out of his mind, but rather she believes too easily that some sort of higher power has spoken to him. Her breathing hitches, her mind searching for something to say to stop what's coming.

She doesn't get there.

When the bullets start, she grabs Evie and curls around her, ducking against the table. It's over quickly, too quickly, and Lynette bushes her fingers through Evie's hair. "No mires, nena. No mires," she whispers to the girl, her voice rough.

Namiko makes a strangled noise at the attack and slides under the table for cover. She's had enough of the gunfire for a while— even before they got here. She looks out from her spot near the floor, watching bodies slump as they're hit.

Across the table, Nat doesn't seem surprised at Don's reaction to the speech. When blood and brains spray across her plate, she sets her fork down and stays still for the duration. Once the silence hits, she slowly stands to her feet. "Director? Permission to escort the families to their quarters?"

She doesn't glance toward the Gerkens, although she is definitely rephrasing their request from moments before the gunfire.

As Don speaks, Remi quietly gulps the second glass of wine down, a stony expression on her face. She’s just reaching for the bottle to pour herself a third cup, when suddenly the chaos erupts — and Geneva’s brain matter and blood is suddenly all over her. She then turns in time to watch as Jasper, too, is caught by the gunfire, blue eyes widening.

She goes down with Jasper, her arms wrapping around his shoulders, and she screams. Crouched beside him, she watches the light leave the eyes of the last person she had in this world, and those screams turn into sobs, the former starlet holding him as if that will bring him back from where he is now.

Everything. She’s lost everything now. Bloody hands paw at the man’s face, the woman planting kisses on his face — she knows it won’t help, but she’s not exactly thinking clearly at the moment. Her lover was just gunned down. “Non … non non non, vous n'étiez pas censé y aller. Tu étais censé être ici, mon rocher, mon amour, comme tu l'as toujours été. S'il te plait, ne pars pas, reste avec moi…” She sobs, begging in her native tongue.

Just a heartbeat before the gunfire starts, Lance sees what’s coming. He’s seen firing squads before, seen weapons brought up with purpose by men very much like these in the past.

He’s seen one of the women at the table with them cut down by those same men.

In the same movement he’s pushing off the chair and kicking it back and out from under him, reaching out to grab Lucy — and Darlene! — as she heads for the floor as well, dropping down under the level of the table and out of the direct line of fire. Not that the table would provide much cover, but it’s better than nothing. He hears the screams, sees the blood on the floor, and there’s a knife in his hand before the gunfire ceases, held in white knuckles, eyes wide as he holds deadly still.

Not a full execution, then.

Meredith!” It’s a bellow of pain and horror from Eric Doyle as the woman beside him hits the table like a broken puppet hurled off a stage, her blood staining the side of his face as well as the table. He reaches out desperately for her shoulder, tears already smearing crimson down his cheeks, his other hand shaking as he reaches to touch her face, to lift her head, hoping against sanity that she’s alive. Part of the skull shears off in a tumble of bloodied hair, scalp and bone as he tries, and he lets go suddenly to allow it to fall with a wet thud back to the dinner plate. He stares at her with widened eyes that seem all the more white with the face around them stained red, not even noticing the rest of the carnage for several long heartbeats.

Then, slowly, his head turns to look towards Don. “You…”

He lunges forward, trying claw his way across the table, snarling out with a curl of his lips like a maddened hound “You son of a bitch, you killed her! You killed my Meredith! I’ll feed you your own intestines you twisted murdering lunatic! I’ll make you dig them out yourself eat them with salt, and I’ll— “

While the young adults all scream out, Lucy immediately gets down under the table without even a moment’s hesitation, wrapping her arms around Lene protectively, especially the little girl’s ears. Lance didn’t even need to move her, but she’s still comforted by the hand. Under the table they find themselves eye to eye with the blonde woman who had been across from them. She’s making gestures, but they’re crude. Not like the partial hand talk they had been learning back in their world, but her gestures definitely seem to be saying: Stay down. Baby Lene is crying. That mindless scream only babies can do.

Ashleigh even puts her hand on Lance’s wrist, as if to keep him from using said knife. With her free hand she points up, as if to indicate them and then points at her ears. They are listening. Then she presses her hand to her lips. Quiet. From where Gerard is sitting they can see he’s grasping his hands together until they were white. He did not participate in the shooting.

Mala and Denisa both scream in shock as it happened, even spewing unswallowed food on the table tops, though thankfully that than their own blood. They get down quickly too, as many others have, until their eyes fall on Meredith, who had been practically their mother. Denisa starts to crawl for her immediately, but Mala stays still, just staring. They are both crying before they even realize they are crying, tears rolling down their cheeks. When Doyle moves, though, Mala suddenly gets her wits back together and launches after him, grasping onto him tightly as if to try and hold him back. If she had had her strength, she probably could have. As it is she’s just clinging to him. “No, no! We can’t lose you too, please!”

Silas sits very still as the guns go off, very still indeed, and for a brief moment he says a prayer.

Then the gunfire is over. For a long moment, Silas remains unmoving, his face expressionless as he sees the casualties. Meredith, the sweet lady who'd helped warm him after his surprise dip into the ocean, is dead. Geneva, the girl who'd joined him briefly at the craps table, is dead. Woods is dead, and Destiny is crying over his corpse. Jasper, the goddamn second best poker face he's ever run into and the rock onboard the Sayonara when shit got rough, dead.

Silas, on the other hand, is still among the living.

Again.

Doyle seems like he's fucking lost it; Silas can respect the sentiment. He kinda likes Doyle, and he says a little prayer that his kids are able to get him restrained, or that maybe Kenner's had enough blood for the evening; he makes a note to visit him later, if he's alive. Remi's falling to pieces; he'll definitely have to pay her a visit after dinner, if she doesn't get killed between now and then. He really hopes she doesn't; what'd happened to the Sayonara had been terrible enough without her dying, too.

For now, though, his priority is the same.

He slowly raises his cup, letting his hand shake a bit, and drains the wine. "No sirree. I get you loud and clear," he says, loudly; his voice rings hollow in his ears after all the gunfire. He makes sure to inject a bit of an audible quaver and some extra haggardness into his voice as he speaks, to demonstrate that he's been suitably cowed. It's a good bit of performance art; he takes a moment to congratulate himself.

Silas has to keep his mind busy, has to keep himself going through the motions, because it's hard for him to think right now; he's having to work very hard to hang on to all of his well-learned politesse, because this little bit of utter horseshit has catapulted Silas straight into that perfectly calm lake of incandescent nuclear fire that lays on the far side of rage.

But now is not the time to indulge in his worst nature, no matter how fulfilling and how richly deserved it might be. Murder can come later, when he's had time to think about it. Time to make sure he can get the job done right, with every last fucking ounce of care and respect and, above all, thoroughness that Donald Kenner deserves.

Silas is a craftsman, after all, and this is going to be his birthday present to himself. Also his Christmas present to everyone else at the table. Feliz Navidad, fellow travellers.

Shaw pauses in eating as the conversation goes on, setting utensils down in favor of grasping one of Isa's hands with his, giving it a soft squeeze. Dark eyes look around at the faces about the table, as if to commit the moment to some moment in his mind. Shaw swallows.

The plastic fork snaps, and he looks up as guns lift. Then, he's bolted out of his seat and beelined for Edward Ray as gunfire and bloodshed ensues. Whatever the impact, it's likely a rough one. And meant to cover for the slipping of a piece of folded paper into one of the other man's pockets.

Just as the gunfire starts, Odessa disappears beneath the table, arms up and shielding her head and listening for the deafening sounds to stop. Or for a bullet to find its way into her and cause everything to stop.

It's the first that happens.

She doesn't have to survey the carnage to know what's happened. The moment she hears her double begin to wail inconsolably, sobbing into her brother's arms, Odessa knows that James Woods is gone. For the the third time, she's lost the love of her life and there was nothing she could do.

Despair makes her stomach drop and bile burns in the back of her throat but never quite becomes more of a threat than that. Anger courses through her and keeps her from coming apart at her already fraying seams. Odessa takes a deep breath and counts to three before she crawls out from beneath the table and makes her way to Walter's side. She's still a doctor, after all.

Grabbing the cleanest napkins within reach, she presses them to Trafford's wound with hands that only quake faintly with barely restrained emotion. "You're going to be okay," she assures him in a soft voice. At least, he will be if there isn't another round of fire incoming.

Miles opens his mouth — probably in order to make some amusing (to him) quip — but before he can, the shooting starts. “Fuck!”

Notably, he does not duck right away. He just sits there for a second or two, though as he does several expressions flicker across his face. Shock, fear, of course…concentration…and then more of the second one mixed with sudden awareness. Oh yeah. No hopping out of this one.

Then he ducks.

Magnes immediately reacts when the gunfire starts, jumping to tackle Elaine out of her chair just as a bullet whizzes by, covering her on the ground. Just as the the guards are coming to take him, he leans in and whispers to her. "I'm sorry. I told you this had to happen, I just… I didn't realize it would be this bad, but…"

As he's pulled off of her, he doesn't turn his eyes away, he looks to everyone who was hit, the lives that Don took just to prove a point.

No matter what he's been told by supposed pragmatic leaders or monsters like Kazimir, losing people, very real people that were loved and cared for by someone, has never been an acceptable loss for any sort of plan, no matter how desperate and necessary he finds it.

But any sort of hatred or resentment that might come later, maybe even a loss of respect, that is an acceptable loss, an acceptable sacrifice.

Pride doesn't mean anything if they have to be stuck in a fishbowl forever.

He doesn't fight the guards, he just resigns himself to it. Despite if anyone was going to help or not, he looks to Elisabeth and shakes his head. His normal first instinct, historically, has always been to fight off guards. This is probably one of few times she's ever seen him simply let himself get captured.

Bullets whizzing by, screams of death. The kinds of screams that Isabelle is the most comfortable with now. The people who are killed get a casual look from under the table after she witnesses her man diving towards Edward Ray, "Shahid the fuck!" He's apparently fine and so is Nami even the teleporter is given a once over though she hates herself for that reflex, a friend of Namiko's.

None of the people shot dead were people she was close too, instead of a heartbroken sob or a fearful look she looks at Don like she would herself in this moment, capable of anything. A wild animal. Except he didn't turn on the kids, while the pyrokinetic ponders what sort of weakness that shows she gets up from under the table, raising her flask to her lips and tipping it back as debris falls around her. "How intense."

Magnes being taken away cannot be helped for now. The others are looked over before she's leaning against the table, sipping from her flask. "Party's over it seems."

Only one person at the table wasn't surprised by the gunfire, other than Don. Only one person didn't flinch when the bullets began firing. Only one person continued eating their dinner through the barrage of bullets. Ruia Henrique slowly stands up from her seat, flicking a look over to Eric and with an even swifter flick of her wrist sends a bone knife into the table beside him. “Quiet down little rabbit,” she says with a pump of her brows, “or you'll end up in the stew.”

Ruia doesn't have a drop of blood on her, not a hair out of place. In fact, she may not have even been at the table before the shooting began. As a teleporter, her entrance may have been covered by the chaos. She walks around the table, giving a meaningful look of watch him, or else to Denise and Mala before coming to stand beside West. Ruia leans up, tousling the soldier’s hair and placing a kiss to his temple, then turns her attention over to Don expectantly.

“Get him out of here,” Don splutters, frustratedly, as he motions to the guards grabbing Magnes by the arms and hauling him off. Elaine stares up with wide, horrified eyes as Magnes is dragged away, lower jaw trembling and blood covering one side of her face from— she isn't even sure whose blood it is.

Don slides his tongue over his teeth, looking down at the bodies, over at Odessa tending to a grimacing and snarling Walter, then back up to the gathering. “Alright. Alright,” he's somewhat rattled, frustrated with himself. “Let them collect their fucking wounded, have the injured taken down to Ford’s lab. Take the dead to the morgue, let them— mourn if they must.”

Don slides his tongue across the inside of his cheek, looking distracted. In the same moment, a stunned and trembling Edward Ray fishes a piece of paper out of his pocket enough to see that its there but not enough to read it. He looks back at Shaw, befuddled, then looks down and away in silence.

Kain, arms around Cassandra and Elisabeth as an additional human shield to Aurora, looks up to find Ling and meet her stare with his own. Alive. There's relief in Kain’s eyes, even though he's shaking from head to toe and stunned into silence.

“I'm not a monster,” Don blurts out, “but— there's got to be order.” Sweeping a hand across the top of his head to take off his knit cap, Don paces just a bit. “Make— make sure they get private quarters. They're not to be remanded, let them— just let them roam.” He looks up. “You can travel freely on A-Ring. You— fucking know what will happen if you test my fucking generosity again!”

Snapping back on himself after he raises his voice, Don winces and scrubs a hand at his cheek. “Rosen, take care of this,” Don mumbles, looking to Carina who is crawling across the floor toward Elisabeth.

Nathalie nods to Don, then turns her attention toward the table. "Families with children can follow me. I'll show you all to your quarters." She looks at Devon, then puts a hand on his shoulder. "Escort the others?" Her brow furrows, a worried look crossing her face meant just for him. She doesn't want the others to do it. Just them.

Lynette is quick to stand up, still hiding Evie's face against her shoulder. She steps over to Destiny and Ruiz, adding in a low voice, "Destiny, come with us. Okay? Javi, can you help her up?" Not being here sounds like a good plan. "Come stay with us." Because she does not need to be alone. None of them do, but her focus is on her young sister.

Namiko is slow to crawl out from under the table, slow to get to her feet, but once she's up, she looks for Miles. "What did we get into?" she asks, almost to no one, but for that glance in her friend's direction. Fighting the Sentinel might have been a better choice, although there is a look to Isa and Shaw to confirm why she didn't stay behind. "Shaw, can we go? I don't want to see all this," she says to the pair. Of course, there's no way she's not going to see this over and over again, every time she closes her eyes.

Silas knows a good exit cue when he hears it. Someone's trying to get Des up and going; that's good. Silas's little prayer for Kenner's bloodthirst to have been sated seems to have come true, but the sooner they're gone the less likely it is for anything else horrible to happen. He stuffs a last bite of fish down, then ups and pads his way around the table to where Remi is… going into full meltdown, it appear. Weeping over her first mate's corpse, splattered in the blood and brains of one of her other surviving crew members, because the third had to go and mouth off at the lunatic who runs this nuthouse. 'Not a monster'? Jesus, man! he thinks disgustedly.

Donald Kenner's a matter for another day, though. "Remi," he says quietly, placing a hand on her shoulder. "Remi. We need to go now," he says gently.

What renders Elisabeth still is not exactly terror — though there's plenty of that too. Too many years of adrenaline and training to deal with it are behind her for her ever to quite lose the skill of channeling it instead of freezing. She's still because her trembling muscles are cradling her daughter tight to her body and her lizard hindbrain is calculating the faster escape routes. The weight of Kain's arm and shoulder across her back is the only thing that keeps her in place instead of scuttling for the far end of the table away from the weapons with the little girl. It's basically a matter of how best to survive.

When the shooting is done and the Fucking Lunatic in Charge speaks, the blonde raises her head just slightly to check on who is okay and who isn't. She can't tell whose shaking is worse, hers, Cassandra and Aurora's, or Kain's! Meeting his eyes briefly and then seeking out Cassandra's, Ling's, Lynette's, Lance's … Okay. Elaine's terror has her distantly worried, but she's not immune to the shock of what just happened and can't do more than choke out, "We need everyone." Slowly the mental headcount begins to make some coherent sense, a little at a time.

She bundles Aurora in tight to her body and slowly climbs out from her cover at the edge of the table beneath the shelter Kain was providing carrying her, keeping the little girl's face firmly away from the blood and carnage as he helps them up. In a detached way, she wonders if they'll all be close together… still, she doesn't say anything at all once they're in motion toward whatever quarters they're being put in. She watches in that cocoon of calm as her mother, too, gains her feet slowly.

As Donald speaks, explains his actions, Remi’s sobs quiet. One hand reaches out, touching the hand of the fallen Geneva, though she remains pretty firmly glued to Jasper. The fingers of her other hand trace over his face as she quakes in silent sobs, shaking her head and mumbling barely intelligible words in French.

“Ce n'est pas comme ça que nous sommes supposés être…” She softly cries, stroking Jasper’s brow one last time. She initially shrugs Silas’ touch away, but then slowly stands, her touch lingering on her lover’s face. For a moment, it seems as if she’ll quietly leave without a fuss.

Then, her eyes find Magnes as he’s being hauled away, and her expression changes.

Fils de pute!” She suddenly lunges for him, ignoring the armed guards and aiming a punch right for his jaw — if she’s able to get that far, even. “Son of a bitch! If you hadn’t — if you had just shut your fucking mouth, they wouldn’t be dead!” Her ire for Donald and company can wait — right now, she really wants to hurt Magnes for what he’s done, and she’s not entirely in control of herself after two glasses of wine and watching her friend and her lover die.

All told, she makes it about ten steps toward Magnes in her screaming, spitting frenzy. Sometime between the tenth and eleventh step, there's a displacement of air at Remi’s back, followed by a swift blow to the back of her skull from Ruia’s elbow. The teleporter drops the former actress with a single blow, sending Remi crumpling into unconsciousness.

Ruia turns, knife in hand, and looks to Don with one brow raised. Don, exhausted, just throws his hands in the air. “Throw her in the fucking brig too. Anyone else want a fucking concussion?

Languidly, Ruia looks down to Remi, raising her shoulders in a shrug. Given Remi’s outburst, the other guards keep their rifles trained on the rest of the travelers, reminding them of the disimbalance of power on display. “I like her,” Ruia muses, “she's spunky.”

Two more security detail stow their firearms, crouching down to grab Remi and haul her away.

The pyrokinetic freezes as that teleporter appears, "Are you fucking.." Isabelle looks over at Shaw as her expression grows dark and her hand curls into a fist. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Little rabbit. A tremor runs up the side of her body and Isabelle flashes back to her "home" timeline encounter.. Brenda and the most recent where the woman before her's counterpart had stolen Shahid from her. They didn't talk about that time too much.

Slowly she looks at Namiko and her anger breaks, she can't get herself killed and leave her and Shaw alone.. she had a family. The realization dawns on the woman and it almost sends Isabelle into a panic. She's had friends… Card.. that could "hold her accountable" but this.. felt different. A duty. "Yo," calling out to who Isabelle has deemed she and Shahid's Nemesis through the timelines. There's just one important detail she still doesn't know. "What's your name?" A slow lift of her eyebrow as she gives the woman a once over, mentally checking over what she has just witnessed. West, her bottom bitch. Check.

Ruia raises her brows and blows a kiss in Isabelle’s direction with a wink. “You can call me daddy, sweetheart.” Ruia says with a laugh before disappearing in a blast of displaced air.

During the director’s… reminder about the rules, Devon pulls himself out completely from beneath the table. He drags a hand through his hair, giving it a toss at the end that settles the locks behind his shoulders. One hand reaches for his chair, perhaps to return to his seat, but the thought stalls when Nathalie touches his shoulder.

Without looking at her, he nods and motions for those guests, all of them really, to file out the way they came in. “Everyone’s coming,” he gruffs quietly at Elisabeth’s protest. The look that follows warns against any further delay. Especially after Ruia’s show of force following Don’s need for order. He tugs at sleeves and elbows, none of his actions rude or forceful but reminders. Just keep moving.

"I know." is all Magnes says in response to Remi. There's a pained look in his eye, but it's clear that he's trying not to say much right now, for whatever reason. "Can you just take me to my cell?" he asks, looking to the guards keeping him restrained.

Numbly, Cassandra stands with Elisabeth and Aurora, holding the little girl just as much as Elisabeth is, glomming on because, dammit, she needs some comfort too. Being suppressed sucks - things don’t feel right and the senses she had that could otherwise be tapped into just aren’t there anymore - but what sucks the most is how it seems that the global suppression field doesn’t interact with certain blessed people, either via immunity or fiat from on high.

Cassandra stifles a sob as Remi explodes towards Magnes and is quickly taken down by an elbow. She was expressing what they were all thinking. Truth be told, the initial thought that this place was manageable, and even with the megalomaniac running the show and the gun brigade at his beck and call, Cassandra assumed that things would work out. Those horrors could be dealt with, by hook or by crook, by careful planning and luck, or simply by appealing to the humanity that was left in the people involved. Indoctrination in hatred and blind obedience…Cassandra now realizes that she had no idea what they were getting into, and if there’s even a chance they’ll get out of it.

She moves as directed, taking small, shuffling steps, almost slipping in one of the smears of gore on the floor, skidding, losing her balance for a second and very nearly falling down before catching herself. She can’t bring herself to look at any of the dead. “Don’t look, Aurora. Just concentrate on Mummy’s heartbeat, okay? Please…”

From where he’s holding onto Destiny’s arm, Ruiz gently extracts her from her father with a soft soothing whisper, completely focused on her for the moment and not the chaos and oddities around him. “Des, come with us.” He won’t lie and say it will be okay, but he does pull her away and against him. He’ll even carry her if he has to. He may be compact, but he’s strong enough to do that if it’s needed. He nods to Lynette, grateful that she understands that much, and moves to follow her, bringing Destiny along.

There’s only the smallest glance to make sure that no one else died when he wasn’t looking, but he really only lingers on those who came from his world. And Odessa, who he looks sadly toward. She’s a grown woman who has already watched the man who just died die once before. He will go to her after, but he feels she’s more emotionally equipped to handle it than this younger version of herself.

Under the table, Ashleigh finally speaks, as her husband scoots his chair back to stand. “Come on, we’ll get you to your rooms, both of you. You’ll be safe there as long as you don’t cause any problems.” It’s said in a tone that is trying to convey that she knows safe isn’t the right word. Not after what happened. But safer than staying under the table with the bodies being dragged out.

"No…" Destiny whimpers as she's finally pried from the body of her adoptive father. "No, please…" Her hands paw for a moment at Woods' clothes, trying to find purchase so that they won't be parted. She'd give anything for this to be some sort of horrible nightmare. Some kind of bad joke. A misunderstanding. Anything but what this really is.

In the end, he has to carry her. Des' legs are too weak to hold her upright, such is the weight of her grief. Her arms loop around his shoulders and her face buries against his neck, tears dampening the collar of his coat.

From her position with Walter on the floor, Odessa catches Mateo's eye and gives him the barest of nods. No, she isn't alright, but she has few options but to move forward from here, and still strength enough to do it. With aid, she gets Walter to his feet and lets him wrap his good arm around her shoulders, one of her arms looping around his waist to keep him steady until they can get where they need to go.

Right now, they all need to stay alive.

It’s only the desperate pleas of Mala that end the snarled threats of Eric Doyle, letting himself be pulled back from the edge of lunging across the table and eating a bullet in exchange. Tears are streaming freely down his face, bulging and reddened eyes fixed on Kenner as teeth shut on the invictives rising like a gorge in his throat.

Slowly he allows himself to be pulled back, his lips quivering as he sees the still form of Meredith once more— turning with a sob, closing his eyes and leaning heavily on Mala to let her lead him wherever they’re going. Head low, one shaking hand clenched in a white-knuckled fist by his side.

Beneath the table, Lance’s grip on his knife tightens as fingers touch his wrist; making steady eye contact with the woman that they called by the same last name as him, the awkward hand-motions getting the message across. He nods slowly, drawing his hand back after a moment and sliding the knife back into its hiding place. Reaching out, he gently smooths a hand on Lene’s back, trying to reassure her.

Another nod to Ashleigh, then, and a simple motion to her with his hand. After you.

Still crying, Denisa finally pulls her eyes away from Meredith’s body and stands up, looking over to where Mala still holds onto their father figure. And the only remaining parental figure now. She wants to say something, but it just comes out in choked sobs and chattering teeth, pulling Mala’s coat tighter around her as if trying to get it to hug her. Mala just continues to cling to Doyle, pushing her face into his clothes for a moment when he has stopped fighting. They’re both going to need each other’s strength to get through this.

As Ashleigh gets out from under the table, she looks over at her husband with a hopeful glance that is met with a nod from her husband. His face isn’t hopeful. It’s strained, but he motions them to follow him, including Lucy, who darts horrified looks at the blood splatter and the bodies and the two getting taken away to the brig. She’s glad that Lance didn’t try to use that knife and that the woman who shares his name didn’t tell on him for having it, either.

Miles gets up when Namiko does, his face quite a bit whiter than it normally is. He doesn’t answer her with spoken words — for once — but instead just shrugs, and shakes his head a little bit as he starts to follow after Nathalie and everyone else who is leaving. A brief glance around, before he turns away again, squaring his shoulders and not looking back.

Slowly, Roux peeks up from underneath the table. Her eyes stay on Magnes as he's being dragged away, before moving to look at the others in turn. She's stopped sobbing at least, wiping at her eyes as she rises back up to her feet. She'd gotten a good look at the others who had joined her below, particularly Destiny. With an uneven expression, she angles her eyes down towards the ground, and then scratches at the back of her neck.

"Would've been nice to just… have dinner," she mutters, more directed at the travellers than anyone else. Eyes move to Ruia, and then over to Devon. Finally, she settles on Don and lets out a long sigh. "I'll, uh. I'll get cleanup started." She means the food of course, not the bodies. She doesn't even want to look at them. That can be West's job.

Ling, having confirmed that Kain and the various kids are still alive, clenches a hand into a fist. But rather than let out some sort of threat, some ambiguous quip, or- really anything, she at first chooses to keep quiet. At least, until she finally turns to Kain, to Liz and others, to help them up to their feet.

"Well. Being cooped up away from the world?" Eyes flick over to the security. "Something familiar at least."

Shaw's rounded eyes blink as he stands slowly from his initial knockdown of Edward, pulling away in a retreat only to freeze in place at the sound of none other than Ruia's voice. Her pet name spoken in that tone immediately yanks a buried trauma from the back of his mind and stuffs it into a knot in his already speechless throat.

Not until Ruia disappears does he startle back into an action, and that is to stumble back to Isa, Namiko and Miles' vicinity. Though it seems that terror has stolen most of his words away, the man utters "no" and "huntress" amidst the audible whispers. Namiko's address to him barely manages to pull Shaw's attention, his answer coming in a small head-bobbing movements in agreement. The sooner they're out of the room of carnage the better.

In the end, when all of the survivors of Donald Kenner’s massacre are ushered out of the mess hall, only the corpses remain. Blood is already growing dark and tacky on the walls, streaking down across metal and tile. Bits of hair and bone where loved ones once stood. Food cast aside and ruined by senseless slaughter. The fluorescent lights in the ceiling flicker and stutter, a power surge from somewhere else in the arcology.

Long after everyone has left, Don’s silhouette re-appears in the doorway, looking at the carnage he’d wrought. No one has moved the bodies yet, but they will, soon. He takes a few steps into the room, pulling his knit cap off of his head, holding it to his chest. Jaw trembling, Don looks around the room and shakes his head, eyes welling with tears and a keening sound building up in the back of his throat. Finally, when he’s sure no one is around to hear him, he drops into a crouch on the floor and presses the soft fabric of the hat to his mouth and breaks down into shuddering sobs.

Eyes wrenched shut, Don gags and sobs, hands trembling and face beat red with eyes puffy and cheeks slick with tears.

{Quiet your aching heart.} Comes a whisper over his shoulder, and the color drains from Don’s face. He looks up, toward the sound, and there is not but an afterimage of someone burned into his eyes, a blurry black and green silhouette like the sun burned into his retinas, given a human shape.

{It will all be over soon.} The voice whispers, lifting an intangible hand to Don’s cheek. His eyes are fixed up on the blurred entity’s face…

{The resurrection is at hand.}

…and a pair of gold eyes.

entity_icon.gif


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