All the World's a Stage


elaine_icon.gif rue_icon.gif sable_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Also featuring:

delgado_icon.gif linda2_icon.gif

Scene Title All the World's a Stage
Synopsis The Ferry's scouting party investigates the final property on Delia's list: an abandoned theatre in the Bronx that is not as abandoned as they thought.
Date February 25, 2011

The Bronx

If Sable experiences any pleasure from being right, then she'll be tickled by the tarp shelter she, Elaine and Rue pass on their way through the narrow alley that divides the old Stagehouse Theatre in the Bronx from the run-down grocery store beside it, and while their destination might not have seen use for perhaps a decade before the bomb, its neighbor is still struggling, and the smell of fish and produce about to turn wafts out from an open door covered in a flimsy plastic sheet to keep the snow from blowing inside.

Not that the snow is doing much blowing right now. It's a clear, if gray, day — slate sky pristine and sun beating down white on the ice, but crystals that glitter and light warming faces through windows are deceptive. It only looks like the weather might be taking a turn for spring. Bitter cold bites at naked ears, noses and numbs mouths, making it difficult to talk, and the old woman bundled up under the tarp knows it. A scarf obscures the lower half of her face, and she sticks hands bound in fingerless gloves under her arms to protect them from being exposed to the open air.

She probably has a reason for not being inside, but that reason isn't because the side door is bolted shut with a length of chain. Someone has left it propped open with a cement block, but only enough for one of the women to slip her fingers through the gap and pull it the rest of the way on old, creaking hinges made sticky by rust.

It's only a few degrees warmer in the theatre itself. A long hallway leads deeper inside the building, presumably to the stage and orchestra pit where people can gather in the open. There's a smell like smoke in the air and the carpet under their feet is soiled, damp. Over the course of the last few months, people have tracked more snow inside than there is gathered in street's gutters now.

An Epicurean of the first order, Sable takes pleasure whatever there is to take pleasure from. That being right is one of her favorite pleasures is just good luck. Bwaha.

Of course, that she was correct in thinking that New York City's teeming unwashed might be just a few steps ahead of the Ferry - mostly of and from the housed whatever their current circumstances - in the matter of finding somewhere that provides basic shelter isn't cause for celebration as such. Sable remembers living like that. Her pride in having grown up rough is really just compensation for how rough growing up was. Carving out a niche to fall asleep in is a virtue born wholly of necessity, if indeed virtue it can be called.

The yellow eyed woman glances back at her party, puffy winter jacket making her smallness even more child-like, belying the way she has, in classic form, charged ahead to take charge. Bossy would be unkind, but not necessarily inaccurate. "We play nice, eh?" Sable suggests, grabbing hold of the edge of the door and pausing as she addresses her compatriots, "don' talk down t' 'em, 'n' don't act like authorities 'r nothin'. Elaine, darlin', they don' talk English, you step right on in 'n' let 'em know we don' mean no trouble."

Elaine doesn't like being cold. It reminds her too much of a few long nights she didn't have anywhere to sleep but somewhere like this theater. She can't say much for having a lot of experience being out in the land of the homeless. She shoves her hands into the pockets of her brown wool coat, eyes scanning the door and Sable both. "I can try. If I don't know the language, it might take me a little bit so hopefully they're patient enough." Fingers crossed, they'll be one of the major ethnicities present in New York. Those language, at least, she knows.

"Am I the only one who thinks this looks totally promising, while at the same time completely forboding?" Rue asks as steps past Sable to pass through the door. "At least groceries wouldn't be far?" Though a dubious look cast toward the store next door shows she's questioning whether or not that may be the best place to patronize. Once inside, her head tilts back so she can survey the theatre at large. Her read messenger bag is unclipped on one side to facilitate reaching in for her flashlight, though she doesn't turn it on just yet.

There comes a shout at the end of the hall, followed by the sound of a door banging open, and before the women can process what it is they've just heard, a man rounds the corner at a high enough speed that his shoulder bounces off the wall when he doesn't turn tightly enough. It doesn't stop him — stumbling he surges forward on long, limber legs and barks something at them on the way past in a language that neither Sable nor Rue recognizes, but one that Elaine knows well and can identify based off a few short syllables bitten off in his haste.

He does not stay to talk. As soon as he reaches the door the women just came through, he explodes out into the snow and plows through the plastic sheet into the grocery store. Their last view of him is a frantic claw and grasp as he rips the sheet off him, untangling it from his limbs, and disappears behind a crate of navel oranges.

Sable watches the man's frantic flight with understandable perplexity, blinking thrice before turning to Elaine, expression imploring. "Whazzat anythin' 't all, 'r w's he jus' talkin' crackhead?" is her question, stated indelicately but honestly for that.

Thank goodness for small things. Elaine recognizes the clipped syllables, staring after the man as he hurtles himself away from them. "«We aren't here for any inspection, we're just looking for somewhere safe!»" She calls in Dutch, although the man fleeing probably won't hear it, but those nearby might. Her gaze flickers to Sable. "They think we're here for an 'inspection'. There's not some kind of code word or something that drifters know means we're friendly or something, is there?" Well, Sable is kind of in more familiar territory than Elaine.

"…Going with completely foreboding on this one," Rue decides after she dances out of the way of the man's path. Regardless, she doesn't actually show any outward trepidation, even keeping her tone cheery. She adjusts the lay of her scarf around her neck and lower half of her face, obscuring the mask there, while matching purple earmuffs cover the elastic keeping it snug around her ears.

The explanation from Elaine does set Rue a little more at ease. And then it doesn't. She starts off the direction the man came from, moving at a clip not quite as quick as his was, but speed is motivated by curiosity.

The hallway winds around the corner and ends at a set of double doors still open — they must be the sound the women heard before the man's abrupt appearance. Pieces of plaster are sprinkled across the carpet where one of the doors hit the wall hard enough to dislodge a piece of it, flaking the paint. The closer she draws, the more she can see of the room on the other side— if it can even be called a room at all. It's more of a cavern with high, curved ceilings, with thin beams of sunlight bleeding through sections of roof that caved in during the winter storms of the previous year. Exposed rafters provide perches for a dense flock of anxiously muttering city pigeons some fifty or more feet above Rue's head.

There are rows of seats covered in blue velvet that end where the balcony does, revealing that the women are actually on the second floor of the theatre, and that the stage and orchestra pit are built under the ground below where the basement would otherwise be.

It's an usual setup, but not the most remarkable thing she can see from her vantage point. Down below, soldiers armed with rifles have herded a small group of street people up against the wall, and although Rue cannot make out the directions that the soldiers are providing them with as they're patted down, coats removed and pockets turned inside-out, she can clearly hear the voices of the two individuals standing at the edge of the balcony, both of them in Frontline uniforms but no Horizon armor. One of them is a woman, tall and lithe, with her dark hair pulled back into a high ponytail. The other is a man with dusky skin and broad shoulders, his body language drawn and guarded, verging on uncomfortable.

"He don't expect them to really have papers," the man says. "Or cards. Shit. We just gotta stand here?"

"Maybe. Maybe one of them is Evolved. Then we get to do our thing."

"You mean your thing."

"Naw, y' c'n tell a drifter jus' by th' look, really," Sable says, with a small shrug, eying the direction the man fled from before glancing down the passage from which he came. Foreboding or not, they have to press on, as Rue herself clearly understands, and Sable rolls her shoulder.

"Really," she dons a crooked smile, as she saunters after Rue, "y'all wanted not t' scare 'em, shoulda dressed less classy."

Not that Sable looks totally gutter-snipey herself. She's not decked out, but she has the clean, well fed look of someone who sleeps in a proper bed and has proper meals and actually showers from time to time. Her smell (or lack thereof) would really give her away as, at best, a street escapee.

Speaking of odors, though…

"Oh shit… I smell bacon," Sable murmurs, very low, when she comes to the edge of the balcony and spies the round up below. Yellow eyes dart between flanking redheads. "Fuckin' guess this is th' inspection, huh? Jumpin' Jesus 'n' cartwheelin' Christ uh…" she suddenly realizes that seeing means risking being seen, and she ducks behind the lip of the balcony, turning to slide to a sit. She makes motions - get down!

"Nothing wrong with what I'm wearing, and Rue looks just fine too, thank you," Elaine mutters, heading after Sable and Rue to spy the current situation below. "And I thought we were the inspection." She crawls down low, taking in a deep breath. "Right, so this looks routine. No armor, right? So they aren't expecting trouble. Just checking to make sure people are registered and stuff. I'm not liking this, though. Seems like this place is too hot, so to speak…" She says, voice low.

Rue's mouth ticks faintly when Sable criticises her for not dressing shabbier, and Elaine defends them all. But the good humour and the blood both drain from her freckled face when she spots the scene below. She's quick to drop down against the side of the balcony, then coming to lean up so she can peek down at the inspection.

"Don't be stupid," Rue whispers to Elaine. "This isn't going to be pretty. You hear them talking down there." It takes a great effort to keep herself from beginning to panic. She turns her gaze to Sable and asks their de facto leader, "Should we run?"

"What's the plan for the ones who don't have any identification?" asks the man as, up on the stage, a young woman is pulled away from the wall by an arm and forced down onto her knees and told to place her hands behind her bed while her backpack is searched for weaponry and the very sort of card the Frontliner refers to.

His companion gives a shrug of her shoulders. "Don't know," she says. "Don't care. Far as I know we load them up into the truck around front and ship them across the water. Staten Island's as good a place as any for them— or it makes the city look better, anyway. He'll probably have them tested. Heller. Maybe one or two of them will turn out to be useful."

"That's cold, Linda."

Vagrancy does not lend itself to heroism, favoring survival over risk, running over fighting. For all Sable's outward belligerence, she's fled from way more actual conflicts than she's stuck around to see through. This sensibility must account for Sable's immediate instinct - to split, to put this place in their figurative rear view mirrors. Not one for poker faces, this consideration flits over Sable's features visibly for any who are actually looking to her for bold leadership, but it does not remain. The thought of flight itself is driven off as more words filter up from the FRONTLINErs below.

The part about 'loading' and 'shipping', in particular, catches Sable's attention.

"Motherfucker…" the yellow eyed girl breathes, corners of her lips tugging down, gaze cutting between her two slim escorts, "y'all hearin' what I'm hearin'? Dunno 'bout our first purpose comin' here, but we can't sit by, let whatall's happenin' happen. Roundin' folks up? Shit…"

Her dark head lifts up over the lip of the balcony, slowly this time, to spy on the uniformed pair below, man and woman. Eyes narrowed into ocher slits, she motions behind cover for her companions to join her in careful vantage. Her voice is kept hushed, behind the cusp of the balcony railing - the acoustics in here are too good not to take care when speaking.

"We gotta find this truck they're talkin' 'bout, spring folks loose. Don' wan' this t' turn violent, though," Sable wrinkles her nose, "we ain't exactly th' fuckin' SWAT team, eh?"

"I'm not being stupid," Elaine protests, lips tugged downwards in a serious frown. "I just meant they aren't dressed for trouble, which is a good sign." Her eyes flicker back to Sable. "You're… serious. You think we should do something? You're right, we aren't exactly the SWAT team. So if you really think we need to do this, we need a real plan. At the very least, we ought to see if we can hear anymore."

Rue's gaze narrows on the FRONTLINE soldiers, and the woman with dark hair in particular. "That's the bitch that split my lip at your concert," she whispers to her companions. "She was looking for…" She presses her lips together. She doesn't have to say it. "What are we going to do?" she asks Sable with a faint curl to her lip that the others can't see, for all that her eyes communicate how utterly helpless she feels. "Musical genius them in another language while I confirm that there's nobody invisible about?" Pale red brows arch upward in question.

"Don' sell yerself so short, gal," Sable says, talking out of the Rue-side corner of her mouth, "y'all ain't jus' whatcha got in th' Evo lottery. We're more th'n whatall they c'n read off our cards. They c'n go 'head, f'rget that fact, but we gotta keep it in mind…" Already Sable's hand has crept down to the pocket where she keeps her knife. Not with fatal intent, promise! But a tool is a tool, and it's the one Sable's had the most experience with.

"Mebbe we're gonna need a distraction," is what Sable decides after a brief pause for thought, "draw them out 'n' away while one 'f us springs th' truck, mebbe another helps shepherd these poor folks outta here. Gotta find th' truck first, though, figure out how many 'f 'em there are 'bout. Elaine," Sable ducks back behind cover and turns her gaze upon Ms. Darrow, "y'all keep watch up here, arright? Use th' walkie. Listen real close, need those clever ears 'f yers, they say anything we gotta hear, you tell us straight away. Rue, y'all come with me. We're gonna find us this truck."

Decisions made, leadership assumed, Sable rises to her feet and motions for Rue to follow after, eyes already scanning to see what paths are open to them. Elaine gets a beady eye and a point, though, before the expedition begins.

"Y'all look after yerself, don' hesitate t' bolt if yer at any risk, arright? Let no harm come t' y'," is said with utmost seriousness. "Arright, le's go."

Splitting up. Isn't this how people always die in the movies? Elaine takes a moment to watch the two of them seriously before she offers a nod. "Got it. That I can do. Keep me informed of what you're doing, got it?" She rubs the bridge of her nose with her fingers, letting out a deep breath.

Oh, God. What? This was never what Rue had in mind when she volunteered for this. Totally a case of realising she should be careful what she wishes for, really. She flashes a look to Elaine, one tainted with worry, and then hurries after Sable. Only once they're back through the doorway they came from does she move to open up her bag and retrieve her own fold-out knife. Which she leaves decidedly folded up for now.

She could hurt somebody with that!

The truck is not difficult for Sable or Rue to locate if they'd approached the building from the other side, they'd have known something was wrong before they set foot in the theatre. Large enough to accommodate up to twenty people, it's a boxy green thing, the kind of military vehicle with what looks like canvas stretched between metal supports to form the walls and roof behind the fully-enclosed cabin. A squat gate at the back has been left open and steps pulled down to the men and women inside the theatre can climb up into the back of the truck with assistance from the soldiers escorting them rather than be hauled up and hurled inside.

The military's public image may not be as important as it was prior to the riots, but they know when they're being watched. The truck's driver and the soldier in the passenger's seat, the only two left outside, are focusing their attention on a small group of bystanders huddled on the other side of the street who have come to gather and attempt to make sense of the truck's presence outside what they assumed was just a derelict building.

Back inside, Sable and Rue haven't been gone for a full minute when a hand clamps roughly down on Elaine's mouth and an arm hooks around her throat, hauling her back against the hard barrel of somebody's chest. A nose nudges along the curve of her ear and she feels the warmth of their breath in her hair and stubble's bite at her cheek.

"Do not scream," a voice suggests in a whisper. "I am a friend."

Sable spots the small cluster of onlookers first, actually, and leads Rue over to the edge of the gathering, using the crowd as cover while she gets a proper look at whatever's worth gawking at. And there it is, in broad daylight - the truck. The temerity of these military folks. Sable lingers briefly, trying to blend a bit in the eyes of the driver and the guy riding shotgun, before stripping away from the group and motioning for Rue to follow. They walk in the opposite direction, Sable's hands in her pockets, voice low.

"No fuckin' way this is gonna be easy," she admits, tone more grim than sour though a little bit of the latter all the same, "y'all got th' least sense how we c'n get in there? Shit, what we c'n do once we do?" Petty theft and robbery Sable knows about. Pulling stunts on the military? Not so much.

Sable lifts the walkie talkie to her lips, depressing the transmission button, unaware that Elaine has some obstacles to answering. From between the grip of Elaine's fingers, Sable's voice informs her in ignorance.

«Found th' truck. Crowd out here lookin'. Got a driver, man in th' front seat, gotta figure both armed. How's it look in there?»

Elaine's hand grips tighter around the walkie as she's caught by surprise, her body tense as she's pulled back by some kind of 'friend'. She doesn't, by any means, relax due to the whisper, however the words do cause her to nod her head a little in agreement. Her finger's still close to the walkie button, just in case. As Sable's voice comes across the walkie in her hand, the redhead's gaze returns to it. She'd have to wait for her new friend before forming any sort of new response.

Wary eyes are cast to the truck as Rue wanders away from the crowd with Sable. "Fuck if I know. I'm just an errand girl," she responds, hunching her shoulders against the cold and against her own indecision. "I'm not sure we can do this ourselves. If we're caught… We can't get caught. If that Linda woman sees me, and remembers me from the concert?" A quick shake of her head dismisses the thought as too terrible to elaborate on. "I don't know what to do."

With great care, the man positioned behind Elaine pries the radio from her fingers. "Good girl," he says, and rests his chin on her shoulder. He smells like grease and sweat, but the longer he holds her against him, the more aware she'll become of the more subtle scents that make up his body's distinct odor, including a nip of antiseptic that stings at her nostrils when she breathes in.

«Well,» he directs into the radio, «I would say you have two minutes, maybe. They are finishing still with the clothes and the bags — but soon. With who am I speaking?»

That is not Elaine. Rue's immediately reaching out to snatch the radio out of Sable's hands. "Gimme that. Your voice is too damned distinctive." She actually reaches up to tug down the mask and scarf wrapped around her face before she presses the button on the walkie to speak. «Call me Marlene. What've you done with Big Red?» Not that that nickname can't apply to her as well…

Her head tilts toward the truck. "We've got knives. They've got tires." One plus one equals a crippled transport? Rue shrugs helplessly and waits for a response on the radio.

Sable gives the walkie talkie a horrified look, an expression that could only be produced from the unexpected substitution of an accented, unmistakably male voice for Elaine's familiar, sweet, feminine tones. It's pretty distinct, and mingled dread and disgust make up some large portion of it. Her goggling provides Rue the perfect opportunity to snatch the radio from her fingers, and the yellow eyed girl is forced to get up on tiptoes, ear angled up towards the receiver, so as not to miss the reply. Her hands have formed tight little fists, and Rue's suggestion may or may not be heard. Priority in this mission has rather immediately shifted. Elaine's wellbeing, uncertain at the hands of the sonovabitch on the other end of the line, is now her chief concern, as evidenced by the fine line of restrained fury her mouth has become.

The near death-grip Elaine had on the walkie had been reluctantly relinquished when the hand came forward to snatch it. Best to go along when you don't know what you're dealing with. She wrinkles her nose at the scent, focusing on what she can take in with her eyes and ears. Details, especially sounds, are focused on. The lack of Sable's voice is noted, the redhead coming to her own conclusion as far as the meaning of the change in voices. Yet, as pressing as the matter most physically close to her is, her attention still manages to stay on the room below—she wants to make sure that everything wasn't going to hell in the midst of their lovely chit-chat.

Elaine will hear the stranger press a frustrated sigh through his nose. He takes his finger off the button. "I am going to take my hand off your mouth now," he tells her. "And thank you for not biting me like a little squirrel."

What he says is true; he releases his grip on her face and lets his hand drop to rest on the grip of the pistol sticking out of the back of his jeans. The arm holding her in place, however, does not loosen — either because he isn't yet convinced that she won't try to escape, or because he likes the feel of her body against his.

Because the stranger in question is named Aleksandr Kozlow, the truth is probably an untoward combination of both. He snaps back down on the button. «Tall Red,» he corrects Rue. «When you say Big, I think of the Trafford woman. This one is skinny.»

“Oh, for God’s sake,” Rue whispers under her breath. “Sable. He knows…” Delilah. “What do we do?” The taller girl reaches out to give the de facto leader’s shoulder a shake. «Two minutes isn’t a lot of time,» she tells the man on the other end of the radio. «What would you suggest?» That he doesn’t tell her what’s happened to Elaine isn’t lost on her, but for the moment, she has to believe that she’s okay. Otherwise she might panic and freak out, and that won’t serve anyone right now.

The moment the radio is within easy reach, Sable's hand snatches for it, pulling it free of Rue's hands and speaking just as predicted - distinctively. «You listen up, motherfucker. If th' least bit 'f harm comes t' that girl, I'll cut off yer balls 'n' feed 'em t' my fuckin' dogs.» comes growling over the static, all the rougher for it «two minutes shit, you hand that radio over t' our girl and let her tell us she's okay, or I'll give y' two minutes t' fuckin' live!»

With the hand removed from her face, Elaine is able to breathe a bit more clearly, but it doesn’t set her any more at ease. With more mobility to her head, she turns it to attempt to get a better glimpse of her new “friend”. Rue’s words don’t come as much of a shock to her, as the other redhead is worrying about what will happen when those two minutes are really up. It’s one thing to have the stubbled Russian holding you, it’s another to have FRONTLINE. As Sable’s voice crackles angrily over the radio, somehow Elaine manages a tiny laugh. It shouldn’t have been funny, but it had been a while since she’d heard that kind of fight from Sable. Her neck cranes a little to try and speak more in the direction of the man holding her.

“Just let me say hello, you’ve got them all upset now. I’ll tell them I’m okay and you can tell me why you’re here sneaking up on me. Alright?” She lets out another breath, this one just a little shakier. And she was doing so good, too!

Elaine can hear Sasha's eyes rolling in their sockets. Or maybe she just imagines she does. Either way, it sounds a little like sandpaper—

No, that's his beard roughing against her clothes as he shifts, adjusting his position so that the radio is angled against the young woman's jaw but he still exerts his control over it. "Two minutes," he clarifies for Elaine rather than her companions outside, "before they are marching them out. I will assist you if I can, but whatever it is that you decide to do — then do. Your time, it is growing extremely short."

He presses down on the button again. Instructs Elaine, this time in Russian: "«Speak.»"

«It’s me,» Elaine’s voice comes over the walkie talkie, sounding no worse for wear. «I’m fine, I promise. I’m okay here… and they haven’t seen us yet.» They, of course, being the scary ones with guns. «We need a plan now. They’ll be marching them out soon and if you’re really serious about helping them, we should do it now. Can we distract them somehow? Maybe just enough so that they can see their opportunity to flee? Use the superior numbers against them… I don’t know.»

“Sable!” Rue squeaks when the radio’s pried from her hands again. So much for controlling that aspect. “Stop fussing over Elaine and figure out what we’re doing for them. It was your idea to help them that separated us. So either give us a plan, or let’s go back inside to get her and then we need to get out.” Her lips set in a tight line, blue gaze hard on Sable’s angry profile.

Simmer down, Rue. Be glad you don't have the radio, aren't burdened by the weight of command. Anyways, don't you have your own walkie talkie? Sable actually bares her teeth at the mic, one last, invisible sign of defiance at the mutually invisible Russian before Elaine's voice demands a different affect. A hand flicks back and forth, waving off Rue's words. "Howzit I c'n plan with you yammerin' at me?" she grumbles, holding the radio close to her ear so as not to miss a word. «You gotta help spring th' ones they ain't loaded up yet. Send fuckin' Comrade Stalin t' stir them up, then you pied piper th' poor bastards out th' way we came in,» a quick glance at Rue, «Marlene 'n' me'll work on who they already got. Y'all stay sharp, 'case I need y', 'rright?»

Sable will have to wait for a reply, but she's assuming an affirmative, because she's giving directions the moment her thumb leaves the transmission button. "Same fuckin' deal with us," the yellow eyed girl informs Rue, pulling an about face and heading back towards the gawking crowd, "you pop 'round th' back 'n' get them runnin' after y'. Can't be too hard, face like yers, hon. Me," Sable eyes the faces of the crowd, "y'all jus' follow my lead…"

The dark haired girl sidles into the gathering, holding her mark in her peripheral vision. In an instant, she's lifting a pair of sunglasses that hang by an arm from the front of a man's coat, the man himself too busy rubbernecking, at first, to notice. A split second later, however, he's looking down with startled surprise at the lens-darkened eyes of Sable, whose brows lift over the glasses to indicate earnest implore. "Gonna borrow these real quick, brother," is followed by the flash of a smile, and then she's darting out from the crowd at an angle, darting back over to the back of truck when she trusts she's broken the passenger's line of sight.

Moving quickly and with the economy of the lifelong troublemaker, she ducks around to find the cap for the gas tank, unscrewing it with a rapid series of twists and popping it off. Fast as anything, she scoots around to the driver's side window, grinning wide, eyes hidden safely behind her own small tinted panes. She lifts an empty hand into view as if she's conducting an impromptu puppet show, wiggling fingers in an impish 'hello'. This is followed by the gas tank cap, which rises into view, and garners a glance of confused surprise from Sable, who looks from cap to soldier, then back, then back again, inviting the soldier to join her in the common question: how'd she get a hold of that?

Expression turns stormy when Rue’s reprimanded for her yammering. But she nods her head quickly to instructions and watches as Sable sets off to make things happen. It causes her mouth to hang open for the space of several seconds before she whispers, “Oh, God. We’re all gonna die.”

Well, at least they’ll die running? Sure, let’s go with that. With Sable causing the diversion, Rue’s quick to pull her mask and scarf back up around her face, and dart to the back of the transport and throw it open. She finds herself staring at frightened faces. She’s probably something of a mirror, really. “Come with me,” she tells them in the most confident tone she can manage. “We only have a couple minutes. We need to run. Come on, now. Come on!” Frantically, she gestures for the detainees to scramble out of the vehicle.

And they do. Scramble. It's not as large a group as the one Linda Tavara and her companion, Angel Delgado, are trying to corral in the theatre, but it's large enough that their escape does not go unnoticed by the soldier who had been in the truck's passenger seat. Had, because he's kicking open his door and hauling himself out to lurch at Sable when he glimpses Rue helping their detainees down from the back of the truck. His hand goes to his radio instead of his gun. Whatever he barks is sharp, terse.

Sable misses it. The sound of the driver's side door thundering open drowns out what is most likely a request for backup, and unlike the man who had been sitting beside him, he goes for his pistol first, snapping off two quick shots at the petite Ferry operative as she darts into retreat. The first goes wide and explodes the rear windshield of a car parked several meters in front of the truck, spraying the street and the car's backseat with pieces of glass.

The second clips her shoulder.

Back inside, Sasha is releasing Elaine and rising up, one hand clapping around the guardrail. He unhooks the gun from the back of his pants. "Good luck," he says. "Stalin will give you as much opportunity as he can."

When Elaine is released, she lets out a sigh of relief that she hadn’t even known she was really holding and one she wasn’t entirely sure was properly placed. Slowly getting up to her feet, she raises an eyebrow at the gun’s name. “Stalin? Appropriate.” There’s a small nod towards the Russian before she begins to move towards the hallway. Her gaze flickers back. “«Be careful.»” The redhead offers in Russian before she disappears into the hallway. Heart beating quickly, Elaine’s gaze darts around within the hallway as she thinks quickly. Okay, there’s the stairs, and she’s quickly moving down them, taking two steps in stride at the same time before peering back around.

Even during the chaos of the eighth, Sable was never the direct object of aggression. The group she moved with - decked out with powers and covered in a cloak of invisibility - kept her well covered, which was all fair and good in her mind since they were protecting the finest musical mind of the generation. She's been the target of antipathy and even violence, as well. But this would be the only time she's actually been shot at.

When the first shot rings out, followed with almost indiscernible delay by the shattering of glass, Sable's heart flips in a giddy cartwheel, adrenaline masking the reality of risk and tugging a slightly loony smile to her face as she - wild but not stupid - makes for the nearest corner she can duck around. Before she breaks line of sight, however - before she can even properly narrativize events - some fucking bee or something stings her on the shoulder, sending a red ripple of pain, across the surface of her sensory perception.

Sable's hand rises to slap at the spot, sending another jolt of pain through her, causing her to almost trip as the toe of her foot tries to drag in protest, begging her to slow down and check her condition, but the feeling is not nearly so strong or demanding that she imagines for one second that she's been shot. The warm stickiness of what her fingers find does not register as 'wound' until Sable is well around the corner of the adjacent building and pelting down the sidewalk. For an instant, in her vision's periphery, she spots a of dark something on her hand. It takes two split second glances to really confirm that she is bleeding.

"Fuck!" is maybe not the most eloquent or original response to such a discovery, but it works. She claws at her radio with bloody hand and hastily lifts it to her mouth, voice rough with running. «Fuckin' shootin',» she rasps, by way of warning, «not fuckin' 'round.»

For understandable reasons, Sable keeps running.

Rue stands at the back of the vehicle until it’s emptied of its prisoners. The sound of gunshots from the driver’s side, where Sable had just been, has her torn for a moment as to whether she should take off after the fae-like operative, or if she should run in the other direction.

She opts to run back toward the theatre, where she can help with the distraction on the stage level. Throwing open the door, Rue’s footsteps sound like thunder in her own ears as she heads for the stairwell down, taking care not to collide with Elaine in her haste.

From inside the theatre, the sound of gunshots echoes in the high rafters, scattering the pigeons roosting there — Elaine and Rue can hear the panicked snap and crackle of their wings beneath the screaming civilians and the sharp, terse barks of the soldiers spitting commands. When they arrive at the doors, there's pounding coming from the other side, and the women can almost feel the crush of the bodies crowding against it.

It does not open from the inside. Many hours later, when Elaine and Rue are looking back, neither one of them will be able to recall whose hand slammed down on the metal crash bar first, but it makes a noise like an abrupt clap of thunder, and a moment later the detainees are pouring out into the hall, some with their bags, others with only the clothes and coats on their backs.

Although the contents of a knapsack or two might not seem like much, those who weren't able to retrieve their belongings have likely lost everything—

With the notable exception of their freedom and their lives.

Elaine almost jumps a mile when Rue darts in to meet up with her, the redhead bracing herself almost as if expecting impact when Rue appears in her line of sight. Relief washes over her features, but her gaze goes back to the door, and then, at the flood of detainees that follows. She presses herself back against the wall out of the way from the near-stampede, and once the crowd seems to have mostly dispersed, she looks quickly back towards Rue with concern, her gaze flickering around. “Where’s Sable? We need to find her and get out.” As she speaks, she’s already moving for the exit.

“She kept running,” Rue responds breathlessly, grabbing Elaine’s hand as they make for the exit. “I think she got— away.” Telling the other girl that she saw her friend get shot might not be the right thing to do at this time. It can wait until they’re away from soldiers. “Come on. We have to get the hell outta here. Those soldiers are fucking crazy.” Her eyes find Elaine’s. “Don’t look back.”

Yes, she's been shot, and once she gets far enough away to shift from run to jog - and then eventually to walk, stumble and slump, butt hitting curb - the adrenaline begins to ebb and the pain really sinks its teeth into her. After ducking into an alley and behind a dumpster Sable strips her winter coat, and the hoodie beneath, steam rising off of sweaty skin into the bitterly chilly air. Shivering visible, teeth chattering until she clenches her teeth, Sable uses her knife to tear loose a strip of her white tanktop. She binds her wound, as best she can, gripping one end of the makeshift bandage with her teeth, prominent canine bared.

The tips of her hair have frosted from her sweat by the time she's put her layers back on, tugging her hood up and shaking the ice loose. Her fingers brush against- what? Sunglasses. Right. Sable leans forward to look out on the street. No sign of pursuit. But she's not keen to go back. Guess she stole these. Whoops.

"I think I c'n get let off f'r this," she mutters to herself, rising to her feet and sauntering out to the street. She glances from end to end before switching her radio to the group channel and lifting it to her mouth.

«We do good, y'all? Tell me yer all okay, ladies.»

They are.

And they did.

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