abby_icon.gif aviators_icon.gif nick_icon.gif quinn_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Bounty
Synopsis A routine pickup goes horribly wrong, but that's probably to be expected when you have a fifteen million dollar reward on your heads.
Date August 16, 2010

The Angry Pelican

Some Ferrymen will tell you that the network wouldn't be able to survive without the kindness of strangers, and while this may be true, there are operatives who feel it's shrewder to rely on a currency that isn't compassion. Supplies cost money. In this case, it's a shipment of antibiotics and other medicines provided by one of the island's local smugglers who operates out of the Rookery. Joshua Mumford has been bartering with the network for the better part of two years, and although there's no question about where his loyalties ultimately rest — with himself — his relationship with the Ferry has been for the most part amicable.

It's still dark out when the operatives tasked with bringing the shipment back to the nature center arrive at the Angry Pelican, but Fresh Kills Harbour never really sleeps. The gulls are already awake and hassling the men unloading the previous night's shipments so they can be prepared for distribution. Mumford isn't the only smuggler who uses this stretch of shore, and the rosy light creeping up from beneath the horizon illuminates their shadowy shapes of their boats moored on the crumbling concrete pier that stretches out into the water.

The Remnant's 1961 Dodge Pickup pulls up in front of the ramshackle bar where Mumford is waiting, a glass of whiskey cradled in one of his large, callused hands. He recognizes the vehicle and the man behind the wheel, but neither of the two women inside.

He raises his glass in silent greeting, regardless.

Jensen Raith has no glass of his own to raise, but even if he did, he might not bother all the same. These are not the sort of times that call for toasting. He idles the truck out front of the Pelican but shows no sign of switching the engine off. Who can blame him, really?. "In and out," he says to both Abby and Quinn, splitting a glance between them. It's just a reminder at this point: All three of them know they shouldn't be out and about, but this is essential. His arm is out of the sling, but his wrist is still held snugly in a brace, not broken but strained more than it should have been, and that means their combined combat effectiveness has gone down. Way down. "Take some heat with you. I'll stay with the truck, because I am not staying here longer than we really need to. In, and out."

Abby's already opening the door and hopping out, even before Raiths words have finished drying on his lips. "Yeah, you keep the engine running, because I adore going into rookery" But they need the supplies, what she managed to get from Robert, is being run through and she's not about to ask him for more. God alone know what it cost him out of his own pocketbook. The southern medic's feet hit the ground, sliding out of the car to let Quinn out, the money for the trade in her possession and held tight to. In and out. That's all. So simple.

There's a bit of a frown on Robyn Quinn's face as she makes her way out of the truck after Abby - not that she's really upset about anything. Uneasy, if nothing else, because she's ehard about things on Staten lately, and she know she wouldn't be here if it wasn't t help take these supplies where they need to go. That, and this place looks like hell. That doesn't help. "In and out. Right!" It's repeated largely for her own benefit, a nod given to Abby as her feet hit the ground. "I wouldn't really want t' stay either, so… yeah."

Nothing's ever this simple.

Situated at one of the tables on the front porch of the Angry Pelican under the dark of night and the glitter of rain falling from the night sky, Nick York may be unaware that the truck pulling up to the bar houses a person who could quite well fit the definition of nemesis. Unfortunately for Nick, the choice of a meeting place here on Staten Island was chosen without consulting of the Ferrymen or this entirely coincidental bumping of heads.

A square and firm object presses to the middle of Nick's back from behind, right about the proper size for the barre of a small caliber handgun. "You suck at being a spy," is grumbled into the threatening motion, and the voice behind Nick's chair is a familiar one, "but you're probably pretty enough where nobody cares, right?" A clunk comes as the feeling of that gun is drawn away from the middle of Nick's shoulders, and walking around his chair and table, Avi Epstein is a broad-shouldered and darkly-dressed figure in the Staten Island night. The only tell — from a distance — of his identity is the reflection of headlights in his mirrored aviator sunglasses.

"Snickers?" Avi asks as he tosses the candy bar he'd been holding at Nick's back onto the table on his way to the chair opposite him. "Take the cock out of your mouth and chew on that and I swear if you start talking with your mouth full of marbles accent I'll swat you right out of your chair, today isn't the best day for me."

Scuff goes that chair, and down goes Avi, a whirlwind of sarcasm and disappointment. Boy is his day going to be getting better or what?

The feeling of a weapon (of sorts, if he were allergic to peanuts) in his back has Nick sitting up straighter as fear and tension wake him from his distant thoughts. His eyes are on the truck, the doors opening and closing, two pretty girls getting out before he turns his head to survey Avi's face through narrowed blue eyes. "Fuck you, too," he mutters, the East-End accent absent from his tone, generic American in place. At least until he gets angry and has a Christian Bale episode.

When the Snickers bar is tossed down, Nick shakes his head. "If you expected James Bond, I hope you and yours get used to fuckin' disappointment," he growls, pulling out not one but two jigsaw puzzle pieces out of his jean pocket, tossing them beside the candy bar. "It's not the best day for me either. I'm apparently being stalked. I don't know the guy, but he knows me." His voice is low, but quiets even more as the two women come within hearing distance.

On the opposite side of the bar, Mumford rises from his seat, whiskey in hand, and tucks his other hand into his jacket pocket. He's more seasoned than many of the younger smugglers with claims to stake — the name Wes Smedley comes to mind when he thinks about his competition — and in his late sixties has more silver in his hair than blond. He's either a few more years from retirement or making a mistake that will put him in a watery grave — whichever comes first.

"Ladies," he says with a tip of his cap and a wrinkled smile. "Jensen goin'ta make you do all the heavy liftin' youselves this mornin'?"

"He doesn't like shopping, unless it's a beretta or something equally as masculine and shoots out loads of something." Abigail opines to Mumford, her own dark abseball cap covering most of her blonde hair and the trail of stitches from sight. Hoodie, jeans, rain spotted from getting out and coming over. There's a glance to Nick and Avi, wondering how close they are and if they can hear.

"There was an order placed, I'm here to pick it up" She hadn't done something like this since… since She'd held Kain at shotgun point with an unloaded shotgun and been handed over a truck load of AK's with Helena. "I'd like to not waste time, if it's all the same to you" Which reads as, she doesn't care if he'd rather, she doesn't want to. On the passenger seat of the beat up truck, there's a cellphone, with digits across the front, parked at 99 degree's.

Quinn sidles up beside Abby with a nod. The nervous look that had been on her face has been wiped clean (mostly so, at least) in an attempt to look… well, not like someone who totally stands out as much as she would otherwise. A hand wipes her brow, foot tapping. She's keen on largely observing and helping, but in effort of expediting the process, she speaks up. "If you point t' what needs to be loaded, I… can get on that."

Over at Nick's table, Avi tips his sunglasses forward and stares down at the puzzle pieces, not picking them up. He pushes the glasses back up the bridge of his nose, dark brows creased together before he leans back in his wooden chair with a creak of its frame. "Didn't want to get into details over the phone, that sort've shit's about as secure as a sixteen year old's virginity," Avi so colorfully notes, crossing his arms over his chest. "You get a name to your boyfriends, or do I have to run those puzzle pieces for prints?"

That Avi Epstein is CIA and not really in his element running operations on American soil doesn't seem to bother him. They swap his job description out to security consultant and suddenly doing the spy thing on home soil becomes perfectly legitimate.

"Here's the thing, too," Avi explains without giving Nick time to give him names, "one of the most important things about being a spy is staying in character," which comes as Avi reaches inside of his jacket and pulls out a small, black cylinder about the size of a cigarette but clearly made of matte metal. "You pretend to be an American drug runner, you stick to it. You pretend to be a Lybian terrorist looking to get a fucking Mister Fusion, you stick to it. Most people, when their cover is compromised, panic and drop it. A good, seasoned spy sticks to his guns."

Pressing a button on that piece of metal, Avi creates a tiny red dot of light on the middle of Nick's chest, then turns off the laser pointer. "I'm thinkin' you didn't stick to your guns."

"No name on the freak with the fuckin' God complex," Nick notes, voice low as he glances at the other table where the two girls who look as out of place as he feels. "I call him Padre. Taller'n me, pale, think he might be Italian or something like that, but he looks more like a Brit than anything. He's the one those pieces are from. I touched 'em too, so I might soiled the prints, sorry 'bout that." He sounds not contrite but irritated at being reprimanded.

"The other one, he came into Walsh's last week, was gonna be in my report 'cause he ordered a shitload of shit, makes me think he mighta had something to do with that stuff the other night." He lifts up a hand. "Yeah, I know, I shoulda told you sooner but hindsight's ever fucking perfect, yeah?" Nick shakes his head. "Anyway, he called himself the King of Swords or some fucking megalomaniac kinda name like that, said Walsh'd know he was good for the gear."

The bead of light makes the young man heave a sigh. "I tried. I told 'em that they wouldn't know if I was lying if I said I was or wasn't. I didn't give away anything as far as I know." He sighs, looking past Avi to the still-running truck, blue eyes darting back to the girls. "Anyway, I didn't call on the gun order because that's not what I'm there for, right? I mean, I can't report on every little thing." Like Raith's order was "little."

Mumford tosses back what's left of his whiskey and sets the glass down on empty shipping crate that the Pelican sometimes uses as a makeshift table when it gets crowded, damp though it is. He looks between Abigail and Quinn, brown eyes dark, and then tips a glance over their shoulders at Raith still in the truck. "Yeah," he says, finally, something that sounds like disappointment in his creaky voice. "Just the three of you, is it? No Bennet? Spurling?"

Noah and Eileen's presence must not be required, however, because he's already leading them past Nick's table before they have an answer for him, his booted feet crunching through the loose gravel. "Been hearin' some rumours 'bout what went down over in the Reclaimed Zone. Says you people and Messiah are sleepin' in the same bed now. Any truth?"

'In and out' was supposed to have a lot less of them going 'in' and a lot more of the supplies coming 'out.' Raith's in the truck, and is therefore not in charge of what happens as this thing goes down. Only now does he switch off the engine, leaving the keys in the ignition, before back reaching into the small space behind the seats and withdrawing one of the MP5s he packed for the trip. It's not even as much firepower as the M4 he wished he had instead, but it's small and light enough that he can use it from inside the cab more easily. The magazine pops out into his hand and, after he's verified that it has brass in it, he slides it back into the well and racks the charging handle back. MP5s, pistols and smoke. Hurry up, girls.

"Just because you don't see them, doesn't meant that they are not here, you should know better" Any word about the reclaimed zone is ignored in favor of staring at Avi as he flips and plays with his laser against Nicks chest as she stands, not following the guy. Blue eye's beneath the brim frowning at Avi and his antics, unaware of the connection between him and the man who waits in the truck. "If he was here, he'd tell me not to go out of sight with you, so I'll wait here, as will my friend" Letting her voice carry enough to Mumford. Abigail may be ditzy and blonde at times. She is not so stupid as to invoke Raith's wrath and images of getting raped and who knows what else, dance through her head if she's to follow him to wherever it is he's going.

Abby's insistence that the two of them will wait there comes as a relief to Quinn, who was as in favour of moving things along as Raith was, even if she didn't know they were sharing the thought. Hands slide in and out of her pockets, the one nervous gesture she allows herself. Despite herself, she still wears a bit a grin, nodding in agreement with Abby. "We'd like t' get moving…" she muses quietly, a glance over to Abby and a nod. "So, you know." Be snappy is what she wants to add, but doesn't feel comfortable enough to. Any moment now, she's going to stop feeling out of her element, she just knows it.

There's a lot of things that are making Avi quiet right now, one of them is what Nick said, because there's only two men in the world who bear the title King of Swords. One of them deserves the title, the other one deserves a smack across the mouth, Avi isn't sure which is which on a regular basis. "Okay, two equally important questions for you right now. Swordie," Avi so eloquently calls him, "was he a clean cut sort've foppish looking guy with a fetish for bluetooth headsets, kind've faggy haircut?" At that Avi sticks his fingers up at an odd angle at the front of his head.

"Or did he kind of have that Frankensetin head with the square jaw and high brow and thick eyebrows? Unsheven, pushing fifty and acting thirteen?" Maybe these aren't the best descriptions. "Gray hair in his beard or stubble or what-the-fuck ever?" While Avi is busy grilling Nick on the matters of the spy game he's also fiddling with that laser pointer.

One furrow of his brow later, and Avi is flashing the red light of the laser in Abby's peripheral vision. Not enough to do any harm, but annoying as all goddamned hell. One calloused hand comes up, fingers wiggle in a wave.

Oh my gooosh, it's yoooou.

Clearly, Avi has to be doing this for a reason other than being an asshole.

"I … uh, guess the latter?" Nick hedges, looking a little confused at the two. "Definitely pushing 50 and he was drinking fifty-cent crap beer, so I guess that'd count as acting thirteen. God, that shite sucked." He slips up on the accent. "Hold on. I'm gonna go help this guy out, looks like he's unloading shit. Might be good to get in on his good side, yeah?"

With that, he stands from his uncomfortable milk crate that's no doubt left waffle-marks on his arse, and he moves toward Mumford, nodding to the two girls, an amiable grin quirking just one side of his mouth up crookedly. "These little girls don't look like they could carry much. How about I help you do the loading, man?" he offers to the smuggler.

"Yeah," Mumford says, not only to Abigail and Quinn but to Nick as well. He motions for the youth to follow him with a lazy roll of his shoulder. "Sure. Boat's down this way. Just got a couple of crates."

Showing the women his back, he leads Nick away from the bar toward the concrete pier where a small fishing boat with the word Orca painted on the side in peeling letters. The bullet holes scattered across its bow aren't necessarily a surprise — the waters surrounding Staten Island are dangerous no matter who you are. Even Walsh has had a few encounters with the opportunistic sharks lurking in Swinburne's shadow these days.

It's not until they're out of earshot that he's warning the youth to, "Keep your head down. Do what I says and there's five grand in it for you." But if Nick has any questions, he's denied the opportunity to ask them. Another man appears at the boat's railing, a rifle slung across his shoulder and a radio at his hip.

"How many?" he wants to know.

"Just three," Mumford replies. "Swords and some girls. Dunno if they're Evo. The ass in the truck ain't."

"Oh come on" Abigails thumbs hooked into the pockets of her jeans, the blonde looks at Avi and the laser, even as the 99.8 creeps up to an even 100 in the truck, Out of the kangeroo pocket of her sweater, the black and yellow taser gun is pulled out, gestured towards Avi. She's in the Rookery, it's still dark, she's not in the mood.

And what's one more non-lethal shot with a taser in the wake of all the possibly lethal ones she fired off the other day

"It is too early in the morning to be dealing with you, some stupid little toy, so unless you want me to fire this into your masculine bits, I'd put it away" She's tired and there's sick people wanting this stuff. 100.4.

"Oh, shit," Quinn remarks quietly, her hand moving into her pocket - she'd been smart enough to bring a taser, something her mother always encouraged her to do, but unlike Abby she doesn't actually have it drawn yet. Insead it sits in her pocket, in case she needs it. At least, that's how she sees it. "Oh, come on," she protests, annoyance in our voices. "It's hard enough t' get out here. Just let us get our things an' go." She's kinda crabby this early in the morning, even without the extra incentive.

It takes a while after Nick left for Avi to get up from his table, purposeful in a way. He breathes deeply out of his nose and reaches over to pick up Nick's half finished Bass ale, tipping it up to his lips and draining it the rest of the way. While he's doing that, Avi tucks his laser pointer under his arm and gives it a flicker-flash through the windshield of the parked truck those girls had come out of. The light refracts on the raindrops on the glass, shines bright, and probably gives Raith a heart-attack, but it also pointedly draws attention to the glowing beam from Raith's perspective, dashed in the rain.

Finishing Nick's beer, Avi keeps the bottle between two fingers by the neck, then starts to amble his way out back with slow and clunking footfalls to a meeting he's not invited to.

Nick just nods quickly in tacit agreement to the scant directions given, his eyes flitting between the two men, taking in the details of their faces, the name of the boat, listening for clues — like the name dropping of the man whose epithet he'd just told Avi three minutes before. Swords. And here, he thought America was supposed to be sprawling, a huge world in comparison to his tiny island of a homeland. How is it everyone knows everyone and crosses paths here?

If they're running something more than whatever supplies the girls are here to pick up, he needs to know. And he isn't going to know if they shoot them, so Nick manages to keep his poker face, standing a bit apart from the other two men, waiting for further directions.

Stick to your guns. Stay in character. Avi's words come back to him, and Nick juts his chin at Mumford. "Make it six."

The man on the boat removes the radio from his hip, holds it up to his ear and covers the button. "Command," he says into the microphone, "this is Hooper. Contact has been initiated. We have three confirmed insurgents. Do we engage or hold our position?"

There's a crackle of static interference on the other end of the radio, and for a moment it seems as if Hooper might not receive a response, but eventually he does — short and to the point though it is. "Engage," a voice says, and Hooper nods to a shadow in the boat's cabin.

"Brody," he instructs the shadow, "take out the one in the truck. Quint and I can handle the girls. Quint!" According the process of elimination, Quint is probably the man making his way up from below deck when he hears Hooper call his name. "Mumford, you and your man—" He points to Nick, then to the crate that's already been unloaded onto the pier while Brody, still in the cabin, unshoulders his rifle, slides open the window and steadies the weapon against its bottom. "Bring that up."

"Hell," Mumford tells Nick, moving toward the crate. "I'll go as high as seven— shit." He's caught sight of Avi. "Who's that? Friend'a yours?"

The flash of laser light in the windshield does indeed give Raith a start, but it also provides him with an important clue. No professional would use a laser sight on anything that wasn't being used at close range. Either some amateur is out there, or….

The radio secured on Quinn's person suddenly crackles to life. «Something's up,» comes Raith's voice, «And the temperature's getting awful high too. Back out of there and cool off, but be careful. Start making noise if things go sideways. Changing channels, back with you in a minute.» He doesn't like it one bit, and will happily signal this fact with the channel change he mentioned. «Base, this is Swords. The case might be dirty, but I can't be sure yet. Please advise.» Waiting for a reply is going to be the worst part, but he restarts the truck's engine while he does. Can't something please go right this week?

"Quinn" Abby glances to the sound of the radio and Raiths voice over it. "I really suggest, that you do not stand close to me. You'll get burned if I loose it." The taser is passed over to the other woman and she's digging a hand down the front of her sweater, rooting around for the black triangular piece of electronics she's wearing, shoving it in Quinn's jacket pocket.

Inside the truck, it goes from the triple digits to nothing, as it's lost contact with Abby's skin. "Three people, possibly, maybe more. I don't like this either. I don't like it at all" Up the heat goes, crawling, sweating beading up with the drops of moisture from the rain on exposed skin. "Somethings just not right"

"Great," Quinn mummers quietly as she takes the taser and the odd electronic price, moving several paces over from Abby. "I guess it would've been too much t' ask for this t' go as well as my last thing. Is it always 50/50 like that?" she asks as she looks back at Abby with a sarcastic grin. A few more steps back, but she keeps her eyes ahead. Even she can tell that something feels kind of odd, but whether that's because of any actual sense of urgency, or because she's watched way too many action movies is anyone's guess. A glance is cast back to the truck, as it to indicate to Raith that they got the message. For now, she just listens and waits, hoping against hope that both Abby and Raith are wrong.

"I'm his father," is Avi's quick response, "who the hell do you think taught him half the shit he knows, right?" There's a swig from the empty bottle of Nick's Bass Ale that Avi carries as he makes his way down the docks, rainwater pattering on his leather jacket and dampening his hair. "The fuck're you doing getting elbow deep in my shit anyway, I heard you two, seriously. Seven large for what? Moving some hot guns?" Avi's dark brows pinch together, eyes sweep behind the lenses of his sunglasses at the men gathered back here on the pier, then out to the boat.

"You girls gonna' cut me in on this or like…" he eyes the beer in his hand, "was this yours?" Avi suddenly interjects, looking over to Nick and swaggering closer to his 'son' waggling the bottle from side to side. "I could've sworn I had a Rollin' Rock," there's a look back over the tops of Avi's sunglasses to the man closest to Nick, then one hand nudges the glasses up as he eyes the boat again.

"Ah, shit, Pops," Nick says with a dramatic roll of his eyes worthy of maybe not an Oscar, but at least a Teen Choice Award. He follows the man's point to the crate, to help Mumford with it, glancing back at his new father figure. "Sounds like they're picking up some of the folks who torched the RZ the other night, those girls and some tool named Swords in the truck," he summarizes in a neat little package complete with a bow, brows rising over wide blue eyes as he peers into Avi's glasses.

It would be so much easier to figure out what the fuck his superior wants him to do if he could make eye contact, Nick thinks to himself, as he tries to find a finger hold on the crate of supplies that the girls think they're here to pick up.

The voice on the other end of the radio probably isn't the one that Raith is expecting to hear, largely because he hasn't been back to the Dispensary. «I don't know,» it says, syllables gently rounded and very English but incapable of soothing its blistery edge. «You're the head of Special Activities, so why don't you tell me?»

Maybe he should have left a certain someone a note.

Back at the boat, Brody finishes lining up his shot, one eye squeezed shut, the other focused on what he can see through the rifle's scope: Raith square in the middle of his crosshairs. Hooper and Quint swing over the side of the Orca, and at a distance there's nothing unusual about either man or the way that they're dressed — they left their uniforms back at Miller Field, and the weapons they carry are standard when it comes to Mumford's line of work. The only thing that might give them away is the tension that suddenly has Hooper's spine going rigid when he catches sight of Epstein's signature sunglasses. Hasn't he seen him somewhere before?

"On your command," Brody tells Hooper, his finger already resting on the trigger, but Hooper isn't ready to give it. The indecision is clear on his face. The radio is back at his ear.

"Command, this is Hooper— What was that you were telling us earlier about a truck?"

«Roger that. We'll proceed to waypoint delta and check the case there. Out.» Not what Raith was hoping would happen. For all he knows, the only thing the other end just heard was a line of gibberish, and then silence as he changes the channel back to communicate with Quinn once again. «We're taking the alternate route, with or without the case. You know better than me what the situation in there is.» The King of Swords leans forward over the steering wheel, trying to get a better angle through the front of the bar. 'With or without,' however, is not a decision that Raith is making. Like he said, both Quinn and Abby know better what the present situation is than he does. «It's your call.»

There's the radio again, Abigail glancing down towards it with pursed lips. Their call. "They need the drugs" Abigail murmurs with a soft sigh riding on the heels of those words. "If anything at all looks off Quinn, you run. Get to the truck and go. I'll be behind you, and if I've already lost it, i'll meet up at…" an address, the hospital that Abby and Eileen had met the ice evolved at.

For now, Abigail's staying put.

Quinn gulps audibly at what perceives as a rather grim assessment. Maybe the answer to her question was that things tend to be far worse than a 50/50 ratio. The address is kept in mind, Quinn beginning to pace a little. "Do you want your taser back? I mean, like… in case?" She is actually kind of wondering why it was handed over to her in the first place. Another glance back to the truck, and she sighs, feeling rather tense at the moment. "God, I hope this doesn't get stupid," she mutters.

"Are they?" Avi asks with a quirk of his brow, "Fucking right on, you guys want any help? I got a little bit of a beef with the King of Swords," there's another swig from Avi's beer as he tips back the bottle and slings an arm around Nick's shoulders nice and snug with a slap on the opposite shoulder.

Staggering a little with Nick, Avi walks forward, dragging Nick with him a few more steps further down the dock, just enough to put Mumford at their backs. Avi's hand slides down from Nick's shoulder, along the back of his leather jacket, enough so that it isn't obvious where his hand is going when it slips down to Nick's waist. At the same time, Avi leans towards Nick and clunks his head against the younger man's with a slurred laugh and a smile, but in the same process is showing the inside of his coat where a pistol sits in an underarm holster.

Avi's glasses slide down the bridge of his nose, dark eyes squared on Nick's, one a little off set from the other. It's a pointed look of you saw it, you know what to do.

Because what happens next is kind of a mess.

Yanking the handgun out from the back of Nick's pants, Avi leaves an opening for Nick to take his own handgun out from inside of his jacket, while wheeling up with Nick's Baretta to aim towards the rifleman in the cabin of the boat. There's a squeeze of the trigger in rapid succession and an audible three pops of semi-automatic small arms fire.

A flash of red inside the cabin and a slouch of a body indicates that at least one of the bullets hit enough to count. When Nick withdraws Avi's .45 from inside of his suit jacket, he's in the perfect position to aim back at Mumford, while Avi trains his sights in the rain on Hooper and Quint, squeezing off six more shots in their direction to join the raucuous clatter of gunfire. Nick's close enough that Mumford's point blank range, leave it to Avi to try and take the long shots.

Knowing very well that Avi's not at all drunk, Nick is on his toes, waiting for a sign and hoping that he doesn't miss it — his training in France didn't exactly cover what to do in case the supposed smugglers turn out to be entrapping terrorists to hand over to the U.S. government, or maybe he was just missing that day of class.

When his gun is slid from his waistband, the younger man laughs — it comes out as a little bit of a nervous titter — along with his "father," before grabbing the gun from the other man's holster, holding it up to aim at Mumford.

Avi's already shot one man by the time Nick manages to pull the trigger.

The force of the bullet's impact knocks Mumford off his feet and into the water, and if the initial shot didn't kill him, then getting tangled in the submerged ropes under the pier after striking his head against one of the cement support columns probably will. One way is much quicker than the other.

Unlike Brody, slumped forward against the cabin's window with dark fluid oozing from the hole in his head onto his rifle, Hooper and Quint have the initial crack of a gunshot for warning. Quint swings his rifle up fast enough that one of Epstein's shots ricochets off the barrel, allowing him to return fire. He aims higher than he should and catches him in the shoulder, spinning the older man around and knocking him off his feet. Hooper catches at least two of the six shots to his arm and takes to a knee, rifle dangling as he reaches across to clutch at his sleeve, face pinched into an expression of pain.

With Epstein down and Nick still standing, Quint levels his rifle with the youth's back and squeezes his finger around the trigger. It happens so fast that he'll hear the shot after it's blown through his right shoulder, and without the body armor that Epstein is wearing, he's not likely to fare nearly as well.

Even with the windows up, Raith cannot mistake the popping of small arms fire. Especially not the sharp 'crack!' of rifles. «Status!» he shouts into the radio. «Quinn, talk to me!» Throwing the truck into gear, Raith pulls the vehicle all the way up to the front of the bar- giving his partners the option of jumping into the bed for a fast escape- while he reaches behind the seats for a second time and grabs one of the smoke grenades before throwing his door opened and popping up over the cab's roof. He doesn't see the firefight he was expecting.

She expected three men, maybe more to come around the corner with boxes, expected maybe men with guns to come around the corner, or Mumford to come around with nothing. What she wasn't expecting was the burst of gunfire so close that causes her to clap her hands over her ears and squeeze her eye's shut, nearly jumping out of her skin.

Which actually happens.

Only she doesn't jump out of it so much as one moment, she's there with clothes smoldering, whisps of smoke coming off her and the blonde hunkering in on herself as her fingertips curl over the tops of her, a short wail of warning before she the next moment she combusts. Clothes, skin and jewelry and anything within five feet, scorched and turned to ash by the heat and flames that roll and lick off of her. Quinn now knows why Abby passed off the Taser and the electronics.

There will be no jumping into the cab of the truck. Or likely the back. Not if the living flame before them in the shape of Abigail is any indication.

"Fuck!" That 's a bit of an understatement compared to what's running through Quinn's mind, stumbling several steps back at the sound of shots fired. The radio crackling to life has Quinn grasping down and fumbling with it. «I don't feckin' know, someone's shooting!» Not really a helpful reply. «I can't see anythin', though! An' now Abby's- Wow.» She stops speaking as Abby combusts, she hadn't really been expecting that despite her earlier warnings.

When Raith pulls up, she's backing up towards the truck, and she's shaking a bit, but she's not making a beeline for the vehicle quite yet. She's half turn, eyes moving between Abby and the truck. Abby had told her to run if things went south, so that's exactly what she's doing unless instructed otherwise.

Down on the ground and soon to be joined by Nick, Avi rolls onto his side with a yowl of pain to get out from under the collapsing Nick, nearly falling right off the docks into the water before aiming his gun down the length of his body with his uninjured arm, firing from a prone position at the gunmen still shooting in the boat. Three shots towards each gunman, breathing sharp and pained through each gunshot.

"A little help down here!" Avi shouts in between his gunshots, unaware of the inferno on the other side of the bar just yet. The sound of the patrons that were there don't give much of a tell either, people run and scream from gunfire too.

Those six shots is all Avi gets out of the fifteen-shot clip of the Baretta, thumb moving quick to eject the clip onto his stomach, hand starting to move to find a clip where there isn't one on himself. The Baretta is just tossed aside after being fired.

Now he has to play dive for cover while flat on his back.


Stumbling back with the blast, Nick drops Avi's gun from his now useless right hand as pain wracks everything from his chest down to his fingertips on that side. Avi's rolling from under him sends him rolling a touch, and his dive for cover is an inadvertent roll into the water. Luckily for him, he doesn't hit his head, like Mumford did.

The dousing actually shakes him out of the stunned pain a touch, and he's able to back up and keep his head low against the creaking dock, just above the water line, eyes peering up to try to keep tabs on the fight above. Unfortunately, he can grip the dock with his good hand, but that means he can't put pressure on his wound, bleeding from both sides. It gets more difficult to keep his eyes open with each passing second; his fingers' grip on the dock begins to slip as his blood flows into the dark waters.

Normally, Raith would take this as an opportune moments to go driving off into the distance until the havoc settled. But when that all too unforgettable voice comes calling out for help, the part of his brain that helps him make intelligent decisions just doesn't have the same volume of yelling it normally does. As Quinn is just reaching the truck, Raith is actually, and perhaps confusingly moving past her, smoke grenade in one hand and MP5 in the other. "Drive!" he orders, "Don't wait for me!" And that's that: He takes off through the Pelican, giving Abby wide-berth as he bolts past her to the back of the structure.

If Avi was concerned about his odds of making it out of this mess alive, he will doubtlessly feel his chances improving when that metal canister comes tumbling past his field of vision and skips briefly along the ground before it provides him with something he really needs right then: Cover. "Popping smoke!" doesn't really come out of Raith's mouth fast enough to work as a warning before he comes out onto the docks himself in a baseball slide, firing bursts from his weapon that, while capable of being lethal, are intended much more to draw attention away from the King of Pentacles, giving him a chance to reload. That had to have been him firing earlier, right?

Raith can move faster than Abby can, who's also heard the cry for help and is moving through the front of the pelican too going the way that the others had gone the first time, a coronal arm coming up as if to ward off the rain that falls. Little spots darken where the rain drops hit and it's uncomfortable. More so than the showers taken to keep her from igniting.

Behind Raith even as he's popping the smoke. Smokes not hindering her, she can see through it, see the bodies and the structures in different detail from the others present. Avi down, Nick in the water, the others down there too with the boat. One left standing. One that Abigail's closing in on, not caring about the smoke, making straight for Quint like some flaming ghost.

"Feckin' What?!" Quinn shouts back in disbelief as Raith takes off past her. There's very clear hesitation, particularly with the sounds of further shots inside. She wrinkles her nose before nodding, springing to the other side of the vehicle and hopping in. She wouldn't go too fa, and hopefully the radio had range enough that she could call them to come back if she needed. A deep breath, and she's hitting the gas. Hopefully, she wouldn't regret listening to Raith later.

Smoke, Jensen, okay this is going a little better in Avi's eyes. "Nick we— " Almost. Seeing Nick missing Avi's eyes widen and he crawls up to his knees in the smoke. "Fuck!" Grabbing his .45 in one hand Avi scrambles to the edge of the docks and throws one arm down, fishing for the young man in the water until finally catching a hand. "You— stupid son of a bitch if you get your ass killed here I will never hear the fucking end of it!"

There's a strong yank as Avi tries to pull Nick up, his bruised shoulder protected by his vest screaming with pain, but he has to keep his other arm up for— shooting— Abigail?

Aiming for the sounds of screaming and a glow through the smoke, Avi unloads with three shots square in the center mass of the fiery phantom. Abby may not liken herself to a tactical laser, bu ther advancement on people Avi would love to pepper with bullets means that she's effectively painting the target for him.

"Don't let any of them go! They know who you are!" Avi shouts as he hauls back and tries to tug Nick up towards the pier more, arm shaking and wet fingers slipping.

Getting yanked out of the water means he won't drown, but it hurts like hell and Nick cries out as he's dragged onto the dock. He manages to help a little at first, his feet scrabbling for purchase on the dock and shoving himself away from the water. His skin is pale and his eyes are unfocused as he staggers. After a few feet of being pulled toward the pier, Avi is doing more of his walking for him than Nick is, his boots catching on the rugged planking. "S-sorry, mate," he mutters, teeth chattering — the water may not be cold but it might be a sign of shock due to blood loss.

Bullets streak harmlessly through Abigail's shape and ping off the truck's rusty exterior. One blows out the passenger's side window, showering Quinn with shards of broken glass that catch in her rain-streaked hair and glitter like a wreath of diamonds. Quint backpedals as far as the pier allows, turns when he feels his heel catch on the concrete lip and shrugs off his rifle before diving headfirst into the water. Although he's never encountered someone with Abigail's ability before, he's familiar with the concept of rock-pair-scissors, and water trumps fire in this version of the game.

Blood sprays out the side of Hooper's neck, a hole in his throat and another in his cheek, a fist-sized chunk of mangled gum and teeth where his jaw used to be. He's dead before his body has settled in the wet earth, still on its knees and bent at the middle.

In the water, Quint surfaces some fifteen, twenty feet from the pier and lurches further out, using his good arm to pull himself through it. He hasn't gotten away from the encounter entirely unscathed — a bullet wedged beneath his collarbone makes it difficult for him to swim. His chances of drowning are better than his chances of survival.

But that's no guarantee.

Avi is taking care of Nick, and has taken care of one adversary. There's nothing Raith can do for Abby right now, not until she gets herself back under control. But there is something he can do.

Quint likely won't notice the tiny waves that spread across the water's surface, and it's even hard to say if he'd hear the clank of metal against metal as the bolt of the rifle that once belonged to Brody is opened, and then shut and locked, an unfired cartridge jumping from the chamber and into the water. If he does hear it, he might look back just in time to realize that they've got him dead to rights. At long ranges, it was arguable that the Queen of Wands was the best marksman the Royals had to offer. But when shooting at close range and from the hip, the King of Swords was the undisputed master. And, if he happens to look back, Quint will be well-informed of this fact when he sees short-lived flash of light coming from the rifle's muzzle. Battle's over. One more victory for Captain America.

She wants to yell at Avi that she can't go and reach the guy. He's out in the water. Another part of her reels that she'd even think of killing the guy. Abigail can only glance over her shoulder to Avi and his weapons, then back to Quint in the water then beat a hasty retreat before she irrevocably burns the dock, the drops of rain hitting her accumulating in little sparks of pain. The sound of Raith with his weapons cocking, then firing bring her around full stop to watch, see if Quint out in the water ends up ceasing his movement despite the hurt that being out here in the rain is causing.

Sliding an arm under Nick's uninjured one to brace his weight, Avi carries the burden of Nick on his good shoulder and tries to drag him away from the firefight on shaky footing. Admittedly the situation has gone from bad to worse and there's Jensen with a rifle. Avi only offers an askance look to his former comrade-in-arms come fairweather family, in that look realizing he'd lost his sunglasses somewhere back on the pier.

"Motherfucker," Avi curses to himself as he leads Nick away from the boat, leaving Avi at his back along with the flaming ghost of Abigail beauchamp or whatever in God's name that was to clean up the mess. Raith knows the proper protocol for this, and right now Avi's contact with the arms smugglers on Staten Island is bleeding like a stuck pig.

On his way back form the pier, Avi shoots over to Nick, "Become a fed, travel the world, get shot in the fucking face." There's the flash of a smile. "Nobody ever uses that sales pitch, do they?"

"I think," Nick's voice sounds very far away, and also very British — as it's taking all his energy to not pass out, there's none left to translate his words and tone into American — "the sales pitch I got was 'Do this or you get to be some guy's bitch in prison,' to be honest. Not very glamorous either, is't?"

His words are slurred, and his weight lurches forward, his head lolling forward and down as he loses his hold on consciousness.

Now, Raith finds himself in an awkward sort of situation. On the one hand, it is very much a priority to avoid getting too wrapped up with government agents. On the other hand, this is Nick Ruskin. "Abby, deep breaths," he says to the human torch, "I'll be back with you in a hot minute.


Running to catch up to the other two, Raith is quick to follow up with his questions. "How bad is he?"

Deep breaths.

Fuck you all and your deep breaths.

Abigail, one could imagine, rolls her eyes at Raith and his instructions, looking around for some source of shelter that will get her out from under the rain and out of pain, but that she won't immediately burn it to a crisp. Deep breaths. She'll deep breath him.

"Remember that time in Laos when Lancaster was hallucinating that armadillo?" That's really all that Avi needs to say when he jerks his head over to Nick, "about like that. You better have a fucking way out of here, because if I'd been three goddamned seconds later you'd be eating your teeth through the back of your neck!" So there' still a bit of pent-up frustrations between Avi and Raith, and right now — with Nick bleeding — they're likely not going to get resolved.

"And stay away from my subordinates!" Avi bellows with a wave of a gun-laden hand between Raith and Nick as he circles around the side of the bar, spotting — no truck. "Motherfucking— " Slightly crooked eyes flick back to Raith— or well— one does, the other just kind of sits there staring the wrong way since it's just made of glass.

"Where's the truck, Jensen?"

"It'll be back here soon," Raith replies, undeterred by Avi's threats of gun violence, "One radio call away. But why wait for the truck when there's a perfectly good boat we can take, and I have a perfectly good safe house on the river that you can use for his emergency medical treatment, until things have cooled off enough to get back to the mainland, and can rest assured that Nicholas Ruskin is not going to kick off and die." Raith is careful, extra careful to place plenty of emphasis on Nick's last name. But there's someone else both of them know that, once upon a time, had the same name. "If you don't trust me, I'm sure I can convince Spurling to do something for him, which is a hell of a lot more than you're going to get out of Kershner, or the fat, lazy, incompetent and probably retarded pretend-me."

That is Ruskin? Abigail's coming up behind the trio, getting a look at Nick in as good as she can - and from a safe distance - providing a fair amount of heat in the rain. So this was who Amato had gotten into a fist fight with? Or well, one sided. Abby of the sun dapple surface with it's licking flames crosses her arm, what passes for arms listening in. watching. Silent flame guardian to Raith.

"Yeah this," Avi jabs Raith in the shoulder with the muzzle of his .45, "sounds like a fucking brilliant idea. Is that why you were trying to blow his cover with your greasy Italian pedophile friend?" The ghost of Christmas on fire coming up behind Avi has him dragging Nick's prone frame ahead a bit and away from the fiery specter before turning his focus back to Raith.

"You realize she's going to kill him right? Or at the very least emasculate him verbally until he's absolutely no use to me?" There's a crease of Avi's brows, a look to the distant tail-lights of the truck in the rain, then back to Jensen with a scowl. "Fine, let's go back to the fucking bat-cave. But the minute the caterpillars start getting restless, I'm out."

What did he just call them?

There is a moment of quiet that goes by before Raith gives a nod. "You know, that sounds like a great idea," he says, "Maybe I'll go with you when they do. You dropped these." Raith is toting the rifle in his right hand, but his left had been left free, and that hand now offers to Avi Epstein a pair of aviator sunglasses with a slightly bent frame. "Get him on the boat, do the usual stuff you do with bleedy people. I'll be right there." And while he is, in fact, walking after Avi and Nick, he is also shrugging off his jacket, revealing the body armor he'd been wearing underneath. "I'll call Quinn right away," he says to the still flame-y Abby, dropping the jacket onto the ground, "That's for you. You can steal some pants if you want, but I wouldn't guess you will."

The boat's engine fires up, the King of Swords carefully navigating backwards towards opened water while the King of Pentacles tends to the, Hanged Man, or something. Nick hasn't earned a well-thought out card, yet. The antibiotics are with them, Abby will soon be with Quinn, all of them will be on their way to the river house, and as they travel, Raith only only one thing to do while he pilots.

"Raised in the woods so's he knew every tree, killed him a bear when he was only three….

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