Cutting Queue


doyle_icon.gif isis_icon.gif kaitlyn_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif noriko_icon.gif pandora_icon.gif

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Scene Title Cutting Queue
Synopsis The tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to eat freely (or at least for free) at Saint John's are disrupted by a disturbance of the domestic variety.
Date March 21, 2010

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine remains partially unfinished to this day, despite its construction having begun in 1892 - true to form for buildings of its type. Nonetheless, it is a grand and imposing sight; possessing the characteristic grand arches, pointed spires, and beautiful stained glass windows, including a large and striking Rose window. Where the walls aren't covered with old and meticulously preserved tapestries, they are often ornamented.

Guided tours are offered six days out of the week. Services are open to all. Since the bomb, the main nave is open at all but the latest hours, though the smaller subject-specific chapels close in the evening. The cathedral is also a site for major workshops, speakers, and musical events - most especially the free New Year's Eve concert, which has been held without fail each year since the bomb.

St. John's has long been a center for public outreach and civic service events, but since the bomb, those have become an even greater part of its daily affairs. Services include a men's shelter, a twice-weekly soup kitchen, walk-in counseling, and other programs besides. These are open to everyone - non-Evolved, unregistered Evolved, registered Evolved… the philosophy is that they're all children of God, and that's what matters.

Sundays are always characterized as a busy one for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, but even then, today's showing is unprecedented, and this time, not necessarily a good thing.

The snow has let up, finally, and the cessation of the sky's bitterly cold white chaff has opened the floodgates of those in desperate need. At 5:15 in the afternoon, St. Luke's kitchens start their preparation. By 6:00, it's already obvious that they're short-staffed, over-packed, and under-supplied. Down in the galley, steam in lungfuls rise savory from the assembly line stewpots, and the garbage bags are overflowing with severed carrot-tops. Well-meaning Columbia University students rub shoulders with harried Episcopal nuns, a preppier subset by far than the mainstay of the Ferrymen regulars who watch them with carefully-disguised unease.

If you think it's cold in civilized Manhattan, one ought to develop a certain appreciation of the deprivations and utter squalor that's overtaken the ragged denizens of the Midtown ruins since the blizzard began. You can drink out of snow, but you can't wash clothes in it; not when every degree of artificial heat you can squeeze out of the generators has to go to warming hands and blackening toes. Generators pushed into overdrive have struggled and failed, underfuelled or buckling under the warping encroach of frost.

At least, these are stories that the Cathedral attendance overhear and hear again dozens of times as more unfamiliar faces erode into the sardined crowd. Where once the ruins of Midtown were home to only the most mythically elusive of the stubborn and/or psychotic, the weather has driven them out of hiding, and now they're mingling very, very uneasily with the more familiar, local homeless and underprivileged patrons they're used to seeing. It's tense already, and they don't even know there's likely to be insufficient rations, yet.

The kitchen's ballpark figure is eighty percent. The college kids, however well-meaning, are talking about just making each dollop smaller, but the more seasoned veterans know that there are going to be questions. There's a war room going on, between clanking pots and the hallway shepherds making their rounds, saying, 'Please don't push or run. Walk slowly! Watch for children.'

Somewhere in the back of the crowd, a voice goes up, pitchy and female and scared: "Idao? Idao? My— my son— sir, ma'am. Hello, can anyone help me?"

The snow is a cause of unease for Noriko Amagi, ever since it has started to fall she has just felt out of sorts. Its not something that she can easily put her finger on, just a vague sense of unease and doom. Her subconcious letting her know that there is something /bad/ associated with this much snow, even if her concious mind was made to forget it. However, that does not quite do enough to dampen her drive to try and help others who may not be as well off as herself. She manages to smile somewhat as she leads a man in little more than tattered clothes and an equally tattered trench coat to a seat to eat. Her eyes looking around, after she sits him down, before she begins to head towards the kitchen, meaning to have a talk with the folks about the sheer amount of people who are coming.

Melissa is just showing up with reinforcements! Or, well, more supplies anyway. But she's reinforcement, of a sort, and carrying a big box of foodstuffs to be cooked and served. She's got snow all over her, so her clothing looks as much white as black, and despite the heavy coat, hat and all, looks frozen from her trip.

Her entrance is as quiet as possible, and she moves through the foyer, and tries to skirt around the edge of the dining area, heading back towards the kitchen.

It really was the worst possible time for Eric Doyle to have an attack of conscience and self-confidence and leave his comfortable work with the Ferry's children and retreat into Midtown - it really, really was. An attempt to escape the snow and the frost led him into the midst of a disaster on the bridge, and then an attempt to reach out to someone went just as poorly, driving him back into the cold.

A few layers of jackets that he's gotten from somewhere are keeping him warm, a tattered Yankees ballcap tugged low over his face as he works his way through the crowd towards the scent of food. He's looking paler than usual, drawn, dark circles shadowing his eyes. At the call about someone's child, though, he hesitates — and, grimacing to himself, he moves to sidle the opposite way through the crowd, levering his girthy form back to try and find out what's wrong. Well, for as long as he can ignore the growling of his stomach.

After a talk with Mister Panucci, Magnes brings around eight boxes of pizza on top of a large box of canned goods. It all looks amazingly heavy, but he's carrying it toward the entrance as best he can manage, tilting his head to see in front of him. "Crap, how am I supposed to get this all through the door?" he asks himself, wearing his thick black Venom coat, blue jeans and black snow boots.

Standing outside the Cathedral, standing in the doorway, a woman stands watching the people inside, strands of brown hair float across her face from a breeze blowing though. Kaitlyn Dooley stands, a gloved hand tucked into the pockets of her old olive drab army jacket while the other holds the door open, one sleeve patched up and blood stained. Her jeans are in just as patchy repair. Her boots have seen some time as well, but not easily seen as she stands in the snow.

Sitting off to the side, watching her intently are a trio of dog, different shapes and sizes. One is a German Sheppard, head lowered slightly, his muzzle showing signs of aging. The biggest of the three sits behind the other two, a dark brown boxer mix, his jowls quivering slightly as he licks at them, his long tail swaying slightly behind him. The last being a tan and brown Terrier mix. He stands up on his hind legs, for a moment before he drops down again.

Looking up at Kaitlyn, the terrier's head tilts slightly seems to be asking her something. When she doesn't answer, it makes a wuff of a sound, then an all out yap. A sharp glance is sent to the small dog from the woman, the dogs head dips down a bit, ears drooping some. "I ain't promising you boys nothing." Yes.. she's talking to the dogs. "Just stay there out of trouble and I'll see what I can do." A finger points at the smallest dog. "And you. No sneakin' in." She only gets a head tilt in return. "Yeah, you play dumb there, Benny." She grouses grumpily before stepping into the Foyer wading into the misery.

Why was she here? Why did she come back at all? Isis's recent absence is due in part to a much needed self-analysis. One, apparently that has both played upon her religious beliefs, and left her with very little to which to return. Both seem ample reason for his visit this afternoon. As the little redhead steps into foyer, however, her idle thoughts are shattered with the view of crowded bodies. "Oh Hell." Ack! She throws her hands up over her mouth and looks around. Only a few glares pass her way while she adjusts her gloves over her little hands and situates her scarf over her mouth - she's not tempting the flu fairy again.

The little Irish femme turns in time to find Magnes at her back. "Oh. Sorry. 'Scus-… Hey I know you." Without pause she takes some of the kid's things into her arms. "How's your buddy there, Kendall was it? Let me help ya."

Winter was hard enough as it was, and with this second dose of it coming down hard and heavy when it should have been getting warmer, it just makes things even harder. Pandora Rasmussen's oversized second-hand winter coat just can't be pulled far enough to be zipped up over her swollen belly anymore. The ensemble looks awkward, with buttons snapped at her chin where the fuzzy hood covers dark hair and obscures a lightly tanned-complected face. Standing in line and waiting for her turn to eat, it only occurs to her when she watches someone shed their coat in the warmer atmosphere of the church that she should unsnap her buttons and pull the elemental protection away.

A few errant snowflakes shake free of the Korean-Japanese woman's dark hair, hitting the floor where they'll melt in short order. Her stomach growls, her baby kicks. Pandora leans from her position in line, careful to keep one foot marking her place, lest someone try and tell her place in the queue is forfit. Too many ahead, too many behind. Things are tough all over.

Though Melissa's armload of new supplies definitely invites a few hungry stares from the lines, her presence is reassuring. Fortifies the notion that there is food a-plenty. Of course, once Mel reaches the kitchen proper, it's painfully apparent to her that that isn't the case: the cereal's snagged out of her arms quicker than she can blink.

No, not theft. Just a division of labor. There's a hounded-looking Ferrywoman with pepper-colored hair helping her out, even as Melissa is nudged toward a throng of young volunteers in lettered sweaters ranged around the stew. They stand out like bizarrely clean patches on an otherwise rumpled and worn square of cloth. Her local accent has thickened with annoyance. "There i'nt enough food, and they're ta'king 'bout giving out less without an announcement. Next thing you know, our regulars are going to notice, start asking, and we'll look thirty times as shady trying to put this by them! These Columbia kids, bless their hearts, but they don't know what they're doin'. Thank God there was s'posed to be a paramedic comin' in later t'night— but don't let them know that, you know how these rich kids scare easy. Oi," she pauses, shouts over the workers' heads. "Make room for Varlane!"

There's his pizza 'in.' "Varlane, nose to the grindstone, quit flirtin'!"

That's just teasing.

Doyle recognizes the smell, just the inkling of an acrid note of burning, an instant before an almost cartoonishly narrow figure ropes out of the queue to fall into step behind him. Jericho's silhouette has always been the complete inverse and opposite of Doyle's own, for all they'd managed to strike an offbeat, perhaps complementary harmony back on Staten. He isn't wearing enough clothes for the weather and for his size, but the raw-boned Arab boy is ever too proud to betray a shiver. "Doy, my man," he says. "We're a loooong fuckin' way from home, aren't we? — Relax, I'm not here to guilt-trip. Some shit happened with my boat back, pigs crawling all over the place. Figured I'd hole up."

"'Scuse me, ma'am." Stranger-danger. Kait's dogs stiffen slightly, but they're too used to the bustle of the Cathedral to succumb to the urge to bark. A homeless woman's fuzzy familiars are trained on a code of conduct that are the exact inverse and opposite of the pet enhoused in a suburban home. There are no clearly-defined boundaries to stand by and defend, and though there's a mess of weird fear coming off the strange woman who approaches their mistress, now, she's alone and the entreaty of her reaching hands doesn't quite touch. Her eyes are red-rimmed. "H-hi, I'm sorry— my name's Ruby. Have you seen my son? He's only five, I'm— I told him to stand right here. Do you—" Ruby's whole face goes as sanguine as her eyes, ruddying her cheeks to a semblance of her namesake that isn't at all indicative of health. "Do you think m-maybe your dogs could smell him out?"

Heavy footfalls sound off scuffing the snow behind Pandora, a moment before a rough-hewn figure lopes up at her shoulder. Clove spice, aftershave, and stiffly-starched flannel erode the frigid air by her nose. His teeth show white against his weathered face. "Need a hand, ma'am?"

Noriko enters into the kitchen, and shakes her head a little and looks at those around her. Noticing the frenzy, the hydrokinetic figures there isn't much of a point in expounding on how many people there are out there, since it looks like everyone is pretty in the know in here. She merely smiles and begins walking towards to pick up another plate or two to take out there to the folks, nodding on her way by Melissa to say, "Thanks."

That hint of acrid in the air, like brimstone, brings Doyle's head sharply up a bit to look towards the wiry figure that he knows will be there — a flicker of guilt crossing his features, eyes widening then narrowing, and finally resignation as his shoulders drop down, a sigh whispering past his lips. "Hey, Jericho," he mutters as he moves through the crowd along with his reverse mirror - darker compared to pale, skinny compared to wide - on the way towards the back where the woman was calling for help, "Yeah, a… long way. I just, I mean. Some stuff happened, I didn't think I should… go home."

"I'm not flirting!" Magnes calls out, and hunches down so Isis can take a few pizzas off the top. After a while, they're walking through the dining area and back into the kitchen. "I got all cheese pizzas but spiced them up with stuff. Didn't wanna make a variety of pizza 'cause then we might start a riot or something." He says as the remaining pizza stack on top of the box goes floating for someone to take.

"And this box is canned goods, don't know what's all in here, it's just some stuff Mister Pannuci doesn't need anymore." That box gets sat down and opened for volunteers to dig into.

Melissa blinks when stuff is snagged from her, then when she's pointed towards a group of people. But hey, she's here to help! And that's what she's going to do. "What exactly do we need more of? I can try to get some more of it in here ASAP before we have to start lessening portions?" she suggests, taking off her coat and such, leaving her in black clothes and a white bandage. No more white and black outerwear! "Oh, hey Mags," she says on an afterthought.

There is a sharp glance behind her at the sound of a voice, Kaitlyn's eyes narrow at the woman as she turns. Eyes drop to those hands, and the healer takes a few steps back, shoulder sliding along the wall. "My dogs?" Their ears come forward at the word, they know they are being talked about. "They… they ain't had that kinda training." She states roughly, a glance going to the canines. "You need the NYPD or somethin' or a bloodhound. My dogs are just dogs ma'am. " Oh yeah, just dogs. The boxer mix, Hooch lets his tongue loll out, strings of drool dripping from his maw. If people only knew.

While Kaitlyn tries to shake off the woman, one of her dogs has quiet the weakness… folded ears, flicker forward and a small black nose wiggles back and forth. Benny had been laying down, but the scent of pizza catches his attention, brings him to those stubby little legs, nose in the air. The Shepard, Jerry Lee, brings his head off his paws and watches the little dog. Those big ears are pointed forward, but then he just sets his head back on his paws watching Kaitlyn and the stranger.

The small dog looks at Jerry Lee and blinks before take a few cautious steps forward and laying down, waiting as another set of human feet to walk by. Once in the clear again, the little dog hurries off to follow the bearer of the all mighty Pizza! His little legs have to work to get into the door before it closes. He shifts foot to foot as he's assaulted by such business whoa! However the nag of his tummy has the small dog moving to follow the pizza man, hopefully his size makes him missed in the hustle and bustle.

Pandora closes her eyes briefly, the space of time it takes her to inhale the scent of aftershave and cloves. It's the kind of smell that leaves one feeling warmer than they were a moment ago, even if the chill still permeates everything. She flashes a smile to the man who's approached her, a soft chuckle escaping her lips. "A hand, a new coat, a place to sit down, maybe a space heater." She shakes her head. "I can make do, I think. But I appreciate it." She assess him for a moment. He doesn't have the look of most of the refugees she's met since she became one herself.

"A dinner's worth of food for twenty in the next ten minutes," the pepper-haired woman tells Melissa, with an unhappy twist to her mouth. That's a tall order. Too tall, for ten minutes. "Better make an announcement that more food's comin', if you want to try and supply more. We'll do our best, we always do, eh?"

Still, she's bustling off the next moment with the supplies that the woman had brought in, prepared to do the best she can with the heterogeneous mix of food supplies available to them. The Ferrywoman is far too harried to notice the tiny dog that goes weaving through her ankles as she thunders down a handful of other coarsely-hewn stairs and toward the preparation benches, calling out more than a little humorously, 'Outta the way, gangway, comin' through—' as she goes. Benny enjoys the benefits of her slipstream and loud voice like a little, fuzzy-pelted remora on an energetic dolphin.

"I think you should come back," Jericho answers, his smile crooked, and dark eyes intense as embers. Even with his back turned, the puppeteer can no doubt hear him. He's ghosting along after Doyle, glancing sharply at this or that member of the queue whose elbows threaten to obstruct their journey to foodstuffs. "But nobody fuckin' listens to me. Anyway, it's cool. I probably would've been a Libertarian if I had enough money to live fat off that. People should be able to do whatever the fuck they want to do. Stay. Leave. Save the children. By the way, the kids do miss you."

And the clock hands hit 6:30. The dinner-bell clangors, and the first in line start along to receive their trays, bowls, and plates.

The frenzy of activity redoubles. Pizza slices, cereal, fresh stew, even packages of strawberry pink Snoballs— they're scraping the bottom of the veritable bin today. A weedy ginger-haired man makes no bones about elbowing past Kaitlyn in the middle of her conversation, hastening to cut in front of a cluster of elderly homeless before her, and there's a snarl of disagreement, a yelp as someone nearly trips and causes a Domino effect down the stairs. Break it up, break it up! one of the Columbia U kids assumes the worst and goes hurtling out, his Timberlands whacking louder than the grumble of disconcertion through the line.

Ruby's hand goes out to snag the dogs' mistress when she's bustled into, and then she's shaking her head, alarmed. "Never mind," she says. "Never— never mind. You've been here before, right?" There's odd certainty in the question, a certain sense that it was rhetorical, despite that nothing about her plump hands or disarrayed hair looks familiar to Kaitlyn. Though shabby and worn, her clothes are just this side of too clean, too new, to fit into the demographic she's trying to disguise herself with. "C'mon, we should see the people in charge— get you fed, and— and maybe I can ask them if they've seen Idao." She's releasing the homeless woman all too quickly, her footfalls moving fast toward the stairs.

"I'm looking for my kid," the man tells Pandora, companionably. He sets his coarse hands in his pockets, perhaps surprisingly respectful of the diaphanous demarcations of her personal bubble despite his rough demeanor. "And my wife. You haven't seen 'em, have you? Ruby's a little chubby, and the kid takes after her— my two little angels," and the fondism has the overtone of a chuckle to it, painted over like a thin patina of oilslick. "They didn't come back after church today."

Noriko steps out as she hears the sound of scuffling and general mayham, a faint frown reaching her face. Her eyes catching the Columbia kid that goes running out towards them, and she starts to head in that direction in case there is anything that might need to be broken up by cooler heads. The hydrokinetic is quiet and unassuming, really different from the face that a lot of people know her as.

"Heh. S'funny, really," Doyle slants a sideways look to Jericho, a rueful and self-depreciating smile tugging up at one corner of his lips, "You want me to come back… first time we met you wanted me dead, remember? I'm just— I'm starting to think maybe you were right, is all." The smile fades, "Maybe I am just a monster. I don't know." The puppeteer pushes himself out of the crowd a bit, pausing as he looks around for the person that was calling for help - looking right past Ruby, for the moment, since she's not calling anymore. Maybe he missed them.

"Alright, can someone see what's going on out there?" Magnes asks, despite his strongest instincts to go see himself, he starts trying to see what's cooking and what he can throw together. "Alright, I'm a professional, give me whatever you're not sure you can work with and I'll do… something with it."

Melissa grimaces faintly and nods to the woman. "I'll make the announcement, then make some calls. I'll get more food." Not that she knows quite how just yet, but she'll manage it! She walks out of the kitchen and calls out to the room in general, "I know you're all hungry, and probably don't want to wait, but if some of you can wait for a little bit, we're going to be getting more food shortly!" She pauses, frowning a little at some of the faces in the crowd, but she ignores them for now in favor of making those calls. Hello Golden Buddah, we need a LOT of egg rolls right now.

Benny pads along on his smaller legs, head swinging this way and that, ears perked forward, looking at all the tall things. None the wiser! If the little fuzzy pup could laugh, it would be a mad scientists laugh. Though it doesn't occur to him that he'll be in some serious trouble from his own human should he get caught.

The tan and white Remora, detaches from that woman's wake as they get to the serving table, Sooo much food! It's like a doggie paradise! That little black nose is wiggling a mile a minute while he slips under the table, looking for bits and pieces of things that might have accidentally fallen, nose to the floor.

Snuffle snuffle

"Hey!" The dog's mistress snaps at the man that elbows into her, Ruby forgotten for the moment, "Watch where your jabbin' those elbows, buddy." There is a catch of breath in her throat a the scuffling, new bruises and such popping up in her radar. Doing that she doesn't have time to back away before she's grabbed. Kaitlyn's head snaps around, a glare given to the one in her personal space. The healer likes her personal space.

That grab also has Jerry Lee on his feet, shoulder muscles bunching and relaxing, he knows how his human feels about stuff like this. The healer doesn't say anything to the woman, but her expression says Let go!. When Kaitlyn is released, both her and the dog relaxes, head coming up, brown eyes watching the strange woman. "Yeah I know Jerry Lee, there are a million weirdos in this city." The healer huffs a bit and glances at Jerry Lee and Hooch. "Stay." She hisses out and then starts to follow the woman.

Only…. something occurs to her and she backs up to look at the dogs. "Where is Benny?" The other two give her a rather innocent look, but Kaitlyn knows… "Son of a bitch." She growls, turning to heading deeper in to the fray… looking for the furry little food vulture.. maybe she'll get lucky and find the five year old as well.

Pandora glances around slowly, using her somewhat advantaged height of 5'10" to try and see around people, find the woman and child the man's looking for. Her brows knit in consternation for a moment. She's gotten to know a lot of women at the shelter she lives in that tell their husbands they're doing something as innocuous as going to church and then never come home. Six months ago, she'd have looked harder. In the back of her mind, she's realised her circumstance has made her less personable. More jaded.

"Haven't seen anyone like that." Pandora turns her attention back to the man at her side, an apologetic shake of her head. "Sorry. What's your name, though? If I run into Ruby, maybe I can tell her you were looking for her?" The commotion of people cutting in line is nothing new. But it doesn't slip under her radar, either. It sets her noticeably on edge. The last thing she needs is to be knocked down. A hand flutters protectively over her stomach as she moves forward along with the line.

Do we gotta pay? is the real question.

Rarely before has the group been privvy to restaurant food, ordered via the telephone, and news of Melissa's tactical maneuver spreads like a wildfire. A number of the volunteers are surprised, and a couple of the nuns exchange glances. The Ferry workers are a little less surprised, scattered as they are throughout the rest. They know that Mel can draw from a number of funding sources, and are quick to reassure that the money's from charity, it's going to be all right, there's paperwork— it's a legal transfer of funds, and more importantly, everyone's going to get fed.

The drop in tension is palpable.

"I'm looking for my son," Ruby says to the next likely ear. Doyle's, through some coincidence of them scrambling in the same direction. Her plump hand winds up starfished urgently on the small man's shoulder, and she notices what she's doing with a jolt of pathetically visible panic. I'm sorry; she recoils, and her already scarlet face blinks moisture back. "We're— I was— I'm sorry, I won't even eat your food, we were just looking for the Ferry. You see, my son, he's… he's— he's one of…" she trails off, mortified by her own confusion and the choking cloud of paranoia that the cessation of snow over New York City has done nothing to clear.

At Doyle's side, Jericho cranes his head over to the left. He makes a loud sidelong whisper: "Well, she doesn't look like a secret government spy." It's only funny because it's true. What the Arab boy fails to recognize, however, is an obscure glimmer of guilt in the curl of her shoulders and her mouth, but it stands out to Doyle unmistakable as the keen of a dogwhistle would've been to one of Kait's dogs.

Kaitlyn's dogs are, however, currently occupied causing havoc further up in the line. A yelp goes up; a man nearly collides bodily with Noriko, one flying hand almost tangles in the hydrokinetic's hair as he shrieks, raw with fury, "Rats! This kitch— holy fuck that's a dog!" and it's bolting off before he can aim a kick after its small, furry rump. "God fuckin' damn, they feedin' us dogs, now? What do we look like, Chinese? No offense," he adds, glancing at the Asian woman. His teeth show yellow, leering at her.

Cooking materials mass before Magnes' eyes. The first vat of stew's already out, being served by hands moving as fast as earnest mortals can, but there's more to be done with the celery, the carrots, milk, broth and chunks of haphazardly tenderized pork. It probably isn't going to be the tastiest soup he's ever made, with the clock hands grinding away at the night, but there are more than a few volunteers glad that he's here. The other chef is pushing past toward the oven with some peculiar dessert conglomerated out of Melissa's recent gift of cereal.

No doubt, his culinary undertaking takes a good deal of the young gravitokinetic's concentration. However, it can't go entirely unnoticed when a small, gloved hand— smaller than some of the snowflakes that the sky shat down this past week— appears in the peripheral of his vision, sneaking a slice of carrot out of his pile.

"Appreciate it if you would," the man answers Pandora, with a slight bow from the waist. He gives her a wink, and strides deeper into the crowd. His is a certain air of authority; however dense and distraught the crowd is, people move out of his way, a Moses effect reinforced when two other men slide out of the crowd and fall into a razor-straight trajectory behind him.

Noriko lets you a yell as she is collided with, spinning around to look at the man who ran into her. Her eyes watch him for a couple of moments, before she states rather calmly, "I'm japanese, Sir," is all she says in response to him. Forcing a smile to her lips, she adds, "If you will please move in a calm and orderly fashion that way, I'm sure you'll get seated and some food will be brought to you, okay?" Her eyes watch the crowd for a couple more moments, making sure that there aren't any others she may need to poke and prod.

If there's one thing that Doyle's not, it's a trusting man; he's been burned, or percieved himself to've been burned, by just about everyone at one point or another. The puppeteer's conversation with the pyrokinetic is suddenly cut off by the touch of the woman's hand, and he looks to her with a furrowed brow, noticing that look in her else, that subtle tension that isn't from a missing child.

"The Ferry? Like… to the mainland?" He's also good at lying. "Look, look… Jericho, let's help her find her kid, alright? What's he look like, lady?"

Magnes has at least gotten a good portion of the ingredients for his stew together, not really skimping on anything so it'll be nice and thick and the people who do get a bowl don't go too hungry for more. When he notices the little hand, he quickly turns around to eye the source. "Hey, someone come stir this, I think there's a kid in here!" he calls out, trying his best to ignore the commotion about a dog.

Melissa hangs up the phone after placing a rather large order for delivery, and promise of a nice big tip since the weather is so horrid. Money doesn't just talk. It sings. She moves back to the woman and passes on the good news. Then she's eyeing the dog. Hasn't she seen that dog before?

Since Mel can't cook - it would be inedible even for homeless people - she moves back out of the kitchen to help calm things and assure people that there will be food. "If everyone can just sit down somewhere, this will be a lot quicker and easier." She grins. "And maybe even a little safer."

Uh oh! Move legs move! Benny has to scramble away as he's spotted, moving into the seas of legs that are the people lined up for food. He scrambles over Jericho and Doyle's feet before bolting under a table near by, occupied by a family. There the fuzzy vacuum cleaner hits pay dirt as he finds a bit of something under the table, scarfing it. No need to know what it is… as long as it smells like food! Not like he tastes it. Only after he checks for other yummies in his hiding spot does he inch out a bit, head lowered a little, those soulful brown eyes watching for more kicking feet.

Kaitlyn is however slipping through the crowd, her eyes on the floor, crouching down now and then to see if she can spot the little pain in the ass. "Benny." She says softly, afraid to bring too much attention to herself and the dog. Last thing she needs is to get kicked out of the place.

Then she spots Melissa. Oh.. just great. A frown tugs down her lips and she ducks her head a bit and moves in a different direction. Kaitlyn has never been a people person and the fact, Melissa has seen what the healer can do… never a good thing.

Pandora watches the man departing, trepidation in her features. It's only compounded in the way that he apparently has accomplices among the crowd. She casts a glance skyward. If there is a better place to say a prayer than at Saint John's, she doesn't know of it right now. And Pandora prays that Ruby and her son aren't found by the man that wouldn't tell her his name.

No, a prayer just isn't enough. With a heavy sigh, Pandora turns to the person behind her. She leaves her hand resting on her stomach. "I have to use the bathroom. Would you please let me back in line when I get back?" She doesn't wait for a response before reaching out to clasp a forearm with a gentle squeeze. "Thank you!" She steps out of line and after the man she was just speaking to, her pace a hurried waddle of sorts. "Excuse me!" she calls after him. "Perhaps you could lend me a hand? I could really use a strong-looking man like yourself for this." She flashes him a smile, hoping the flattery and the chance to assert his manliness grabs his attention.

"B-brown hair," Ruby answers, even as the mouse-colored top of the boy-child's head lifts up into Magnes' view. "Blue eyes." They blink robin's-egg bright at the pizza boy, and the child bends his mouth around a timid grin. "He's only f-five years old, he's really small and— I j-just need to get him somewhere safe—" There are so many punctuating moments of commotion around here that it's a shot in ten to take heed of any given one, but something in Pandora's voice steers her glance backward.

She catches a glimpse of him. That profile, and then Ruby's face bleaches white with very real panic. "Please," she says. "A-any ferry's okay, s-sure whatever— I just— excuse me." Abruptly, she's pushing past Jericho and Doyle, which is particularly odd to look at because she's shrinking from the two men in the very same action.

Jericho's eyes thin to a squint. "You want to look for him up here or down there?" he asks his tubby, older friend, his voice hard as the stones of the Cathedral's belly.

When you're hungry, you're as prone to irritation and drama as you are indifferent to the sparks of other people's drama catching. At Noriko and Melissa's combined command, many of the herd begin to settle down on the benches, packing together like so many Cubans, braving more physical contact than they're normally wont to. In an odd way, the cold helps; makes people less nervous or aversive to sharing space, as long as they're going to get to share food. The middle-aged Ferrywoman bustles past, throws Mel and Noriko two quick winks. Thank you, ladies.

Seconds later, her leathery hands close around Benny's tiny wheel-o'-cheese midriff and hoist him aloft. "Anybody missin' this furry little tyke?" she calls. "No need to fuss, the rest of you. He hasn' been in the kitchen! And it seems like we've got a human one down in the kitchen," she adds. Pitched high over the heads of the seated, her voice cuts through strong and clear, catches Doyle by the ear but bleeds faint to Pandora over the hubbub. "So if there are any deprived guardians 'round here—?"

Fortunately, whatever the leading brute does with his free time or work pegs him at a little harder of hearing than Pandora is. One could guess construction. "Bathroom's down there, right?" he asks her, his grin widening, white and practically fanged in its Selachimorphic symmetry. Though he's moving in the right direction, he doesn't seem to have heard the announcement emanating from below. "Sure. Me and the boys will walk ya."

Noriko continues to look around and make sure that there are no longer any other stragglers and people who don't have a seat or can't find one. Helping those who are confused as she runs a hand through her hair. "Right then," she murmers, eyes sharp and looking for her next project in helping the people. Eyes going to Jericho and his tidy little crew.

"We'll find him, we should…" A pause as that call reaches Doyle's ear, his head lifting a bit and a quick grin flashed to Ruby, "…sounds like someone's already found him. C'mon, miss, let's head through the crowd and see if that's him. Jericho, could you, uh, clear us a little bit of a way through?"

"Uh, alright, um…" Magnes unzips and digs into his coat, then pulls out an issue 525 of Fantastic Four, dangling it above the kid's head. "Uh, here, follow me and I'll read it to you." He has no idea what he's doing with a kid, but surely if dogs follow you with bones, children follow you with comics. "Hey! There's a kid back here!" he calls out to the dining area while trying to keep a light tangle of gravity around the kid's waist, one the kid can't quite feel.

Also more comic dangling. Dangle dangle…

There's a sigh of relief from Melissa when people start to calm down, and she glances towards the door. Okay, anytime now, delivery man. Then she spots Doyle, and her head tilts. Hey, guy from the bridge. And the park. Small world? She gives him a little smile, then looks around, eyeing people, searching for other incidents she might be able to calm until the food arrives.

There is a small yelp of surprise as Benny is lifted, at least he has the decency to look guilty as he's lifted, head hanging down, little stub of a tail drooping. Pity me! His body language says. He even takes a moment to try and give the woman holding him an apologetic lick. I'mma good dog!

Then the call for a dog's owner, reaches the ears of the healer. "Benny." Kaitlyn murmurs softly in a pained tone, turning to see the woman holding Benny. There is a moment as all eyes look towards her wayward canine that she actually considered turning around and walking away. For the homeless woman, it would be like turning her back on a dog.

Biting her lip, Kaitlyn's eyes go to the floor and she slowly inches through the crowd trying not to bring attention to herself. Her dark eyes lift when she finally reaches the woman. Eyes flicker around her and she nods to Benny, who is trying not to look at his owner. Ooooh he knows he's in trouble. "That — that's my dog." She says softly. "Sorry. He's normally better then this and stay with the other two." Not totally the truth. She glares at the dog for putting her in this position. "Sorry, ma'am."

"Thank you," Pandora says sweetly, reaching out to take the man's arm. "I just don't want anyone to think I'm cutting in line, and stairs can be a bit tricky in my condition. I'm sure you remember what it was like when your wife was pregnant." She bats her lashes and beams a smile, "I just knew you would be the right person to ask." She pats her "white knight's" arm as they walk toward the stairs. She even hitches in her movements, clutching at her belly with a soft ooh.

"Sorry," Pandora apologises after a breath. "You wouldn't mind waiting right outside the door for me, would you? My back has been hurting something fierce." A Bronx-Brooklyn accent is exceptionally thick with the use of that emphasised word. "You know, just in case?" Like in case she goes into labour? She doesn't actually feel that's a remote possibility, but if she can leave the implication hanging heavily enough, perhaps she can distract his pursuit.

Trust Magnes Varlane to figure out the key to winning a child's heart. Instantly, the boy's hands go up and out. Yes, he's a little too trusting for a child who comes from the ugly domestic situation he does, but it's warm and friendly here! And besides. Magnes looks like Magnes, and his mother said he'd be safe here. Instantly, the kid's doughy little palms go up. Comics! Comics. His Da never lets him read comics! "Superman?" the boy asks, optimistically. He makes a caricature out of his right hand, whooooshes it through the air.

"Aw, don't you worry, sweetheart," the Ferrywoman says, giving Kaitlyn a smile made of as much sugar as — maybe, liquor. She's less delicate-looking even than the homeless woman is, and ten times as warm. "I know it's a tough crowd in here. A big one, too. If you can hold onto the little boy here, I'm gonna see about packing up some food for you to take home. Delivery's gonna arrive any moment, now, so there's plenty to go 'round. You just wait right here." She at least knows better than to try and touch Kaitlyn, even in an effort to be reassuring.

Trying to wipe residual 'dog' off his shoes, Jericho nods at the dumpy little puppeteer. Turns to start bulling his way through the remaining crowd— only to find five distraught lady-fingernails sunk into his arm. It actually kind of hurts. "Mary's cunt," he hisses, shaking Ruby off, "what the fuck is wrong with you? Goddamn— this coat is practically new, you kn—"

"I'm sorry," she says, flushed to her forehead. "J-just my husband's here and he's… I can't— I can't see him right now. He's back there. I saw him, he was with the pregnant lady. I-if you could go and make sure she's all right I can go to the kitchen and f-find my boat-ride…" The guilt that Doyle had detected seconds before isn't gone from her, but it's droning down into a background noise compared to the new panic turning her knuckles white.

Her hands are empty but her hands are balled into fists. Ruby catches sight of Noriko, abruptly, and abruptly puts her hope in her fellow woman. "Please," she says. "There was a pregnant woman back up there, if you could help her—?"

And a shout goes up a dozen yards behind her: one thug's head bent down below the level of the ceiling to stare. "Hey!" and the man is waving a callused hand, trying to catch Ruby's eye enough to turn her head enough he can see her face. "Ruby. Ruby. Ors, I think I see her— there's this fat little—"

"I think I see my wife." Orson can't yet, of course, but his friend's calling and something about the pregnant Eurasian woman's weaselly little face is beginning to remind him, increasingly, of the way the bitch used to carry on. Of course, Ruby was never nearly so talented a liar. "I think you might have to hoof this one on your own. Or maybe you oughtta get to the hospital." A grip closes like a warm vice around her elbow, and his smile locks behind his jaws, angled down at her face. "Before somethin' bad happens."

Noriko blinks a little as suddenly chaos starts to erupt around her, and the poor hydrokinetic just doesn't know what's going on any more. Looking from one person to the other, she says, "Can somebody stop, and explain what the hell is going on in a sane manner? I have brain damage, and I can't quite keep up. So, please… let's start with the beginning." Her eyes looking at Ruby, and then to all the others who're starting to gather around there, fingers flexing while she thinks.

The whole dynamics of the situation is something that rather escapes Eric Doyle at the moment - and he doesn't recognize Noriko right off, despite her face drifting around in his head somewhere. And the part of her brain that might have remembered him from Moab is gone. He looks around a bit, grimacing, "Jericho— Jer, go, uh, go see if you can find this pregnant chick, okay? I think there's something wrong here… c'mon, miss…" A jerk of his head towards the crowd, and he starts to push his way through, reaching out to grab Ruby's hand to lead her towards the direction that someone yelled about a kid.

"Well, it's…" Magnes doesn't want to disappoint a kid with Fantastic Four, so suddenly he slides the comic back into his coat, then floats about a foot off the ground, then lands right back, leaning down to offer a hand to the boy. "Now, don't tell anyone, but I know a lot about Superman, how else do you think I learned how to fly? Let's find your parents and I promise I'll get you a really nice Superman comic." He puts a finger to his mouth in a shh gesture. "I've gotta keep my secret identity, so don't tell anyone I know so much about Superman, alright?"

Melissa is still monitoring things! Until her gaze lands on Ruby and she notices how upset the woman is. Though Doyle is heading that way too, Mel starts to make her way over as well. "Hi. Who is it who needs help, ma'am? If you tell me, I'll go see what I can do," she says, walking along with Doyle and Ruby. "And this nice gentleman will keep you company while I look for her."

"Thanks." Kaitlyn says roughly, taking the squirming dog from the woman and steps back, almost bumping into someone. She is really not liking it here. To ask the healer to stay there is asking a lot. "Yeah, okay." Is all she says to the Ferrywoman, arms tighten around the little terrier, whose tail wiggles at a blinding speed. However, she's really thinking about fleeing…

"Don't you go lookin' all happy." She scolds the pup in her arms, that tail slows to a stop, his head lowers and he gives a little whine. Seriously, how can anyone stay mad at a look like that. Kaitlyn studies him with a frown pulling down the corners of her mouth, "You're just lucky you're cute." The words are growled softly, her eyes move to watch everyone around her, they lock on the man and the pregnant woman. The brown eyes of the ex-cop narrow dangerously. "What is that, Benny?" She murmurs softly, moving that direction, she doesn't like what she's seeing.

The dog in her arms, feels the tension in her body and he goes still, head up and ears forward looking in the direction his owner is taking him. "Starting to wish I have Jerry Lee." Kaitlyn murmurs, knowing the dog will stay where he's told till she gets back, or she whistles for him.

"You know, I was just thinking the same thing," Pandora mutters, cold as the weather outside. With no further warning than that, she takes a grip on the man's wrist. How the pregnant woman actually manages to wrench it away and then throw him to the ground is unexpected, to say the least. The movements are more awkward than they were when she was unladen with child, when she was still married, when she was still trusting, but they're no less fluid. Even if she's left feeling a little winded after the fall possibly knocks the air from his lungs.

"Help!" Pandora cries at the top of her voice, backing far enough away from her opponent that he can't do something like grab her ankle and drag her down. "He threatened my baby," she cries despondently, hair strewn about her face and her chest heaving. She puts on her best wide-eyed, innocent and scared-out-of-her-mind face. The last isn't terribly hard, because she is a bit scared, honestly. So she's maybe lying a bit about how severe his threat was, but really, she's pregnant and he looks like a giant douchebag. Who's this crowd inclined to believe?

The five-year-old's eyes go to holyshit huge. Magnes can fly. Magnes has a secret identity, and he can fly. Strange man + comic book knowledge + flight + super identity - (slightly disappointing choice of wardrobe / understanding that secret identities sometimes mean modest colors) = SUPERMAN. "Whoooa, coooool." The boy's mouth goes into a circle near as perfect as his popping stare. His mirth fades slightly as his brows wrinkle up thoughtfully. "My daddy's more like Maxwell Lord. He's nice at work.

"I like visiting him at work."

"David?" Ruby bursts into the kitchen area, Melissa behind her, hand in hand with a dumpy little man who obviously is not Maxwell Lord. In fact, Magnes might even recognize him as one Eric Doyle. Who notably also isn't married. Possibly, the two comics fans might proceed to be confused in tandem, but little David's perplexity is soon given rest as his mother bodily drags Doyle over to the counter, only to release the puppeteer in order to snatch her baby up with a koala's ferocity. The kitchen staff grind to a pause, peering at the reunion with obvious confusion, before staring at Magnes and Eric, respectively.

By then, Kaitlyn's Ferry contact is back there too, hastily assembling a box for the woman's takeaway, but she notices the four and is the first to ask. "Somethin' goin' on, Mel?" Doyle, may well know either her or Melissa from some fleeting acquaintance, a supply truck passing through the Sweat Lodge perhaps or rounds on Staten Island. The very people that Ruby was looking for. If the boat's bound to dock for new boarders anywhere. What remains to be seen is where his paranoia places each of the people that the fallen puppeteer faces now. Not even Jericho is here to act the part of an unlikely conscience.

Instead, the skinny Arab is lunging up the stairs, shouting— "Hey, Tokyo! This way!" at Noriko, guiding her upstairs to the foyer. There's a bizarre sense of deja-vu for both of ex-convicts, like that odd glimmer that had struck Doyle moments before, but there's no time to discuss common history.

As soon as they skid to a stop on the cold-worn stone, it becomes obvious enough to the brain-damaged hydrokinetic what's what. Orson's crumpled to the ground on one knee, cursing up a storm as he makes his way back up and his two interchangeably burly companions are advancing either to help him or to terrorize Pandora further. Pandora's genuinely frightened, and rightfully so; one man is reaching at her arm and the words seething through his teeth are not for civilized society.

"Back the fuck off," Jericho snaps. "Or—" Or. He pauses, brows peaking, as if just now realizing that he and Noriko added together probably weigh about as much as one of these assholes, and whipping out the Evolved abilities under these circumstances would be a gratuitously bad idea. Which is only bound to stop him for two seconds? It doesn't occur to him to appeal to legitimate authorities; he's as vicious a brute now as Noriko's old persona used to be.

Noriko blinks at the scene that she finds herself in front of, and suddenly everyone in the Foyer finds themselves a in dryer clothing as the hydrokinetic whips the water dripping from clothing and the small puddles on the floor into a rather splindly looking stick of water and placing it in front of Pandora. "Alright, back off now, or someone is going to get hurt," the hydrokinetic states as she looks at the men in the room and then over to Pandora. "Get out of here, and stop causing such a disturbance," she further states to the men, kinda hoping that there aren't any evo-phobics in the room behind her.

This time, Doyle's the one being dragged — half-stumbling once before regaining his feet, head shaking a bit as he's pulled back into the kitchen area in time to see the reunion between mother and son. The girthsome man glances at Magnes nervously, then over to the mildly-familiar faces of Ferry operatives, the very people he's been avoiding in his ill-chosen act of personal repentance. Sort of. Hey, he's a puppeteer, not a monk.

He licks his lips a bit nervously, then raises a hand towards Melissa and the other woman, "H-hey, why don't you, uh, give her a hand here, okay? I think that, uh— I think that there's a real asshole that might be showing up in a minute."

Magnes smiles when the boy seems reunited with his mother, then looks over at Doyle in some surprise. "Ah, the puppet guy!" He momentarily peers out of the kitchen, then back to the others. "What's going on out there? I should be cooking, but if there's anything I can help with. I mean, I was a cop, I've got crowd control training and all that…"

Melissa shrugs a little at the other Ferry woman. "Not sure yet," she admits. Then Doyle seems like he's about to make a break for it, and she reaches out to reach for his arm, though her touch is light. "Then all the more reason for you to stay here in case we need you, isn't it?" she asks him with a smile.

Mel looks back to Ruby. "Who is it who needs help? And what sort of help?" A glance up to Magnes. "I don't think we need crowd control yet. Most everyone is still calm. Chinese food is coming." She caught the puppet guy thing. She had to have. It could be why she's trying to keep him there, even!

Coming out into the Foyer and seeing the situation quickly, Kaitlyn lets out a sharp whistle that goes from a high not to a low. "Jerry Lee." The order in her voice is clear. The small dog is deposited on the ground where he stands stock still, no wandering. It's work time. Two other dogs slink around the growing crowd in the foyer. "«Heel»." She says to the German Shepard, in the language of his county, his head lowering. All three dogs seem to know the word. The healer doesn't speak German, but K-9's are often taught certain words in foreign languages.

Brown eyes fall on the burly men trying to manhandle Pandora, as she steps along side Jericho. "I suggest you leave that, young woman alone, boys." There is barely contained contempt in Kaitlyn's words, hands at her sides, hands curled into fists. "Jerry Lee, Benny, Hooch… «Guard»" The Shepard takes a step forward eyes on those big men, a growl rumbling in his throat. Even friendly little Benny seem to be watching them carefully.

All Kaitlyn can think is, God please don't let it go to violence. Her head is already screaming with the minor hurts around her.

It's really hard to sound like a shrinking violet when your accent is so unmistakeably New York, which makes just about anyone sound something between complete bitch, and mobster. Possibly a completely bitchy mobster. Pandora certainly looks the part, however, gasping when Noriko brazenly uses her ability in front of - quite literally - God and everybody.

Regardless of the full Japanese woman's display, one of the thugs has still got a hand on Pandora's arm, and surprise is not on her side this time. "Let go'a me!" she demands shrilly. It would seem she's got plenty of support, however. She shoots a glare to Orson, the man she dropped. "Beat it! Stop terrorising your wife and kid, ya jerk!"

Ruby's plump arms fix themselves sturdily around her son, and she lifts him to set on her hip. He sprawls his small feet into the air around her torso and twists his head back to beam at Magnes, well pleased that now, it would appear, both he and his mother are under Superman's sphere of protection. "W-we're looking for— the ferry." Her voice dwindles to a whisper with those final two words, as the realization of how many people are paying audience to the reunion.

That single mention is enough to straighten the middle-aged Ferrywoman's shoulders. She clears her throat. "Mel, if you could handle this poor lady's transportation details— you're a long way from the seaside, ma'am," she adds, giving the woman a wink, then Doyle a more considering stare. She gives him a smile, as discreet as a secret unto itself, even as she starts back out the door with Kaitlyn's food container in hand. "The rest of you, back to work! There's hungry legions waitin' outside, and we'd better be done with our supplies before the takeout crowds in!"

She pops out the doors. Is left blinking at the rows of eating patrons. Her nostrils flare once, against the ripe scent of unwashed bodies, before her brow buckles in a furrow. Okay. She could have sworn Kaitlyn was…

Suddenly, the three big men are facing down not one pregnant woman but a bitchy mutant, pack of dogs, and a fuckin' Arab. This offends their sensibilities in a way that probably would have spilled into further violence, but the Morningside's security and police presence is solid under the best of circumstances. The hubbub is drawing attention through the Cathedral's broad wooden doors, and the bouncing of echoes makes no secret of the nature of the conflict. A young priest comes running up, shouting about the NYPD, and Pandora's arm finds itself viciously shoved against her torso even as Orson and his cohorts begin to fall back, arms up, a parody of willing surrender.

"You don't know what the fuck you're talking about," Pandora's told, before a wad of spit slithers down onto the stone floor beside the stick of aggregated water. Orson sneers at Noriko, first, then gives Jericho a taunting jut of his chin. "You two had better run too. They aren't going to lock me up over a gene-freak and a sand nigger." Kaitlyn, whose homeless status is all too apparent in the dishevellment and skinniness of her, is scarcely graced with a glance, though her dogs draw a few hisses.

Noriko fixes Orson with a cold eye while she stands, the woman channeling the person she used to be for the briefest of moment as the man talks and she says, "You won't get the chance to. Believe me when I tell you I can kill you with just the thought." With that she manipulates the water she was using to protect Pandora, and cracks it like a whip at him, probably splashing him a little, but likely getting her point across.

There's a wince from Doyle as he's pointed out as 'the puppet guy', a black look shot the young man despite him not deserving it, a 'keep it under your hat' sort of look that's probably lost entirely, and is pointless anyway. A more rue-touched look to Melissa as she touches his arm, and his shoulders sink, "Alright, alright…" A half turn, looking back, "…I guess somebody should stay here, just in case."

"Alright, good, that's covered." Magnes reaches into his coat pocket, then offers the boy a little plastic pack of mini-carrots, the packs they typically serve at a school lunch. "Don't forget to eat your vegetables. I'm gonna go keep cooking, I'll make sure you both get something to eat." he offers to the boy and the woman, smiling before heading back to his pot. He doesn't say anything more to Doyle, he'll figure that story out soon enough!

Melissa gives Doyle a sympathetic look, then gives Magnes a sharp one. Oh yes, she'll be speaking with him later. And it likely won't be a pleasant conversation. "Just let me know if that guy does wander back here, please. Name's Mel. And…" She digs around in her pockets for a moment, then pulls out a business card, offering it to Doyle. "We should talk soon. Nothing bad. Promise," she says, giving him a winning smile.

Ruby and her son get smiles too, but they're more reassuring. "I certainly can help these two!" she says in response to the other Ferrylady. "You two just come with me and I'll see what I can do to help you. What're you names?" she asks, motioning for them to come with her.

It doesn't bother Kaitlyn much when she's passed over so readily, her shoulder relax just a touch, no violence, thank god. The mention of NYPD makes her suddenly nervous, but not for the reasons one would think, she was once one of them, a K-9 officer before Midtown. Many probably thought she died, when she left and dropped off the map, "«Stand Down.»" Comes the order quickly in German, a touch of panic in her voice, all the growling cuts off suddenly, the dogs relaxing and sitting at her feet, looking again like ordinary dogs. Benny's tail even starts wagging again.

Taking a couple of steps back, she pauses. There was one thing she needed to check before Kaitlyn allowed herself to flee, a glance goes to the pregnant woman, "You okay?" Eyes giving her a once over, some concern there, with so much going on with her ability within range, it's kind of hard to focus on just the pregnant woman.

Pandora rubs her arm gingerly when it's released and shoved back toward her. "Thank you," she murmurs in a blanket of gratitude to those who took her side, her eyes to the ground. That wasn't smart, what she did. She'll have to temper such impulses in the future. Kaitlyn catches her attention, however, and so she lifts her head, gives her a nod. "I'm fine. Thank you."

Jericho comes forward to help the pregnant woman. Fortunate that he's as narrow as he is, or his height would probably cast the reach of his hands in a somewhat more threatening, looming sort of light.

As it is, it's clear that his annoyance is pointed distinctly away from her and at the three thugs. Of course, while ordinarily talk of police would have him as wary as Kaitlyn is, he's angry today. "Yeah, run for it! Shitbags." 'Sand nigger.' He hasn't heard that one in awhile. "Use your imaginations, I'm sure you'll be able to find enough household items to finish your tiny-pricked circle fuck!

"Assholes." The boy's brown fingers drop a gentle patpatting down on Pandora's shoulders, and he winds up nodding his curly, dark-haired head at the stairs. "I dunno about you, ma'am— ma'ams," he corrects himself, looking up at the other two women. "But I'm not a big fan of the fuckin' police. Downstairs is as good a place as any to avoid 'em, if you're okay with crowds. That was some pretty smooth moves," he adds, eyeing her first, Noriko second, with a different shade of curiosity to his stare.

Fortunate for Kaitlyn— who'd obviously rather have options, it's that precise moment she hears her name called out from the stairwell. The older Ferrywoman is raising a box of chicken and stew above her head, gesturing with a forefinger at it. "Everything all right up here?" she asks. "Let me guess— that pack of unsavory gents they was talking about downstairs."

Ruby falls into line behind Melissa, docile as someone far too accustomed to being told what to do. "Ruby," she introduces herself. "This is my son, David. I— I heard we could get help for people— like him here," she adds, her voice kept low under the sizzle of broths and oils, meaningful. When David whispers in her ear, hesitation pinches at the line of her neck; she glances back at Magnes for a moment, wondering, before flitting a glance at Doyle again. He knows these people, helped her, and yet there seems to be no love lost between himself and those working here.

Noriko returns the look, she's lost a lot of her shyness about the fact that she is special over time, and now is no different than any other. "You do what you have to do to make sure people are safe. Even the ones that are causing the agitation, sometimes its just better to scare 'em off easily," she replies with a faint smile, before adding, "I should probably head back to my apartment," she begins, before seeing the older Ferrywoman, and adding, "Unless I am still needed to help out here."

The card's taken, Doyle's brow furrowed a little as he looks at it - then up to Melissa - then back, starting to say something but it's a false start. Finally he just shoves it into a pocket and leaves the matter quiet for the moment, turning a bit to look back to Ruby at her uncertain glance. A wan smile's offered, and he brings a hand up in a vague wave, "They'll take care've you two, miss. It'll be fine."

Magnes meets Melissa's look with complete confusion, unable to really figure out why she seems angry, he just goes back to cooking. He's trying to churn out food as fast as he can, that doesn't taste like complete crap, at least with what he has to work with. "Alright guys, boiling seems like it's taking a while. How much stuff do we have left back here?"

Melissa smiles down at David, and once they're out of high traffic areas, she stops and turns, bending down so she's on eye level with the boy. "Hi David. You like movies? X-Men? Superman?" She leans in a little, droping her voice to a whisper. "You know how they've got a secret? Their really cool secret? Have you got one like that?"

Mel looks up to Ruby. "Been having problems with neighbors? Or expecting to? Or is he not feeling well?" she murmurs to the woman.

The other woman's arrival brings relief from Kaitlyn. "Oh thank you lord.. I will never doubt you again." She says softly, eyes skyward. Benny is all up for what is in the box, he moves to circle the older Ferry woman's legs, a hop on his back legs as she stops. The other two look interested but do not react the same. As stated before, Benny has a weakness.

"Ah.. yes, ma'am there was some bad folks messing with the pregnant one." There is no smile given, Kaitlyn is fresh out of those, as she reaches to take the box. "Thank you for the food, I'll get me and my boys out or your hair." Glancing at the dogs at her feet, the woman actually gives them a smile, it's so much easier for them. Chances are, it will be them and not her eating the food either.

The sound of sirens closer, she decides she best be gone, "Ah.. thank you… again." Kaitlyn backs away, a nervous glance thrown at the door, as she moves to slip out before the cops get there.

Pandora nods slowly when Jericho indicates that they should probably head for the stairs. "Yes, I… think I should sit down." She seems a bit more now like the woman she was pretending to be to distract Orson. Maybe it wasn't all an act. "I'm starving," she admits as a sort of afterthought. "Thank you again. That guy was a total creeper."

"We could use a second pair of hands," the older Ferrywoman says, her smile going lopsided at Noriko. There isn't even the faintest hint of expectation weighed at Kaitlyn. It's clear that the dogs' sweet mother has had enough. "If I'm not mistaken, that's the van for… Panda Palace, or whatever you're gonna call it, pulling up out there." She juts her chin, indicating the flicker of headlights slicing yellow through the blue ambience of dusk, the sound of doors thudding open. "C'mon, dear. You can be some help organizing. See you next week, Kait, if not sooner? Eh?"

Somewhere below levels, in the kitchen, a phone goes off. Melissa's, though she's able to toss it away to another kitchen worker, underhand. Food's here. Finally.

A ragged cheer goes up from the dining area, brief, hands clapping and scrubbing out their greedy interest. Some of the ruins' refugees spare smiles for the regulars, and the opposite is true too; nothing makes rivals easier to tolerate than finding out that there's more than enough to go around. Sure, it'll run up a tab, but there's a fraternal warmth expanding exponentially, behind the kitchen doors and before. University students complimenting Pierce's generosity, the Ferrymen and nuns privately simply glad neither the paramedics nor the police were really needed, after all. The NYPD's single squadcar will bring no more than a cursory questioning over the 'disturbance,' hat-tips, and a handful of compliments to the volunteers roughed out through cold-hoarsened throats.

By the time Jericho gets his new companion down the stairs, he can't see Doyle anywhere. Disappointment darkens the boy's dusky face, distracts his eyes off the situation at hand. He has just enough discipline, however to busy himself playing the conciliatory assistant, seating Pandora at a table with enough legroom to make a slight sprawl. A cup of tea accompanies the promise of lo mein, and it isn't long before the pregnant woman's deft performance in the foyer is making its rounds in murmurs through the Ferrymen operatives.

Maybe later, after the crowd's gone, Jerry could catch him. He just wanted to remind the little fatty, you know. That he was missed, and for every sour experience he'd had with full-sized fuckheads, he'd won a smile out of a kid.

Ruby's out of sight, by then, if not far from the thoughts of those she's evading. Half a dozen doors away, she smiles at Melissa, bright with honest optimism. She's just a little slow to answer, tripping over her words, "Oh— we had him tested.

"He isn't manifested yet, but his father would go mad." Her arms tighten, and her child burrows hard under her arm, watches the doors behind which Magnes had disappeared only a handful of strides ago. He flicks his fingers through the air in front of his own button nose, imagines that. Flying. Whoosh. "You don't know what he's like. He gets so bad. Thank you. I'm so glad, I'm so glad we found you. This is amazing— amazing, you make it look so easy.

"It's like you have enough for everybody."

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