Demons Closing In On Every Side


aude_icon.gif danko3_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif harlow2_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif

Scene Title Demons Closing In On Every Side
Synopsis When the Ferrymen are tipped off as to Emile Danko's location, complications arise when they go to vulture in on his bleeding self.
Date October 31, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

In the velvet darkness of the blackest night, burning bright, there's a guiding ~star~ no matter what or who you are. There's a light in the midst of Midtown's insidious murk, damp garbage crackling dry in a lopsided camp fire that spits and belches oily smoke into a sinuous smudge across the bus stop it's built up before. There's still some plastic and glass left in the frame — an ad for Andy Barker, PI (which flopped) peeling and faded across the back wall next to a larger poster for 30 Rock, which didn't.

Painted a primitive shade of orange by the fire's play across his sunken skull, Danko sits alone on the stop's metal bench, exactly where Harlow said he would be. He's thin and pale, festering in the stink of infection and cold sweat. His fatigues aren't much better off — smeared with ash in the full gradient from white to charcoal and ragged around the edges, black worn to grey around the knees and back. There, darker blotches of dried blood register brown through the glass of binoculars for anyone who cares to look close enough. It's been a long week.

Unfortunately, the AK-47 seated on the bench next to him looks to be in fine working order. He reaches over to drag it across his knees for the thousandth time after scrubbing a sleeve into a sandpapery scrape under his nose, checking the safety and the sit of the magazine and so on and so forth from beneath hooded brows until he's satisfied nobody's run up and stolen a few rounds in the ten seconds he might've nodded into an uneasy doze.

A really long week.

Fucking perp. Who the fuck runs into the ruins. Obviously someone who doesn't want to get caught. AUde's grumbling silently as she picks her way through the ruins not so far away from her erstwhile fellow in beliefs. She radio's her progress to her partner, keep her voice low so as not to incite whatever else hell that might rise from the depths of the wasteland. Nothing worse than maybe having to go into the trailer farm at night. Wait, no, this was worse, at least you knew where people were watching you from. here, here you had just the groans of unstable buildings.

In combat, the Vanguard operated like a well-oiled machine; every part had its own function to perform in respect to the whole and was formed to carry out that function with ruthless efficiency. Eileen is, admittedly, not used to working in tandem with pastors and university students turned disciples of Adam Monroe, but she's also in no position to complain. The razor thin time frame that she, Joseph and Kaylee have to move on Emile Danko is so limited that they are the only three operatives the Ferry could spare on such short notice.

Not far from Danko's bench, situated on a metal platform that's part of a crooked fire escape with missing stairs, Eileen sits in a crouch, watching their mark from behind a pair of night vision goggles while a dark shape wings overhead and reflects moonlight off a back full of oily feathers. "He's alone," she reports in a low murmur to the two individuals on either side of her, "but there's a woman in the periphery that I don't recognize. I won't hold it against you if you don't want to go through with the plan." This latter half she directs at Kaylee as she peels off the goggles and offers them to the other woman by the nylon strap. "No one told you we'd be going toe-to-toe with Humanis First when you signed up with us. You're sure?"

It's a small army indeed, but this was never a particularly normal war. As much as Danko might feel as though the minutes stretch into hours when you close your eyes for too long, it feels like the narrowest of time slots indeed to Joseph who perhaps shouldn't be here either. His clothing is dark and practical and isn't fatigues or anything beyond what he'd have pulled out of his suitcase months back.

Except for the holster, and the weapon sitting heavily in it, beneath his jacket. Those are different. Was sitting heavily in it, but the gun— of the tranquiliser variety, only somewhat familiar to handle— is currently being checked over, again and again, in an unconscious mirror of Danko's blank paranoia. Both men have good reason to be so.

Joseph doesn't respond to Eileen's reporting save for a nod, back mostly turned to the site of potential conflict and leaning against metal and brick. At her question to Kaylee, he offers the telepath the briefest of rueful smiles.

Dressed in dark colors and hair pulled back in a tight braid, Kaylee is crouched next to the woman, eyes slightly unfocused as if her thoughts are turned within. She hasn't brought any guns, she learned from Pinehearst that it's not a good idea to give her untrained hands a gun.

Glancing over at Eileen as she speak, the blonde flashes a brief grin. "Don't worry about me. I've been in worse situations." Her eyes flick over to Joseph mirroring his smile, before she glances back in the direction of their target. "Besides… It's Humanis First, I can't exactly jsut sit back while others risk their lives. If I can help tip the scales….." Her voice trails off and she gives a little shrug of a shoulder

Nothing new, nothing different. Nothing about the gun or his situation has changed, and Danko passes a gloved hand coarse back over the close buzzed grey of his fuzzy burr. It rests there for a time, tired muscles reluctant to move anywhere too quickly, even if his next move is just to tip a cigarette up out of some unseen pocket so that he can nudge an ember out've the fire with his boot and lean in close enough to use it as a makeshift light.

The severity of his appearance aside — the harsh way vivid orange falls away into black from the pitched excavation of deep sockets and clamped jaw — he looks…ok, no. He pretty much looks like a homicidal former marine conditioned to violence and hell bent on shooting mutant faces off of mutant brain cases. …Albeit in a compact package. Saves on shipping.

Smoke lit and nicotine itch temporarily satisfied, he seems about to settle into something that resembles a slouch when a brush of wind at his ear carries with it the hushed static whisper of a radio, or someone's voice through one. Tension rigs automatic through the knit of muscle at the base of his bare skull and he twists on his bench only to lock there half-turned, stiff and still as rigor mortis.

Aude herself has paused too, hand on the radio strapped to her shoulder. "Ten Four dispatch, i'm at…" She rattles off the co-ordinates best as one can remember from pre-bomb. "Be exiting soon, lost the perp somewhere deep in the radiated zone. Heading in to Central after this"

But she's looking around while speaking, something tweaking wrong to the petite woman and it's enough to make her hand drift for weapon as brown eyes focus here, then there, never staying in one spot too long.

Eileen touches a hand to Kaylee's jacketed arm. "Stay here," she says, reaching into the pocket of her coat with the other. "You know what to do. Pastor Sumter and I will be back as soon as we can, but if something unexpected happens or we get separated—" A cell phone is pressed into the blonde's palm. "Teodoro's only a call away."

Let also it be said: Eileen is no acrobat. Neither is she a gymnast. It's only by the good grace of leather gloves that she manages not to cut her fingers on scrap metal as she closes them around the fire escape's rail and gracelessly swings down onto the pavement. Still, the Briton's feet make very little noise except for the sound of tinkling glass crushed beneath the soles of her boots when they connect with the cement below. Stealth is everything, and it was with this in mind that she dressed for the evening in shades of gray ranging from the slate of her pea coat to the charcoal-coloured pants she wears, though it all appears black in what limited light that Midtown's gutted interior affords.

While she waits for Joseph at the bottom of the fire escape, she removes her pistol from its shoulder holster beneath her coat and flicks her thumb across the safety. High above, silhouetted against a silver moon waxing gibbous, the crow swings toward Aude's position and lets out a raucous croak that splits the night wide open with the abrupt clarity of a gunshot.

Does— Joseph have to do that? What Eileen just did. Because it looks like way too much grace in the same way his hands are also relatively untrained when it comes to guns and if Teodoro is only a call away— most of this does not bear thinking about. The tranq gun is slipped into a pocket for now.

"G'luck," is muttered to Kaylee as he crosses by her, foregoing leaping like a gazelle over the railing in favour of verrrry carefully moving down the stairs so as to prevent the rattle of metal against their cement fixings. Once on the pavement, following Eileen with as much silence as he can, the tranq gun is put back into his palm and glinting silver and black beneath what minimal light is provided. Intense nervousness dictates he can't let it rest within the woolen pocket of his jacket for very long, and causes his shoulders to twitch a little at the distant sound of the bird's caw.

Wrapping her fingers around the phone, Kaylee gives a short nod. "He'll not know your coming if I can help it. With hope he won't be like some of the Company founders." She salutes them with the cell phone laden hand and tucks it into her back pocket. "You two just be careful." She means it, glancing at Joseph still a bit shocked that he's a part of all that. "Thanks, you too." She murmurs watching him follow after Eileen. When he disappears into the darkness she gives a little shake of her head.

Going down onto her knees, her head tilts ever so slightly as she focuses in on the man in the ruins. For her it is always like slipping her fingers into cool jello. She doesn't press in, she flutters over his thoughts lightly, listening, looking for a place to slip in undetected. Once she's in, she keeps her voice a mere whisper. //What was that? Over there… // Her mind gently nudging his away from where Eileen and Joseph are coming from.

That initial swing, seize and lock of bolt action alert stays dead still for little longer than the few beats it takes for the crow's call to follow up what might have been nothing, but clearly isn't. What was that? Smoke follows at a tenuous drift when Danko balks to his feet — maybe a little quicker than his feet actually care for. His right leg nearly buckles out from under him, one hand reached out automatically to brace against the bus stop while the other hefts the rifle. The fire's kicked out as a jittery afterthought once he's balanced again, flaming detritus tailed by chuffs of sparks that fade as soon as they flare in its scatter across the broken street.

It's harder to see him without it, black fatigues briefly reduced to a shadow and the orange point of a cigarette tip that passes across lighter posters. Dizziness tunes in and out, poor reception of reality staggered with occasional fuzzes of static or dragging double vision. The rifle butt is snugged in staunch against the hunch of his right shoulder, muzzle angled vacantly at cracked concrete. It's hard to sneak when you have a limp, and he doesn't make it more than a few careful steps in Aude and the bird's direction before he pauses to listen again, pale eyes bright with loosely hinged paranoia.

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night- And no one's gonna save you from the beast about strike- You know it's thriller, thriller nigh-

The quietness surrounding Danko's vicinity is shattered by the tinny, electronic warbling of a ringtone not entirely out of place lyrically. Timing-wise, it is terrible.

The phone's ringing cuts off short, having come from an alleyway not too far away.

The source admits itself from the mouth of the dark a few awkward seconds later, the glow of the phone clicking off and leaving Huruma's dark face to what light is afforded her by the street and Emile Danko's unfortunate little coals. Her outline is primarily a black coat, the peaked arches of boots, and the smooth curve of her head. Her smooth voice comes customarily purring out of the chilly dark as soon as she does, putting Huruma and her presence directly into the cogs of carefully planned events going on under other noses.

"…God's timing remains absolutely horrendous, don't you agree…?"


Baldy. Aude cocks her head to the side, drawing her weapon when the bird lets out it's caw. "Fucking Halloween" She'd almost shoot at it, but she'd then have to file god knows how much paperwork. So instead, the female police officer heads towards the familiar shape that she recognized before he went and trashed his fire. "Danko. Hiding out in the ruins now" It's Tink, likely he knows her real name. "The fuck are you out here fo-"

And the weapon is turned towards Huruma as her phone goes off, barrel aimed at the woman's forehead" No fear, just the steady hammer of a police officer's heart and the training that comes with.

The scuff of Eileen's boots against the pavement is inaudible at a distance. The sound of Huruma's ringing phone is not. She grinds to a sudden halt, disloding small pebbles and chunks of debris from the pavement under her feet where thorny weeds have bulldozed their way through the cement and splay from yawning cracks created by years of corrosion. Gun clasped in two hands, she takes cover behind a lamp post at an angle that exposes the least amount of her slim body and silently gestures for Joseph to do the same.

She might be surprised by this ill-fated turn of events if she'd expected things to go smoothly, but she didn't. They never do — such is the nature of their work.

On the other side of the street, the crow lands on the back of the bench Danko had been sitting on just moments before and hooks talons into the mesh with a crackle of rustling feathers that gleam midnight green under the moon's sallow glow.

Joseph is not well-versed enough in these shenanigans to have expectations as to how smoothly it should run. The sound of a phone going off is enough to give him pause, watching as Eileen darts behind the lamp post and so he, in turn, bows his back a little and moves in closer so as to slip around the edge of building, a metal dumpster jutting slightly and offering him something in the way of full cover. Hopefully there is more for everyone else to think about then the distant tap of his foot steps that take him along the side of the building.

He manages to resist leaning his back against the metal side of the obstacle, giving it no excuse to groan and give away his position. Tempting as it might be to rush this— hint: it really isn't— Joseph steers his attention to what he can see of Eileen. That he is following the lead of a girl sixteen years younger than he is— isn't questioned at all. He strains his hearing to pick up on what on earth is going on, and how they got from targeting one man to suddenly more people creeping out the shadows.

Keep it together, Marine. Don't go shooting yet. That point is pressed in, before slipping out. From her hiding spot, Kaylee gasps and hisses a soft, "Shit," when she recognizes Huruma from the feed she's getting from Danko. Of all the people to have show up. Swallowing, she rests her head against the wall for a brief second calming her heart that has suddenly skipped to a faster beat.

Feeling it's safe to do so with her former co-gang member standing there, Kaylee brushes her mind across Eileen's, not thinking about the fact the woman can see through the birds. Huruma just showed up. The fear the telepath feels evident in her tone.

Castalides, Aude. The name strikes through the featureless instinct that snaps The Hunter's gun up to level with her head just ahead of a twitchy touch of his finger at the trigger. There's no pull, but he's startled enough by the sudden burst of this scene into song that his breath catches, and lacking the free alveoli real estate necessary to hold said breath…he coughs. Coughs and nearly takes himself out trying to muffle smokey discomfort into nothing.

Pain brands through his sides like a load of hot iron — he hunches further in on himself and coughs again quietly, eyes shut hard against the mist of red spittle that flecks after the fall of his cigarette. The coppery taste of failure bitter on his tongue again cuts frustration clear through the sear of his own suffering through his senses. He's not literally seeing red, but he might as well be — there's nothing so organized as coherent thought to steer within the confines of his skull when his aim jerks mechanically over onto Huruma.

"Shut up." His wavering voice sounds like there's a mummified corpse stuck in his craw, and a warm run at the base of his nose goes flatly ignored. Breath short, nearly a pant in its hazy whistle through his blood-clagged sinuses, he blinks hard and adjusts his grip on the gun, trying to force focus into his lifeless glare. Doesn't take him long to give up and let his brows lift into a cynical tilt, one against the other. "Hoping for takeout?" If he's aware he has other company, he gives no indication, back turned to the lot of them even when the skitter and scatter of loose gravel tries a futile toggle at some warning light or another in the back of his mind.

Huruma all but ignores Aude there with the gun pointed her way- not to say that she does not look over the smaller woman with a moment of interest- just that it does not last before her eyes rove back to Danko, that roaming interest pulled to his coughing in due time. Her outline shifts as the phone finds a cozy pocket to lie in, the soft rustle of fabric being the African's only sound for a span. "No.

"You look terrible, Emile." Huruma's voice gives off the fake concern like a snake flicking its long tongue; the glimmer of her eyes meets with the marine's hollowed sockets, the sliver of her lips breaking into a curl. After another moment of repose, she takes a step forward, seemingly swaying on her feet. Her feet move one step sidelong once she moves that first pace. It is neither entirely indecision or taunting. Yet. "I suspect I woul'get more than I bargained for, if I took you, hmm?" She purrs, the words themselves not carrying the tease that her pacing might have portrayed.

Shut up he tells her, and she does that, she also starts slipping away, easing away from the two individuals. A predator feel off of Huruma and a glance to danko. She's not really in the mood to deal with him and with the mysterious black woman. Not to mention the big fucking black raven that's lurking. What the hell. They are intelligent creatures, she knows that much. "I'll see you 'round Danko. On the clock, can't linger. Call if you need information"

and the smaller african american starts to move backwards, gun aimed at Huruma still, not Danko. He's the known factor, she's the unknown factor.

Eyes like oxidized copper covered in green film follow the shadows' movements but are unable to distinguish one from the other except by size. Eileen recognizes Huruma's voice before Kaylee's thoughts bubble to the surface of her consciousness; Aude and Danko are unfamiliar, alien. There's a moment where her gaze flicks back to Joseph's position, though it does not linger on his frame any longer than the time it takes her to confirm he's where she thinks he is. Huruma is one of Monroe's, she confirms, directing her thoughts back at Kaylee without moving her lips except to wet them as she draws in a slow breath through her nostrils. I don't want to fire on her unless I have to. Do you know her well enough to ask her to stand down?

Edging around the lamp post and using the darkness as cover, she begins to move closer, the muzzle of her pistol aimed at Aude's shape when it comes into view. She can make out the other woman's curly hair and the sheen of her dark complexion illuminated by the same light that would be glancing off the rings she wears on her fingers if they weren't encased in gloves. Gloves do nothing, however, to swathe her own skin or shield her completely from view — there's always a chance she might be seen as she makes her approach and puts herself in a position to cover Joseph when he decides to do the same.

Well supposedly they could just hang out here for a while. Joseph can see more of Eileen than he does the others, which is saying something, considering her shape is more or less cloaked in darkness. But he can, at least, tell what's doing, and he takes a breath as if that might give him some courage or, you know.

Skill. Gripping onto the edge of the dumpster, Joseph gets out of his crouch just enough to be able to peer over the edge. He doesn't know Aude, doesn't immediately recognise Huruma, not when he's looking at the compact outline of Emil Danko, gun and all. He could probably stand to get closer, but. But. Instead, he rests his arm against the edge of stained iron, angling the tranq gun as steady as he can on Danko's upper torso.

If he misses, maybe no one will notice! And he can try again! There's a Play Station 2 in Grand Central Terminal, so he's had practice.

… :(

The tranq shoots from the gun with a minor ffwwwit sound, like you could imagine the sound a fairy would make when it's late for its day job, and Joseph is immediately ducking down again, prepared to run — if not necessarily away.

Kaylee's heart stops for the span of a beat at what Eileen asks. "Shit.. shit shit…" She murmurs to herself. So Eileen is left with silence for a moment, but then Kaylee's voice returns sounding small. I — can try, just…. don't let her take me back to him. She can't keep the nervousness she feels out of her words. Please. Then Kaylee's gone from one mind and slipping into a familiar one, hands clench as if waiting for the pain and nausea to return, even if she is not Monroe herself. It doesn't come thankfully.

Huruma would feel something like a fluttering of a moth against her defenses, as Kaylee looks for a way into the empath's mind. It's a big risk the telepath is taking, but this is more important then her saftey. Huruma… Please…. becareful what you do. He is needed alive.

"Depends on whether or not you're calculating for a belly full of hot lead," croaked out out with a sideways look and half nod for the conditions of Aude's retreat, Danko swallows thickly against the runoff coagulating at the back of his throat. "…Wouldn't want to spoil your dinner."

Then again, the stink about him might already be enough to achieve that end. He smells sick. Weak. In dire need of antibiotics to kill whatever a do-it-yourself stitch job couldn't keep out, and the pallor about him isn't just a sign of nocturnal proclivities.

Perhaps fortunately for Huruma, he doesn't get much further into the process of weighing his options (shoot her now or shoot her after she explains what she's doing here) before there's a thwip at his back. Adrenaline's already cranked up on high. There's nothing left to make him jump.

At best, he musters the energy to give her a suspicious 'stay over there' look on his way to reaching around to tug something small and shiny out of its lodge in the vest under his fatigues. Like some kind of big…bug. Or a dart. …Why would a dart be in his back? :(a The amount of time he has to spend puzzling over it is a little depressing in itself.

Huruma casts her eyes over Aude as she begins to back away, the temptation to test with the encounter coming and going quickly. Black outline still against the dark of the street, Huruma's breath leaves her mouth from between her teeth- a loose hiss of her air. Dilated black pupils dart back to Danko in the next few seconds, outwardly appearing pleased that they are now visibly alone. But, there is something amiss with her gaze, even if it comes to settle directly on the map of Emile's face.

Huruma's mind feels exactly the same as it did those weeks ago in Kaylee's home. The shallow end of the dream pool on the surface, the rock hard slickness of a mental wall not that far below. There seems to be room for foreign thoughts to glimmer against hers without sending off a slew of whistles; that metaphysical water of wading height serves as her perpetual buffer. Kaylee only manages to get feedback in the form of a handful of images before Huruma shuts her responses off to absorb the words being given to her.

There's a blue sky, the thorny outline of dry brush- a small campsite of olive drab and tan grass, emblems ran ragged and dull on the sides of dusty equipment- an eerily familiar face from a memory peering back; Danko's hollow eyes and stature are themselves unmistakable, accented by the caked brown of blood on the side of his cheek. But he is certainly younger, whatever hair on his head is still brownish. A decade or so earlier, perhaps.

Do not concern yourself with me, Kaylee. Oh, look, you've got him. Look at that faaace-

"Nothing tends t'spoil m'dinner, Emile." She says in a continuous drawl as he gives her that primary warning look. "My, my- what a big mosquito that is. And in this weather…"

The sound, something whistling past, prompts Aude to glance from whence it came as she's making her way away from Danko and Huruma. Whence it came being someone she can't see but there is someone she can. Eileen who has a weapon pointed at her. Had the woman shot? Was there a silencer that she just can't quite make on the gun in her hand.

Paranoia perhaps, self preservation, instinct, whatever you want to call it. Aude's gun levels on Eileen and she pulls the trigger, safety off. "DANKO! Incoming!" Might as well warn him as she's on the move to take cover, preferrably in a directionw here frankly she can run away!

There is no ricochet of metal striking against metal, no transient spark to light up Eileen's shape and spray embers across the pavement. Instead: a muted pop, followed by a reedy hiss blown out through teeth clenched in a drum-tight jaw. Ultimately, opening fire on Aude is more of a reflexive reaction than anything else, a finger squeezed around the trigger of a pistol three times in quick succession, and in the next instant two bullets perforate the Kevlar vest Aude wears as a barricade between the outside world and the collection of viscous organs housed in her uniform-clad torso.

Eileen's third and final shot goes wide, narrowly misses the crow perched on the back of Danko's bench. It explodes into flight, wings buffeting air with enough force to propel it skyward like something thrown from a slingshot before it's swallowed up by the black.

Joseph flinches at the sound of gunfire, but after taking a second to confirm that bullets aren't striking anywhere near him, he starts moving with enough of a glance to confirm that Eileen isn't lying dead or bleeding. He is perhaps the opposite of what Danko claims to be — a hunter. More the typical variety of prey. Barely breathing, Joseph slips out from around the dumpster and keeps close to the building, the scattered remains of the Marine's ex-fire doing nothing to shed light in anyone's direction.

He's also noticed that Danko is still up and moving around, as much as he is pretty sure he hit him if a brief moment of spying allowed him to note the man's reaction. There's really no thought devoted to why it didn't take, just that it didn't, and Joseph takes a couple of steps from the building enough to duck behind a bench across the road. With hands only slightly shaky, he manages to reload, and aim, this time, somewhere between Danko's legs or groin.

The pressurised release of the dart is a tiny addition to the blamblamblam of pistols that had gone on, quieter also than the sound of Joseph's heart in his throat. No, he's not a hunter, but he also so does not want to fail.

Never doubted your safety. Just didn't want you to take him out. Even if she is afraid the other woman will drag her back to Adam, Kaylee still has a touch of fondness for the woman, but there is no time to dwell on it as the gunshots ring out. Without another word, she pulls from the warmth of Huruma's mind and seeks out yet another ignoring the pressure building between her eyes.

She doesn't try for anything clandestine.. Kaylee goes in with guns blazing so to speak. Putting her will into it, Kaylee dives into to Aude's mind, her voice shrieking in panic, hoping to ignite the same response. Aude might had already decided to go, but the blonde is making sure she goes through with it. Run! Just run! Go go go!! Get out of here before they kill you! Get far away! You're out numbered! She tries to put some force behind the words, pressing the cop to turn and run. Danko's done for! It's only you against all of them! Flee, save your own hide. Run!

There's a slow drip of blood off the brunt of Danko's chin now — his, today — round drops falling pat to soak through the sit of his glove around the dart while realization sinks in with the warmth of Huruma's words and whatever blood he still had in his face drains on out. How he finds time to look like his twee feelings are hurt over it is a mystery, but the baffled glance he cants at her with quicksilver eyes once he's turned his hand over to lose the dart is nothing short of betrayed. All those times he didn't shoot her! That's — practically a friendship! Practically!

But she's not the one shooting or shouting warnings or even making herself out to be much of a threat. He's got bigger problems and no heart to break, so that there's little in the way of him whipping around onto the defensive. Unless you count the gimp. If you do then there's that minor detail to consider, but people are moving now. Targets are moving and so is he at an uneven jog for the alley Huruma emerged from.

Randomly enough, it's the feathery flush of the bird that attracts the first railed line of fire, trigger depressed in a wide swathe that tears up the sidewalk before he sets his sights on the far side of the street, depresses the trigger, and…feels the nip of a cold needlepoint deep into the muscle of his thigh. Anger spikes with something that feels a lot like a colder nettle of fear, and bullets pelt themselves helter skelter over, under, and all around Joseph's hidey hole past the energetic play of hollow brass after every rapidfire report.

Huruma can feel Kaylee's presence depart, but not before she is able to offer up something as a last word in- I have no reason to..

Gunshots ring out around her, but Huruma does not move from it; they are not aiming for her, firstly. At least, she is not under such an impression. There is one gun aside from Aude's, then the tranquilizer gun. She is not certain if Kaylee is one of them, but even then Huruma doubts the girl is that skilled at multitasking as of yet.

Her eyes follow Danko as he goes through the gamut of reactions in the few seconds that it is taking his body to react; he begins to try and pass her by, heart set on that alleyway she stands near the mouth of. Her notes on his emotions do not halt, but she does not influence his either. For the moment, it is a show. The only thing that Huruma proffers to him past the clink and whirr of a firefight- after the angry spits of bullets- "T'wasn't me, Emile." Apparently she feels it important enough to verbalize- though she is not exactly stuffing Danko out of range. If he were well, he would have been likely to assume Huruma was a precursor to more trouble. She always was. "…Horrendous timing."

The two hits stagger the petite woman, push Aude back a few steps. Cause her to fire off another bullet towards the petite woman, memorize as much of her face as she can in the very little light afforded her. Kaylee's words are mistaken for her own personal inner monologue urging her on to what she was already going to do. Eileen's height easily picked out and other features as swift feet move left, breath recovering from the impacts of the slugs striking the vest they're all made to wear while walking the street. Run, find a safe place, take account of her body and radio for backup. Will take longer since it's the fucking ruins. 'Dispatch, shots fired at …" Her speech falls quiet, fading out of the realm of hearing as she takes off.

Explaining this one to the others back at the Dispensary is going to be unpleasant, though maybe not quite as unpleasant as the sensations Eileen is experiencing right now. This time, it isn't a hiss — it's a low snarl torn wetly from the pit of her throat.

If she's dead, then her corpse is still on its feet. If she's bleeding, then it can't be seen; it's too dark, and the woolen material of her pea coat too thick for any colour to hemorrhage through. With Aude on the retreat and Danko slowly succumbing to the effects of the tranquilizer's sedative, she swings her pistol around and levels it with Huruma's center of mass, gun in her right hand while the left curls fingers around her shoulder. She's been hit at least once, but it must not be serious because she's moving with a predator's measured purpose toward the alley mouth.

The possibility that Danko might escape is not high on her list of concerns. Joseph has tagged him twice, and he won't get very far in the condition he's in even if he manages to find cover. All they have to do now is wait — either for the ex-soldier to run out of ammunition or the sedative to overcome him completely. Whichever happens first.

Aaaah! Aaaah! "Aaaah!" is what Joseph says presently as an automatic rifle is pointed in his general vicinity and fired from. Bullets tear into the brick behind him, and pings off metal of the structure he'd been taking cover behind, and another that goes wilder makes sparks off a street lamp. He's already hit the pavement by the time a few rounds are spent, hand gripping white-knuckled to the tranq gun as that arm shields his head.

He doesn't join Eileen in trying to tag Huruma, busy getting not killed, although in the fleeting moments between firing and then getting fired at, Joseph imagines he recognises her from some other life when he had a church and wasn't cowboying it up in Midtown. He stays hidden, for now, kneeling in a slouching duck, hands now completely trembling as he goes to put a third dart into the gun, you know, just in case.

There's a quiet "darnit" when it slips, falls with a tik against the ground, Joseph's fingertips grazing pavement as he scoops it up again, and he moves just enough to try and get a visual on Eileen, in case bailing becomes more important than Marine hunting.

When the police woman takes off, Kaylee relaxes with a heavy sigh, resting against the wall and closing her eyes against the developing headache. "Thank god that worked." Keeping her eyes closed, she moves once again to find Danko, letting herself sink into the confused mess of his mind. Finding that he's been darted in the leg, she has an idea. Why not just…. lay down? You're tired…. just a moments rest. The words are murmured, with mock caring. Just take a load off. Rest awhile.

Kaylee keeps the soft words up, as she climbs to her feet and looks toward the direction he is going. She doesn't dare let up to check on Eileen and Joseph, to make sure they are okay. Her lips pressed together tightly and her eyes narrow as she tries to press down the worry, forcing herself to stay put as things seem to get nastier. Now.. she continues to convince Danko he needs to rest.

Like hell is he going to lie down in the middle of the damn street and take a nap. Breathing hard enough now that there are tributaries of brackish red creeping from the corner of his mouth to mingle with the same stuff leaking out of his nose, the best Danko can do for Huruma's assurance is manage cloudy exasperation.

Maybe it doesn't matter.

He's not going to make it to the alley, and he's empty before he's unconscious — the rifle clatters down in a heap after the last spent casing. There's something on the edge of his perception blotting in to smother at peripheral sight. He turns his head after a distraction only he can see, staggers a step away in reaching vaguely after a sidearm Magnes stole days ago, and sort've — fails to remain in an upright position. It isn't even the injured leg that falls out from under him first, just. One minute he's up and the next minute he's on his side, cold eyes open blankly to the shimmer and gleam of a sea of spent casings without actually registering a single one.

Huruma keeps ending up with guns being aimed at her- yet not one of them has found fit to actually fire. It is almost like swimming in a pool of sharks, if she looks at it a certain way. Hmm. Her eyes stay on Danko as he succumbs to the dart this time. It is rather sad to watch, even Huruma knows that. The exasperated look that she is given vaguely in response is met with a tilt of her head. One, two, three- The tall woman gives it three seconds before she leans overhead, a shadow looming into his last bits of consciousness.

In actuality, her movements are small and her voice speaks to the air around her- one boot reaches out to nudge Danko onto his back. "I suppose tha'you made your bed, didn'you? Mmm…" And now he is lying in it.

The first thing that Eileen was taught about firearms is to never to point a gun at someone unless you're willing to pull the trigger. It's a lesson that's been emphasized over and over to the point of being ingrained in her consciousness. Make no mistake: although she isn't looking for an excuse to discharge the weapon again, the pool of emotions that her eyes are swimming in lack even an ounce of uncertainty, indecision or hesitation. She neither wavers nor dithers — the small circles that the muzzle of her pistol is making are a result of her injury rather than any fluctuation in her set path.

She thinks about what she would want to hear if she was in Joseph's position, and Ethan in hers. "Good shooting, Sumter," she grits out, tongue thick in her mouth, though the saccharine taste of blood beneath it is distinctly absent. Bile isn't. Eileen spits. "Get out of the way, Huruma. That man's Ferry property."

Once it's all over, and gunshots are only fading echoes, Joseph is crawling out from his hiding place and getting to his feet a lightheadedness that has nothing to do with bloodloss because quite miraculously, he is unharmed. He took Eileen's cue, first, before he's moving across the street, towards Huruma's statuesque outline and Danko's crumpled form.

His approach is cautious, glancing between the felled Danko and Huruma looming over him. It might be a testament to the former Marine or at least the pastor's semi-rational attitude towards him that despite the fact he is well on his way to unconsciousness, Joseph keeps the tranq gun leveled on him instead of Huruma, though that could change in a twitch of movement. If she thinks to check, nervousness hasn't been left behind, battering away at a steelier resolve like a moth trapped in glass.

Eileen's compliment gets a twitch of a glance, uncertain but grimly satisfied, Joseph's expression gone a little steely. Eileen has said everything so far necessary, so now he only glances for Kaylee's position. He doubts she's hurt, but, there were a lot of bullets fired, the casings of which all glittering on the pavement.

So distracted with trying to get the man to lay down, Kaylee almost doesn't notice the change in Danko. Before he goes down, she yanks her mind out of his, not knowing what happens when he hits the ground. The blonde telepath's eyes open and she has to remind herself to breath. The loud gasp of air filling her lungs startles her, shaking her out of her thoughts.

Finally free from Danko, Kaylee is able to reach out to first Joseph, noting his concern, there is relief in the soft words that touch his mind, I'm fine, just a nasty headache. Glad to know you're still alive. Then added with a touch of amusement, Good work, Joseph. Then she brushes Eileen's mind, no words at first, just checking on her, sensing things are tense. Only then does she asks. Good to come down?

Rubber growls against asphalt, crescendoing with a sudden fluorescent shock of headlights before the van roils to a grinding halt in the open gulf of the street. It's black. Densely tired, mirror-glassed, seemingly blacker inside than it is out, thanks to the foibles of adjusted human eyesight, but Huruma and Kaylee both register an unfamiliar presence, one not entirely like Danko's own. Subtract a little pain, a little fear, a little heat, add the cold seeding of satisfaction.

Ah, good. Better that they didn't fuck up phase one, though the stray cop was discouraging through no one's fault in particular. There's a rubbing noise, glass against fibrous lining, powered window gapping open to allow a thin slice of pale eyes and bright hair into view. The woman Harlow doesn't say a damn thing, but there's an audible clunk and pop of hinges when she depresses the trunk's button on the dash with an equally expedient jab of forefinger.

Huruma peers sidelong at Eileen, eyes darting to regard Joseph with something far less prickly. "A ferryboat taking a prisoner." Her lips form the words carefully, amused and at the same time derisive. "Take him, then. I am not stopping you. If I had wanted to- I doubt we woul'be standing'ere." Huruma stands straighter and takes a few steps to the side, wrists rolling as she motions a few shooing gestures at the air in front of her. "Call m'when you need t'get rid o'him, hmmmm?" Lips press together when she lifts a phone of her fingers to the side of her sleek face. It drops as the van peels up, Huruma now more keen on fixing the window in front of the driver with a stare.

Eileen's pistol lowers, a visible expression of relief creeping into her face's gaunt features. It's good not to have her arm raised anymore; as fingers grow somewhat slack around the weapon's grip, those clutching her shoulder tighten with a harsh creak of leather. "I can't make any promises," she tells Huruma, "but we'll keep you in consideration."

Diplomacy is maybe not her strong suit when she has a bullet wedged under her collarbone. To Kaylee, she projects calm and soothing thoughts. The earthy smell of fresh rain wafting off the pavement. Fresh cotton sheets on bare skin. Mozart's Requiem and the rise and swell of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Either no words are necessary, or she lacks the mental capacity to process them at present. She wants to be someplace else right now, somewhere warm and dry with another body cupping hers and breathing into her neck and hair.

It's the closest thing to an all clear that the telepath is going to get.

The approach of the van is enough to raise the hairs at the back of Joseph's neck, if Huruma's offer didn't already, if only for knowing exactly who is driving it. He wonders, briefly, if one of the three men who accompanied Danko a couple of months ago had in fact been a woman. Taking Huruma's words for honesty, he puts away the tranq gun and moves swiftly towards Danko, sending what could be perhaps strangely a guilty glance the African's way before his hands are reaching for the ex-Marine's vest.

Rather than waiting for Eileen to move to help him, or Kaylee to get there, or Harlow to get out of the van, Joseph only brings one of Danko's slack arms around his broader shoulders and hauls the man up, content to drag as necessary. There are zip ties in his pocket for when he rolls the man into the vehicle, which he does, and paranoid doses of tranquiliser otherwise. The smell of infection and old blood doesn't get a lot of sympathy.

If Joseph had room for that much, he probably wouldn't be out here. At Kaylee's inevitable approach, the pastor only tilts his head towards Eileen, and requests, gently, "Help her." It's not for the telepath's sake that Joseph isn't doing much thinking.

The van is watched as it rolls up, but taking the all clear in any form she can get it, Kaylee moves to climb down from her hidden perch. She really could of done without that last little bit of Eileen's thoughts… not the first time she's gotten images like that. She drops the last little bit of distance to the ground, grimacing against the brief increase of pain in her head from the jarring action.

It's only moments however, before Kaylee steps out of the darkness near Eileen, giving the woman a concerned look. Huruma would notice the vast difference in Kaylee's appearance, she's actually healthy an no longer on deaths door. Joseph's request is greeted with a short nod and a soft, "Of course."' A glance is hazarded to the dark woman's way, a sheepish smile as she moves to assist Eileen. "Come on… let's get you out of here so you can rest and get that shoulder looked at." She is there to lean on as needed.

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