Diesel Power


brian_icon.gif delgado_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif francois_icon.gif griffin2_icon.gif

heller_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif linda2_icon.gif nora2_icon.gifraith_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title Diesel Power
Synopsis The Ferry receives word from one of its associates that a shipment of vaccine is scheduled to be sent by rail to New York City and swiftly moves to intercept it so lives on Pollepel Island can be saved.
Date February 26, 2011

North of New York City

Rain falls in sheets. The last days of February are cold and wet, but the promise of spring is heavy in the air — that damp earth smell, thawing mulch. Meltwater erodes ice, exposing the open gravel beneath the hooves of the horses on the ridge overlooking the railway tracks that gleam with moisture several hundred feet below and snake through a forest of threadbare trees glittering with what looks like, from a distance, white sugar frosting. It is dusk, and the riders have the advantage of darkness creeping in, and the rolling fog that comes with it.

In the distance, the whistle of a freight train is dampened by the mist and the rain pattering hard against their backs, their leather saddles, and the metal bodies of the two motorbikes the Ferrymen requisitioned from its enemies the last time a patrol found themselves in a similar situation.

They hadn't a warning, then, and although there was some debate among the operatives at Pollepel Island whether or not information from John Logan could be trusted, it was ultimately decided that the network couldn't afford not to take the risk. There are children dying in the infirmary of Bannerman's Castle, and enough vaccine to innoculate the entire island is barreling toward their current position at seventy-five miles per hour — too fast for Special Activities to catch on horseback, or with the motorbikes at full throttle, but that's what Jensen Raith asked Nora along for.

"About two minutes," he informs the group, and that's only an estimate. He doesn't have an ability, but even if he did, it probably wouldn't be the variety of superhuman hearing that would allow him to translate the whistle's scream with any degree of accuracy. "We ready?"

"Yup." Is the curt rumbled response from Benjamin Ryans, where he sits atop one of the Ferry's horse. A leather clad hand brushes against the neck of his mount, which shifts unhappily from one back foot to the other. The horse tosses his head and a snort of steam from flared nostrils, possibly sensing the rising tension and excitement of the people around it.

Longish hair is plastered to Ryans' head in cold wet lanky ropes and lines of streaming water sinking into the collar of his brown duster after sliding through the light scruff of hair along his jaw. Where the water hits the coat, it beads and rolls off, thanks to the water proofing of it.

"Nora?" Ben asks, turning his head to cast a look at the teenager at his back.

The gentle clicks of saddle and tack are gentle percussions beneath the more relentless rain that comes down on scalps and shoulders, a leather jacket doing something resist the onslaught of rain, water to run down the crinkles in sleeves, where pale hands grip reins. Francois Allegre's riding form is a correct one, something learned and something inherited, too long ago for him to judge accurately whether he learned for himself or if it was given, but either way, the ghost-white stallion seems to trust his rider enough that he doesn't shift around like a boat in a choppy river.

And Eileen had want to appreciate that, seated where she is and clung to his back like monkeys take care of their offspring. Through leather she can feel where weaponry is stashed, the extra clip and the pistol on his ribs. There's a second that clings over the denim of his leg, and a knife as well, and if he needs more than that, he's fucked anyway. Water runs down the back of his neck and forces him to squint over at Raith.

He's seen Raith in this context, at least. It's strange not to have Elisabeth nearby. Teo.

And stranger still, Ryans, and the only uneasiness that Francois feels is centred around the (seemingly) older man in their troupe, heightened with glances and proximity, but also ignored. "Oui," he tells Raith, chin up. A turn of his head, a glance back at Eileen, is nonverbal request, trusting she can see through birds if not feel the shift of the gesture.

At the two minute warning, Nora is already giving a nod, tipping her head to peer in the direction of the impending train, her eyes narrowing and brow furrowing as it does when she's concentrating. When Ryans turns to glance back at her, she looks up. "Got the signal. One moment."

Her eyes shift away from his again, but more for concentration than anything else. Her lips don't move, and her message is not heard by the man she shares the horse with, but on the train engineer's radio, a voice suddenly cuts through, asking for the engineer's attention. Once she has it, the words low visibility, inclement weather, slow down are confirmed with the most important words of all.

Roger that. Decreasing speed now.

The exchange is sent to the radios of those who have them, and Nora looks back at Ryans. "Good to go," she says, flashing a grin, dark eyes sparkling with a tinge of excitement and anxiousness for what they are about to do.

When Huruma was asked into this, her state of mind was that if they said the word- she'd be in. While this doesn't necessarily make her a part of them- it means more than nothing. Somewhere in there is a Ferrymen gesture of faith, and Huruma is not going to bat it away. She told Megan, once, that being wanted meant more than being needed. But together the feeling is quite nice.

The gray horse Huruma is perched alone atop of, stands still on the other side of Benjamin's mount, her mare eyeballing the other horse as it gives a faint prance of tension. This one is the only animal that seems to have let Huruma get to know it, so that when it stands mostly calm under her it comes as no surprise. An ear bends down to the left when the whistle cries in the distance. Huruma keeps a level gaze on the horizon over the animal's head, and with no head of hair to speak of, rivulets of rainwater coast over her scalp and into the thin scarf under the collar of her long coat.

"As I will ever be…" Huruma's response comes soon after Francois', and she shifts out of her idle perch to roll her shoulders and adjust the reins. She is so used to something as small as rain, that she hardly notices that it and the wind is there. There will be time to be cold and miserable later, when this is over. For now, she sits in relative quiet, watching Nora as the girl relays the results of her message. Nora herself brings a sliver of a smile to Huruma's face. A mood that she shares.

"Breaker breaker."

"Breaker breaker nine hundred that's a big old ten-four"

Brian is talking to himself. It's fun. It's in different bodies but no one else would know that over the radio. He has the exact same voice. Brian is dressed similarly, one perched on the back of the other on a motorcycle. It's kind of weird. Sitting CTB with yourself. The Brian In Back (henceforth known as BiB) raises his hands up and sets them on himself in front of him. Rubbing his own shoulders for a moment his head tips to the side. Helmets masking any emotions he might be displaying. Why didn't he think of this sooner in life?

A sawed off shotgun is strapped to BiB's back and a submachine gun hangs around his shoulders. The two are dressed in black biker jackets and jeans. The Brian in front has his handles on the bay motorcycle, glancing down the track towards the sound of the freight train.

Eileen's hands form a loose clasp at Francois' abdomen that tightens when she feels the muscles in his back and shoulders respond to his turning head. She's ready as well, and although her physical condition is such that boarding the train with the others would be unwise, she wears a pistol beneath the wool of her coat in the event that it becomes necessary and she must cover the members of their team from the saddle after the man in front of her has vacated it.

Somewhere in the fog, a falcon's wings shine silver and are gone. She must not disagree with Raith's estimate of two minutes because she does not contest it. Neither does Griffin on the back of the older man's motorbike, his eyes a bright eager green insead of their milky pale — he's conserving his energy.

When the train comes into view, it is as a solitary beam of light struggling to pierce the fog. Far below, pebbles on the tracks begin to rattle and vibrate, then bounce in place.

The voice of Eileen's falcon joins the building whistle. From the ridge, sixty miles per hour does not appear much different than seventy-five; it isn't until the train hits fifty-five, then fifty that they're able to pick up on its changing speed.

The engineer in the cabin has chosen to heed Nora's advice.

"Eighteen cars and an engine," the avian telepath says. "What we're looking for will be closer to the front than the back. There's a bridge five miles south that crosses a ravine where the trucks are waiting — if the shipment ends up on the other side, we're likely to lose it, so you'll need to move quickly. Uncoupling the right car is more important than putting down any resistance you might encounter."

And if the military has learned anything in the months since the riots, there will be some. "Let's go."

There is a faint glimmer of approval from the old man, who in present company is no longer the oldest among the group present. Speaking of old men, Ryans give a quick glance at Francois who he was surprised to find involved with the Ferry as well. "Think you can keep up?" There is a small hint of a smile to the French man, something in his eyes making it more of a challenge then an insult of any sort. He gives him a quick nod, before he sends a less then approving glance Brian's way… or one of them at least and gives the horse under him a solid kick.

"Hold on, kiddo," is thrown back at Nora before their horse starts off with a small hop.

It doesn't take much to get the horse moving, it's head stretched out, hoofs thundering over the hard packed earth. It's loving this and so is a part of the man in the saddle. He does love his westerns. His eyes squint again the lashing rain, flickering between the path ahead and the train, angling the horse, in a way that it'll come out of the woods alongside the train. There won't be a lot of time before the horse will tire out, so they will have to be quick.

The youngest of the group gives a bob of her head, the wet ponytail dripping a smaller visual echo of their horse's tail, and when Ryans glances back her hands are already moving from where they were curled around the back of the saddle to wrap around his waist. Some girls might feel a bit strange about holding tightly to a near-stranger who is old enough to be their father and then some, but being on the live animal has given Nora no qualms about the need to hold on tight. To whatever or whomever. And she does.

When the horse throws itself into motion, there is a slight gasp from Nora, but she can't help but grin a little, her cheeks rosy with the cold and thrill of the chase — a chase she didn't think she'd get to be a part of, not so very long ago.

There's that feeling again. The one where Francois senses he is missing something. It sparks as Ryans throws that little challenge his way, and Francois only meets it by spurring his horse on in a surge of muscle and movement rather than verbal question, a quick and darting smile in the rain before gravel and dirt are both kicked up, churned by hooves. A flick of grey tail, white flanks made spotty beneath the onslaught of rain, and Eileen finding her weight thrown into his back— which is better than the other direction.

Speed is gained like momentum. Horses by nature seek leaders, and stallions in particular concern themselves with such dynamics, but Francois doesn't war to get ahead — he wars to remain in line, turning as Ryans does. He does, however, cut nearest to the train first, breaking formation so as to gallop near alongside the rushing carriage, kicking the horse into keeping time so that when dismount happens, he won't.

Dislocate something. Francois has watched black and white Westerns too. Sometimes, when they'd just came out. The horse is released, becoming a bucking, rocky thing beneath him as hands instead seek the edge of the freight car, a leg levering him up and off with a split second of freefall that feels for a moment he made a mistake. But in the next second he's clinging to the side, hauling himself up and safely on, leaving Eileen the edge of the saddle to cling to, the loose reins to locate.

Huruma pulls back the edge of her long coat to double check the presence of various armaments; like the others, she's as armed to the teeth as she can be, considering. Things hidden here and there, with her mains being the pair of large pistols at her hips, a knife in her belt. If she isn't wearing the hat, it was going to be something else. Surely. A clicking from her mouth gets the mare's attention, and so the beast is ready to follow when boots hitch back into hide. There is nobody to hold onto the tall woman- so adventure arrives at a full gallop.

The mare's tail is flicked slightly upwards, anticipation and running with its fellows coming off as more fun than hiding from the steady rolling ramble and whistle of the train that they come out alongside, slipping out of the treeline. The stark figures of the lighter colored horses whip through the haze of rain, and as Francois pulls close to disembark onto the train, Huruma's mare slips into place when the stallion shifts out of the way. She has nobody to worry about, so she only makes sure that the people gathering horses are nearby before hoisting herself off of the saddle.

The Frenchman is there first, so if he feels the dire need to help, Huruma isn't about to not let him- she is, after all, leaping from a moving horse onto a moving train. The inches of limbs that she has over him proves useful when finally making that last leap, the horse awkwardly slowing down a bit when she clings onto the car and lifts herself up and over.

The violent hum of the motorcycle roars as the pair of Brian's pull down on the throttle. The lean vehicle popping over a small ditch in their path. The pair lean forward, back, and side to side in complete unison. It's good to have the same brain. The bay bike roars as it hovers a good ten feet behind the horses. Then when people start to leap over, Francois' in particular, the bike is kicked into action.


Sleekly dipping around the pack of obsolete, maned, motorcycles, the bike zooms to the side of the pack. Waiting for his turn, Brian eventually leans to the side. The Brian on the back going into a crouch on the back of the bike. The BiF holding tightly onto the handles to keep after the train. The wobble from the bike as the BiB leaps off takes a moment to recover from, but it doesn't send him toppling. Brian grasps onto the train, one foot slipping for a moment before he hauls himself on. Patting himself down, he looks over to the Brian driving the motorcycle. Who is then slinging a backpack to the Brian now on the train.

From his spot behind Raith, Griffin Mihangle looks…agitated. He always gets like this before something so large and important as obtaining vaccinations for an entire island. His son included. That alone was more than enough to get him to agree to help. The fact that he can potentially help many people only serves to further warm him to the idea.

Not exactly relishing the idea of hugging another man, his hands clench at the seat of the motorbike. Brilliant green eyes dart across faces and, in turn, down toward where they will ambush a train, a look of grim anticipation forming across his hawkish features.

It feels like he's in an Indiana Jones movie.

As that thought crosses his mind, Raith is lucky enough to be privy to Griffin softly humming the theme song to said movie. It's not really much of anything, but it kind of soothes his buzzing nerves. Then again, his nerves are also soothed by the fact that he is about as armed to the teeth as he can get. Three handguns at his hip and under his arm, a nice bullet proof vest, a rifle on his back, and as many knives as he could hide on his person.

As Raith spurs the motorcycle onward, Griffin's eyes narrow, eyes upon the train as they zoom up toward it. As they draw nearer, the man's eyes flash, losing their brilliant green in exchange for the featureless blue-white glow that indicates that his ability is active. Vectors reach out, gripping at several edges on the freight car for the sake of stability.

Then, Raith's motorcycle is suddenly a good deal lighter as Griffin suddenly lifts from it, flying in the air above it for a moment. Then, he suddenly whips upwards, landing atop the freight car in a light crouch. Then, those eerie invisible hands reach out to assist those climbing up the sides of the car, ensuring their safe transfer from horse or motorbike to train.

And he's still humming the Indiana Jones theme to himself.

Eileen takes the reins in one hand and raises the other in an informal salute of farewell to those boarding the train. "Bonne chance!" she shouts over the roar of the wind, whipping rain and the train's engine pounding up ahead — Francois only hears it because the stallion is still galloping alongside the car when she does. A sharp tug on the reins has it peeling away, and Raith performs a similar maneuver with his motorbike as soon as he's sure that Griffin's perch is secure.

«Be advised, I see three hostiles on the roof advancing to your position,» he barks over the radio, «Stillwater, I think. Ryans, we can provide some covering fire, but I highly recommend pulling a kill-team together while the rest of you look for the bottle caps..»

Vaccine, he means.

Bullets plink against the roof and side of the car, manifesting as bright sparks of light where they ricochet harmlessly away, though they aren't likely to be classified as harmless for much longer.

Griffin can see them if he looks, shadows moving through the falling sleet.

There is a smirk of amusement as Ryans watches Francois, his horse keeping not far from him. Only veering a little as he jumps. The ex-agent is impressed, not that Francois would see it. The Frenchman probably confirming something in Ben's thoughts.

There is a glance of concern at Eileen left on the horse, before he's inching his own horse closer to the train, but he doesn't come fully along side it until many of the other are on board. "Alright Nora… your turn." He doesn't look to see if she's ready, his eyes are on the rods of steel that form a ladder on the side of the last car. He reaches out to grab the ladder, holding it to keep the horse close so she can grab on.

That will leave him one of the last on the train, which he prefers. He watches the slight teen reach for the ladder. Once she's got a good grip he lets go, letting the horse drift away for a moment, while she works her way upward. Only then does he gives the horse's head a yank and he grabs to the rung. There is a moment of steadying himself. Hooking foot in rung before he lets go of the reins and grips the ladder.

«Rodger that.» Comes the old man's response as he hurries up the ladder. «Nora. Brian and Francois. Start looking.» There is a pause as Ryans gets to the top of the ladder and pulls himself up. «Griffin. Huruma. With me on defense.» Once he's sure of his balance, he's on his feet with duster flaring around him, handgun already in hand as he moves to intercept.

White hands clasp Huruma's arm, steadying the woman before Griffin and all his efficiency can secure the job, Francois occupying himself with keeping balance as the wind glances over him, a tense crouch that makes his legs ache in the chill. He keeps his hands free of guns and knives for now, uninclined to glance to the source of the radio voice in his ear, but inclined to follow instruction for as long as someone sees themselves fit to give orders.

«They will stay by the vaccine. Nora — the position of security?» is sharply delivered down the line, even as the shadows up ahead give some idea of position. A glance back for the radio-path and Brian has Francois moving, keeping low.

Moving from a horse to a train slippery with freezing rain isn't an easy task, but Nora grasps the ladder and moves as swiftly as she can to clear the ladder for Ryans to climb up after, foot slipping a little but thankfully Griffin's invisible hands are there to help her up. She immediately crouches down on top of the train, her head tilting as she scans the landscape as it zooms by.

«It's the second car from the front!» This time her real voice overlaps the voice on the radio. «There's two Stillwater operatives inside, though, along with the three approaching, and…» There's a pause, and she too is pausing, before she begins to move along to follow the others. «There's another frequency besides Stillwater's, but no one's talking on it…» Her brow is furrowed as she looks back over her shoulder, then focuses her attention forward. «We may have other company» is added with worry.

Huruma moves around the others as necessary, pausing just long enough to reassert a grip on her field, and the locations of people boarding the train with her. And lastly, pinpointing the bogeys as they float into her radar. A faint twitch of her lips comes when she is called to go after them, just a second spent on swinging herself around to ascend the ladder to the top. When she follows Ryans up onto the train to shadow him, her appearance is as flickering as the humanoid shapes ahead in the rain; there is a moment that she takes to cement the location of the horizon, and the next she is pulling one handgun from her hip.

The only other thing to give her pause is Nora's voice on the waves, though there is not time to dwell on what she says. Huruma has a couple of educated guesses all of a sudden; pistol at the ready, she waits for the figures to ping closer before a wash of dread and fright comes hurtling at them, invisible against the downward flow of rain.

The Brian on the motorcycle pulls back, pulling off a wheelie of victory. But then he realizes he's not as good as he thought at motorcycles and the small bike wobbles. Woooah. Brian is able to put it back down and wobble back and forth a little to stabilize. Oops. The rain continues to plaster the Brian on the bike as he rolls back, going to join Eileen and Raith.

The Brian on the train is bending back to support the weight of the backpack that was tossed. Climbing to the top, Winters scrambles behind Francois and Nora. The backpack is flung forward. "Everyone avert your eyes unless you want to be blinded by glory." And with that, a Brian is sliding off Brian into a laid out position on the train. Fuck. It's cold. Grasping the backpack tightly, the naked man immediately starts to unzip and grasp at the items inside.

The clothed Brian creeps forward. Mp5 held up in both hands as his boots slide forward. Sawed off shotgun attached to his hip. The backpack has an extra pistol for naked Brian. Brian's boots lay down as he goes to follow Francois closely. "Lead the way Lumiere." A pause. "That's the candlestick guy from beauty and the beast." Another beat. "It's because you're French."

The rifle is pulled from Griffin's back of its own accord, drifting down to rest in his hands. His vectors will be better put keeping him steady on his feet— which he is, thanks to a pair of vectors clinging to the sides of the car keeping him firmly attached to the roof. Glowing eyes turn to peer over at Ryans, brows raising slightly, before a nod is offered at his order.

Then, with a grim expression on his features, Griffin is steadily making his way along with Ryans, rifle raised and ready to fire once he gets a more clear view. His vectors will also be better used for disarming the men. Once the figures become a bit closer, Griffin aims the rifle and takes his shot. To hell with waiting for them to get in range of his vectors. Waiting would be idiotic.

The Stillwater operatives move into range on the roof, rainwater illuminating the barrels of their weapons brought to bear — a bullet whizzes past Ryans' ear. Another dents the corroded metal beside Griffin's boot. They would be pressing forward if Huruma's ability didn't stop them dead in their tracks, fear washing over them and turning blood to ice in ways that even the battering weather cannot. The least experienced of the group turns to retreat, but too quick — his left foot loses traction on the slippery surface, and although he lunges to compensate, gravity proves more powerful than his scrabbling grip when he goes over the side of the car.

If he's lucky, he'll land clear of the tracks, his fall cushioned by the snow. If he isn't, then he'll be pulled under the wheels of the train and mangled by the undercarriage. The three Ferrymen on the roof may never know, but the group clinging to the train's side and moving between the cars finds out what fate has in store for him when Nora feels something warm hit the side of her face and tastes blood.

From up above, there's a pop, and the sound of something bouncing, spinning haphazardly across the roof of the the train. Yellow smog fills the air, its effects smothered by the rain and the wind, but potent enough that it still poses a threat to Griffin and Huruma. Then gravity takes that, too, and the canister, still spewing, clatters over the edge and wedges itself between the ladder and the side of the car.

Up ahead, the car indicated by Nora comes into view of Francois' team, its sliding door left open, though there's no sign of anyone outside. Instead, a rifle peeks around the corner, followed by somebody's torso. That somebody fires two shots. Both go wide, but their message is clear: Go back.

«Keep your ear on that other frequency if you can.» The announcement of that other frequency makes Benjamin worry, but it doesn't stop him as he moves forward with the other two. Ease step is careful as the train clatters along.

There is no mistaking that familiar yellow cloud and the canister with it. His jaw tightens at the sight. «Cover me… I'm going for it.» The canister he means, if the direction he's angling means anything. It won't be the first time he's felt the oily concoction settle over him. Luckily he doesn't need no stinking abilities.

Crouching, while the other two cover him, Ryans goes for the canister, going down on his stomach so that he can get a good grip on the lodged canister. It takes a good tug to get it loose and fling it as far from the train as he can.

An arm hooked around the next ladder over, Francois presses himself against the side of the car as rifle fire blows by him a split second after they can hear the single syllable through their radios: «Take— » Cover. Was the next part. But the report of warning shots conveys that much for him. Wrenching pistol out from the holster strapped beneath leather, Francois is quick to respond in kind — one gunshot that sends sparks flying, the second bullet hitting him when the rifle clatters soundlessly beneath them, gone, the silhouette of the man buckling beneath the blow of the bullet.

Nothing else comes out of the door. Yet. He glances back for Nora and Brian to confirm they're still with them, briefly at Nora again. Wee teenagers on train gunshooty Western missions. Kind of like wartime, if more cinematic than Francois ever recalls it being.

"Age before beauty, ah?" is called over the roar of the train, a briefly mad grin, before he's spidering his way for that open door. If a clone would like to go ahead of him its totally allowed, for the record. He reaches a foot out between the carriage they cling to before stepping home onto the next.

Blood splattering her face would probably send most teenagers into screams and flails, but Nora's only reaction is to gasp, her free hand moving to wipe the blood from her face with the back of her sleeve, and then to spit the sudden mouthful of someone else's vital fluids in her mouth out and away from her. Next time she'll keep her mouth shut.

«Listening» she responds to Ryan's words before flashing a smirk at Francois' mad grin. "You're pretty enough to go first if it were the other way around," she tosses to his back as she moves forward, making herself as small of a target as possible while dodging bullets and heading to the car in question, following Francois' path as if they were playing Follow the Leader.

The sight of the canister itself sends a prickling through the dark woman- Griffin and Ryans will practically be able to see it in the wiry tensing of her limbs. Of things that she actually fears, the loss of her ability is one that falls into as many categories as she can think of. Even as Benjamin goes for it, Huruma finds herself gritting her teeth and half holding her breath when he does so. Cover him. No time to think about what might happen with the gas. She will simply have to put her faith in the rain to steer it away.

Her pistol is still at the ready, and just as she lets out a second, more powerful burst into the minds of the enemy, she takes a couple steady shots at one of them. One seems to graze over his thigh, but the other zeroes in and smacks true, blowing a hole in the side of his head. The solider-for-hire is dead before he tilts and tumbles from the side of the train, leaving behind a trail of red before smacking wet and pink into the passing winter thaw.

Brian creeps forward, Mp5 aimed at the opening that Francois was lighting up. He glances over to Nora, quirking a brow. "Could you stop flirting with everything? I'm telling." He gives a waggle brow before looking back to the car in front of him. As Lu—Francois nears the next car where the shooty-guard appeared, Brian calls out. "Lumiere! Si vous plate!" Yes he knows that is saying it wrong. Don't correct him. It's a joke. He has a machine gun. Waving a little signal hand over his shoulder. It's the signal that someone else is coming. And it's Brian spattering through the rain covered train. This Brian is less clothed than the first. A camoflauge t-shirt and khaki pants, the barefoot man sprints forward. Pistol held in his hand, he goes to dive past Francois. Fear is something you just don't live with when you have another body waiting behind you ten feet away.

The Pistol Brian goes to push into the car blindly. Not too worried about retaliation despite the very real threat that there might be some. "Be ready Lumiere. If there's someone there, they're going to shoot me pretty soon." This much comes from Mp5 Brian.

«Ryans—!» Eileen's voice crackles over the radio, but it's too late. The canister is freed, sailing away from the speeding train, and maybe this would be a problem if it's what the Englishwoman was trying to warn him about. It isn't — a gloved hand seizes Ryans by the front of his coat, taking advantage of his vulnerable position on his stomach and pulling him down over the side of the car. To Huruma and Griffin, it looks like he might have fallen or been snagged by one of the overhead branches zipping past their heads as the train continues along its route through the forest, toward the bridge.

Eileen told them that the bridge was five miles away. How many miles has it been?

The sound of Ryans' body slamming onto the floor of the car he'd been balancing on top of, now open, resonates with enough force that Griffin and Huruma can feel it where they're still standing even though he's no longer in view. A figure in Horizon Armor, streaked with icewater, looms over him, and drives the heel of his boot into his temple. Hard.

Up above on the car's roof, the remaining Stillwater operative discovers that he has backup in another one of those suits, though this one is sleeker, almost more feminine in design. A hand goes out, and white-blue electricity arcs from the Frontline officer's palm, crackling with raw energy, and slams into Huruma's chest, blowing her off her feet but not off the train.

Griffin has to decide which one of them to help.

This at least explains the mysterious frequency that Nora picked up on, and it's no longer silent. «Delgado,» one of the officers in the suits is saying, «Let them loose.»

Inside the vaccine car, something is growling. Low, rough, at the back of its throat. Inhuman. Francois knows what the sound is before he sees it, and Brian sees it before him. Flashing eyes and snarling teeth explode out of the car, and a large body barrels into one of him, knocking the replicator off balance and onto the tracks. Tires squeal, something crackles and snaps, and Nora's face is wet again. The Doberman rounds on the remaining clone and, snarling, leaps up to lock jaws around his arm and pull him down, making it impossible for him to fire his submachine gun as long as it is attached.

Someone still has to uncouple the car.

Somewhere, Raith is shouting. «Coming up on that bridge!»

Well. Shit. This really sucks. Griffin turns, watching as Ryans seems to have fallen off, and then into the car. And then, Huruma is being attacked by a woman in Frontline armor. White eyes widen, turning down toard the train car he stands on that contains Ryans, and then to Huruma, in a moment of quiet 'WTF' reflection. But the bigger threat seems to be the woman with the zapping power…thing.

His eyes narrowed, four of those vectors are sent flying toward the feminine FRONTLINE suit. After an unsuccessful attempt to move her feet, he takes another aim: To take hold of her arms. And pull them out to her sides, giving her a crucified appearance; his main intent, to rip, while hopefully simultaneously preventing her from doing any more of that unpleasant zappy thing she does. You stay away from the tall, beautiful African woman. She was the first person he actually met in New York. She is so off limits.

Ryans will have to fend for himself for the time being.

He gets a glimpse of familiar armor and the chance to think, 'Oh crap,' before he's pulled over the side. There is an pained grunt as Ryans hits that floor, his head bouncing off the floor of the car with a ring of metal… or is that his head? Oh god, he's gonna feel that for days.

Of course, the impact of the kick to his head has him rolled to his side, hand to his face, breath hissing between clenched teeth. He rolls over to hands and knees, the action making his stomach churn dangerously and his vision swim a little.

Son of a…

He gives a little shake of his head to clear his vision, but it only makes things worse for a moment. Okay… that was a bad idea. Still, Ryans makes a grab for his handgun as he pushes himself up to his knees. It comes around in an attempt to fire a couple of rounds at the figure's visor.

Give Francois Nazis or Vanguard or anything other than dogs, his face automatically blanching, green eyes wide. They say that the growls of predators contain a low enough frequency designed to inspire fear and dread in those able to detect it, and whether or not that's true, it has his hand locking on his pistol, knees feeling watery. "Brian!" He wonders where all that mad-grin bravery just went, steeped in reluctance. It's a replicator. He'll be fine.

Be ready, Lumiere.


He follows Brian's path, gun pointed and triggerhappy, as he usually gets when frightened. Blamblamblam go bullets towards the nearest furred beast. A high pitched yelp pierces ears as a bullet sinks into canine flank, Francois in turn backing up as soon as he's in as if the kick back were enough to do so. It's not.

Too much sensory input at once freezes Nora in place for a long and tense moment. A dog growling, blood on her face, the sudden voices in her head from Raith and from the unknown frequency. «Whoever it is is telling someone named Delgado to let us loose…» the teenager reports, the inability to edit out background noise and her own trembling voice revealing her fear.

She carefully moves to the space between the second freight car and the one in front of it. Her gun stowed, she's empty handed but for the handholds of metal used to guide her way, small feet moving carefully on slippery metal.

It's perhaps good that she's the one to attempt this — the apparatus hooking the two cars together doesn't leave a lot of room for feet, and hers are the smallest by far. Trying to balance, she crouches down, surveying the coupler before grabbing the lever, then turning to release the lock. She winces as the cold metal thrums and vibrates in her hands, cutting her fingers as it takes a long moment to begin to budge. For a moment, she thinks it won't — that she's not strong enough, that she's too small.

Nora cries out, and tugs with all of her might, one foot moving to the other car to shove against it.

And then it finally releases, sending Nora backward against the car's front end.

If her experiences with little Elle Bishop taught Huruma anything whatsoever, it was that if someone is going to be hitting you with some sort of bolt, it's a good idea to at least be somewhat prepared. All that Huruma is able to do before the arc tackles her is just make sure that she isn't going to roll off of the top of the train. This consists of just recalling the nearest thing that she can grab onto-

-but of course putting this to use only happens after she is whisked across the top of the car, keeping a deathgrip on her gun and letting her other arm drag along to latch onto the rim of the ceiling hatch. Huruma finds herself having mixed feelings about this, because all of a sudden Ryans isn't where he was a moment ago, hunched on his belly in the darkening rain. While Griffin is helping her because of that lingering bud of fondness, seeing Ben missing rouses her into a state of near anxiety. She makes a noise somewhere between a growl and a gasp, the pain from being hit apparently settling in. At least it's happened before, but damn if it doesn't always hurt.

Imagination gives her the flapping sound of a dog rattling its head free of water, as Huruma snarls to herself and claws her way back onto at least one foot, knee on the car. She does it a second time, trying to ignore the all-over ache from the direct blast and find her targets again. Griffin is there to provide, thankfully, with his vectors writhing invisibly around armored limbs. But there's still the matter of the leftover Stillwater man, so it is him that receives a building pressure of terror inside of his head. It begins slow, as Huruma's eyes water up from the stunning, but she finds her purchase as she did with the car's roof.

At moments like this, her ability is like an unforgiving shark- clenching and biting and refusing to let go until the water is filled with a whirl of unfortunate chum.

"What the.."

And the Brian is being bowled over by a dog. "FUUUUCK!?" The shrill cry is let out as Doberman teeth are baring into his arm. "FFGGHH!" As the teeth dig down into his flesh and he is pulled to the ground, Brian aims an ineffectual punch at the side of the dogs head. It doesn't take the stupidly sharp teeth out of his arm. As his body racks from the pain he tries to think about what just happened. Two of him just got taken out by one dog. Fuck. Hopefully no one else survives so they don't have to recap this story and talk about who did what because. Yikes.

And then Francois is shooting. Brian is trying to get his shotgun off his belt holster as the gunshots ring out. One pinging right next to his ear, which has Brian giving Francois a rather wide eyed look. The dog is whimpering and severely hurt, so Brian does the humane thing and delivers a swift boot kick to send the bully beast off the train. He has to go squish too.

Letting out a ragged breath as the dog collapses over him in death. Looking over at the dog he looks back down at his now very bloody very shredded up and very tender arm. "Owie." He meeps, using his good arm to press himself up some. He waves Francois on with a weak gesture, though the french man might hear what sounds like a whimper. Owww. The Mp5 is held forward with a little less cavalier bravado this time.

If Griffin's opponent was not wearing a suit that cost millions of dollars to research, he would stand a much better chance of ripping her limbs from her body. His reward is a pained grunt of exertion from inside her helmet as she strains against the force of his ability, and while she lacks the strength to fight back this way, she also doesn't need to — she groans, low like the growl of the dog before it launched itself at Brian, and as the sound builds, Griffin hears the knives attached to his body begin to sing, and in their holsters his pistols vibrate with a high, sonorous whine.

That's not electrokinesis, and yet her entire body begins to crackle and spark, electricity leaping off her armor and sizzling in the air. "Let go!" she screams. "Or everyone with their feet on this car is fucking dead!"

She probably isn't bluffing, and the last Stillwater operative on the roof knows it. He looks between her, Griffin, and then lets his gaze settle on Huruma, the source of the terror twisting his bowels into knots, and furiously blinks the rainwater from his eyes. Fuck this, is what his facial expression says. He bails, leaping from the top of the car, and prays that his legs have enough thrust in them to clear the tracks.




Three of the bullets fired from Ryans' gun hit the helmet of the man standing over him. Two leave dents in the armor. A third splinters the visor, distorting his vision, but does not punch through it. An arm swats Ryans' gun-wielding hand away and sends the pistol skittering across the floor of the car. One hand closes around his throat and clamps down to cut off the flow of oxygen to his brain. The other unsheaths a knife from his boot, turns it between his gloved fingers, then plunges the blade into his gut, all the way up to the hilt.

It's not a mortal wound.

It probably isn't meant to be.

Up in the vaccine car, Francois can hear claws clicking against the floor. Teeth gleam. There's another dog inside and two men as well, one in Horizon Armor, probably the one Nora calls Delgado, and the other in Stillwater Security uniform, but all three of them seem more interested in abandoning their cargo than they do protecting it when the car jolts, shudders, and the whine of the wheels fills the car.

They've failed and there is no honour in going down with the ship, so to speak.

They aren't the captain, anyway. The door on the opposide side of the car grinds open, and they fling themselves out into the snow.

«Tavara, it's over!» Nora will hear shot over the radio. «Get him out of there and let's go!»

A glance is cast back toward Huruma as Griffin ensures that she's alright. She's— well enough, he supposes. Not dead, and she didn't fall off of the train, so that's a triumph in itself. Then, the woman is growling, doing something, though lord knows what. It's nothing desirably, that much is excruciatingly obvious by the fact that his knives and pistols are vibrating.

Glowing eyes turn down toward the pistols, widening a bit. Whatever she can do…he doesn't quite want to find out. Sneering toward her, he releases her arms, giving her a blessed moment of freedom from the oppressive grip of his vectors.

That is, until five of those vectors are sent flying toward FRONTLINE officer, aimed for the general area of her solar plexus in the hardest strike he can muster, the man's lip curling upward in an expression of extreme distaste. Or perhaps that's hatred.

There is no time to feel satisfaction at his aim before Benjamin is slammed up against the wall of the car. The cold of the metal seeping into his already wet back, but honestly… it's the least of his concerns. First is the fact that he can't breath, the second being that he suddenly finds a knife stuck deep into his stomach. The pain, makes him gasp pain pinching at the edges of his eyes. Fingers grip the gloved hand tightly, where it just about touches his stomach.

Teeth clamp shut tight against the pain, ignoring the metallic taste of blood from where he teeth bit into the soft flesh of his mouth. Some of which he spits into the FRONTLINE officers face.

The officer can feel Ryans' throat working as he tries to catch his breath. There isn't much success, but he does manage to gasp out. «Nora.» Over the radio. It takes effort for the next word, anyone that can hear it, can tell something is wrong. «Feed—back.» It takes precious oxygen to get the words out, the world slowly darkening at the edges as he fights to keep conscious and prays the teen understands.

"I am sorry. I'm very sorry."

This is Francois, to Brian, after the car's been vacated of FRONTLINE soldier and dogs alike — fleeing a wildly firing French revolutionary, or at least deciding that a bunch of vaccinations aren't worth that mess. Green eyes picking out where a wild bullet had sunk, a wince writing on his pale features, and hands still trembling a little. A jerky full-circle turn to evaluate what's going on as he tucks gun away, moving first to one of the crates as he pulls a knife from where it was strapped to a shin.

He uses it to lever open the lid of the nearest box, observing its contents, and, voice strained and quiet and tense, he transmits the message to those on the train and those waiting in the wings: «We have it. We'll need extra hands, s'il vous plait.» Leaving the load for now, he moves towards Brian, hands out to take a look at that arm.

"Fucking animals," is muttered, before cursing again in fluid French when he sees the extent of the damage, white bone through torn flesh. "I can fix it," he promises, a reflexive statement that is not as true as it once was when he passed on his healing power. But still somewhat honest.

Once she's sure that the car she stands on is detached for the other, Nora begins wipes her now-bloody hands on her jeans, and grabs hold of the metal siding to begin to maneuver her way toward the open door, to help in whatever way she can. Ryans' words cut through her ears, and she nods, murmuring back «Telling Tavara to get one of the others and bail», winded as she moves.

That information delivered, she concentrates on the two signals, Stillwater's and FRONTLINE's, blasting burst noise in pops and crackles at full volume in their ears, one more affront. The effort takes concentration, deafening her to her own surroundings for the time it takes her to travel to the open door of the car.

Huruma speaks, but whatever it is that comes aloud over the team's reception is more a mixture of whatever language she is thinking in, and just- noise. It takes her a moment to realize nobody will understand it anyway. She scans the rainy air as Griffin sets more of his sights on the slim Frontline soldier, a faint ringing tickling in her ears as residue from her being blasted. When she gets the rest of the onto her feet, the woman meets some rain resistance and a bit of a teetering feeling, but her scramble for the edge of the car gives her something to concentrate on.

Huruma knows that Ryans didn't actually fall off anywhere, but on the flipside, she feels something that is not very promising below her. The other person is moving for an exit, and so she fixes her hands on the side of the car and swings her legs down, and in. Tossing around like a gymnast isn't the best of ideas on a train, true- though sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. She lands inside the car, less in a tangle of limbs now, and more the usual grace- though she still has to take a moment to get those bearings back.

"Don't worry. I can get rid of it when we meet up with me." Brian explains. NBD. He's a replicator. He waves his poor little arm to the side as if waving off the pain. Glancing over at the car they have. He takes a step away from Francois. "I can make more naked me's. Stupid dog ruined other me." Under the train's giant wheels. "But they'll all have a ripped up arm. So a bunch of one armed guys. Will that work?"

He takes a few steps through the cart looking at the vaccines. He glances over to Francois. "I know we're going to distribute them fairly and stuff.. But.. Will you tell on me if I just take one? I.. My fiancee is pregnant. I need to make sure she gets one." Brian asks casually while the rest of the team fights for their lives.

Griffin hits the woman so hard that she vanishes into thin air.

She's still reeling from the blow when she reappears inside the car where Ryans is bleeding on the floor and claps a hand on the knife-man's shoulder. The angle of her helmet suggests that she glances down at him before she disappears again, this time taking her fellow soldier with him, but she does not pay him much more attention than that and is gone by the time Huruma finishes making her way down.

The train is slowing. From her vantage point, Nora can see the engine pulling away with its one remaining car, just as the tracks round the corner and the bridge Eileen told them about, a steel skeleton spanning hundreds and hundreds of feet, seems to rise out of the wood. She can hear, too, the screams of the Frontline officers over the radio as their helmets are filled with an earsplitting sound that should not qualify as a sound at all before they go abruptly silent.

The Ferry cut this one awfully close, and if was not for the automatic activation of the emergency break system, they'd be cutting it closer still.

Griffin narrows his eyes as the woman promptly dissapears upon being hit by his vectors. Thank god the train is stopping. He turns to glance toward Huruma; she seems to have the Benjamin Ryans situation taken care of. He then turns, making his way back toward the very French request for extra hands. He drops down into the car that the men are in, eyes glowing.

"Eight extra hands." Griffin says this with a grim tone. He needs to figure out a way around the Horizon armor. Figure out a weak spot so he can take them out much more quickly. For now, though, his focus is on the job at hand: ensure that the vaccines make it into the Ferrymen's hands safely.

There is a gasp when the hand around his neck disappears, the pressure keeping him on his feet is gone. Ryans knees hit the floor hard and his hand smacks the floor shortly after, leaving a smear of red. There are a few deep breaths of air, eyes blinking against the lightheaded sensation he's feeling.

Inkiness oozes from between the fingers clutching his stomach, split around the handle of the knife, turning to red rivulets as they run down his fingers and seep into the shirt he's wearing.

Benjamin manages to glance up at Huruma, blue eyes squinting through the pain. "A little late." It's meant to be a joke,but it fall flat, his voice gruff with pain. Of course, the stubborn old man he is, Ryans is already moving to get to his feet, knife in the gut and concussion be damned. There is still work to do. «Time's short… need to move. Where is the truck.»

Oh. Francois' hands draw away sheepishly by the time Brian is waving his injured limb around, nodding mutely as he glances out the open door towards where the landscape is slowing to a stop — and Griffin is monkeying his way inside. Despite his presence, he does answer Brian's question with a nod — the Frenchman isn't telling anyone. If he can lift one himself for a certain astral projectionist, he'll hope that Brian won't tell either.

«Is everyone unhurt?» He says that, knowing the answer is no. He isn't really after that syllable either.

«Status?» Nora's voice murmurs into the radios without her lips moving. Her dark eyes widen the bloody arm the remaining Brian has, one of the other's blood still present on her face. The young girl is a bit frightening to look at, splattered with other people's blood. She shakes her head at Francois, speaking just to those in the car, softly. "I think the others are hurt, too. We need to unload quick and get them and the vaccines out of here."

The teenager begins to move to the supplies they are after, picking up as many of the containers as she can carry. For the sake of the away team, she adds, «We have the vaccines. We need to hurry before any reinforcements come in.» In a world where people can teleport, time is of the essence.

"Shove it." She got the joke, however terrible. Huruma's movements are immediate, and deliberate, even if there is an odd unsteadiness when she ducks down to put herself up under one of Benjamin's arms so that when he does his stubborn thing and stands, he isn't going to just fall over again like a downed tree might. Her eyes are studying the hilt of the knife that she can see stuck in him, and the slippery red that only adds to the glossy rain on the floor of the car. For a moment, Huruma wants to reach over and take out the knife- but she doesn't. Best to leave that to someone else.

"I don'think it got anything important. We're stopping, you might need t'be ready for a horse." Her voice is pretty much in his ear, as she resigns to being a literal support. Because god knows he won't sit back down even if she told him to. «Stab wound.» She relays lastly over the radio, and though she isn't specific, at least it is expected.

Going to grasp one secret vaccine and place it gingerly into his ammo satchel on his side, Brian peers down at his arm. "Jesus this stings. I need to get to me. So I can stop… Fuckfuckfuck." Brian takes a step away, going to hold his wrist. "Gaawd. Shock is supposed to last a while right? Like so it doesn't hurt?" Motherfucker.

Brian bends over while holding his wrist, too scared to actually touch the wound. "Jesus Christ I'm going to kill every dog in the world." Then Nora is coming in. "Oh hey~" He singsongs. Wincing as he glares down at his bloody arm. "Gaaaah cut it off!" He starts to go back to the vaccines to help, trying to ignore the stupid amount of pain in his arm. Dogs. :(

«Hold tight,» Raith instructs Huruma as her ears register the pounding of hooves against the gravel on the side of the tracks. «Trucks are on their way.» Eileen appears on the back of the stallion, one hand gripping the reins. They may need it to carry him. Her eyes are solemn and dark.

On the other side of the bridge, swallowed up by the fog, the engine and remaining car continue to put distance between it and the uncoupled chain — the four figures that blink back into existence next to the guard rail, minus one Doberman, will have some explaining to do to their superiors when the train arrives in New York City.

Or that's the theory, anyway. Linda Tavara grasps at the rail and gives it a frustrated rattle, her expression unreadable behind the visor of her helmet. Angel Delago is similarly difficult to read, but his posture is guarded and tense. One Doberman dead and another wounded in the fall from the train, off limping somewhere through snow that comes all the way up to its chest.

The thought would make him more uncomfortable if he didn't used to run a dogfighting ring on Roosevelt Island before Frontline-OS picked him up. Delgado's head turns toward the man with the cracked visor, expectant, as his hands grip the helmet's sides, pulling it off of his head so he can see what little there is to see.

A shrinking bridge and mist that looks like smoke. Thinning curls of brown hair are plastered to a high, rumpled brow by sweat, and Leon Heller's mouth makes a shape that conveys all of Linda's furious trembling by flattening.

His nostrils flare, billowing a fine, angry white vapour. That the network needed to take this risk at all is the balm that soothes his temper — somewhere, their people must be dying.

It's all the satisfaction he's going to get.

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