Exodus, Part III


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Also featuring:

bai-chan_icon.gif delia_icon.gif mu-qian_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title Exodus, Part III
Synopsis Ferrymen evacuating by boat and by helicopter encounter unexpected difficulties when an engine won't start and their retreat is impeded by the arrival of a tank.
Date November 8, 2010

Red Hook

Plumes of thick black smoke transform a starless November sky into a churning charcoal ocean lit by distant flames rising several stories high. It's impossible to separate the human screams from wailing sirens and the patter of gunfire. In the weeks to come, this is what journalists will say martial law sounds like.

It smells like hot iron and smouldering brick, charred wood and earth. Death carries a distinctive odor, too, and it's this that blows in across the water on the same wind that tangles Megan Young's hair and tugs at the clothes on her back. In many ways, the events unfolding across New York City are worse than what happened exactly four years ago today, but it's still too soon to know whether or not they will claim more lives than the catalysm that started it all.

The fires, after all, are still burning.

A rail yard on the Red Hook's waterfront offers a faint glimmer of hope to those gathered there in the form of firelight reflecting off idle helicopter rotors and the sides of the two fishing boats moored at the pier, one of them already packed to capacity with refugees from evacuated Ferryhouses, though there's still room aboard the second for any last minute stragglers, including operatives Ygraine Fitzroy and the bloodied blonde bundle she carries in her arms.

At the boats, the solemn figure of Barbara Simms stands guard with Megan over the wooden planks that evacuees have been using to cross from the pier. Not far away, Jensen Raith performs a similar duty at the helicopter, ushering children inside while directing their parents toward the water.

They should have launched twenty minutes ago.

Megan's glance at Barbara holds more than a little concern. They're all watching the time now. Scott finally — finally — flat out forced her to go to the rendezvous, basically pointing out that they were going to need all the hands they could get helping the evac and all the medical and combat skills they had to make sure everyone stayed safe. Megan fits all those criteria. Now, with an automatic weapon slung over her back and the kind of tension that says she knows exactly how to use it if she has to, she's using both hands to help people keep their balance on those planks. "Keep moving. Quickly quickly now, move to the back and huddle in. There are more coming." She hopes.

The sight of Fitzroy with someone in her hands sends the nurse slipping away from Barbara to check the unconscious one. "How bad?" Megan demands.

Dressed appropriately for the end of the world - or at least a late-90s version of it - Ygraine's clad in black leather and kevlar-weave cycling gear, all glossily dark surfaces with ribbed protection over her joints. To let her speak to the woman in her arms, she's slung her helmet from the heavy belt she wears: it hangs on the other side to a bulky pouch containing some of the Ferry's precious supply of night-vision gear. Still, even on this night, the Briton doesn't appear to be carrying a gun.

Unfortunately, there is at least one weapon all too visible - a knife-hilt protrudes from the blood-soaked side of Kaylee's archaic gown. Ygraine's cheated a little to reduce the amount that it bounces with each step, resetting the blade's gravity so that it's not tugged towards the ground… but there's nothing she can do for the pain and suffering already being caused. Indeed, fit though she is and cheat though she does, Kaylee's own weight is no insignificant burden for her, and the faux-redhead's face is en route to matching her hair by the time that she comes near enough to catch Megan's attention.

"Knife through a whalebone corset. The bleeding's not arterial, but I don't know how long the blade is. She's conscious", Ygraine delivers through half-gritted teeth, before forcing an attempt at a smile. "And I'm sure you're even more glad to see a proper nurse than I am, aren't you, Kaylee?"

Saying that Barbara is tense is far too powerful of an understatement, and exactly how on edge she is wears itself on her face as she stands next to Megan, as she constantly looks nervously down at her watch as she keeps an eye on the time, and keeps a careful watch of every single person who approaches where they stand - she's been through this once before. She remembers how this went, up in Canada.

Not this time, not if she has anything to say about it.

Grimacing as she sees Ygraine's face, and the wounded woman she carries, she takes a step forward to help, but pauses as Megan makes her demand. Anxiously, she diverts her attention by helping another down the pier, before turning back to the rest of their new arrivals. "This is why I'm glad you're here, Megan." Sure, Barbara knows some basic first aid, but nothing that could handle this as well as it needs to be. "What can you do, quickly for her? We…. we need to get moving." She takes a nervous step forward, to help if she needs to, the shotgun she has slung over her back a contrast to Megan's rifle. Barbara's no good with guns, uby any means, but she knows the virtue of being prepared.

Holding on weakly to Ygraine, blonde's head seems almost loose on her neck, but at least for the moment it rests on the woman's shoulder. A moment of respite. It might take a second look to realize that the woman in Ygraine's care was the same young woman that had been around the Ferrymen only a month ago. But at a familiar voice, Kaylee Thatcher's eyes open and her head slowly turns towards Megan, tho it's uncertain if she really see's the nurse.

Maybe it's the pale, clamminess of Kaylee's skin that ages her, but she looks nearly thirty, rather then barely into her 20's. Her eyes are rimmed in red, from the tears that come with the pain.

Her clothing is just as odd a sight as the aged appearance of Kaylee, it looks like it would be more at home in a Victorian costume party then the modern word, though she's not as proper as she was, the tall collar having been undone so that maybe to help her breath. At least she's not indecent with her corset showing. The the left side of her dress is dark with blood, even down into the skirts, as the handle of a throwing knife glitters rather wickedly in the dim light.

Her hair is slowly coming apart, the bun her hair was up in slowly loosening, locks falling her face. "Hurts…" Is all she manages to offer to Megan, eyes closing. Her left hand not only clutches at Ygraine, but sports not just a gold ring, but has the familiar crusifix's of Joseph Sumter tangled around her fingers.

"Buckle in as soon as you sit down," Raith says to all the kids, not just the latest one he is helping inside the chopper, "We can't leave unless you're buckled in." How many more are there? How much time do they have left? Questions Raith honestly does not have answers to. Answers he doesn't have the time to figure out. A glance towards the boats doesn't help him do anything else except give just one more reassurance to a departing parent. "We're jamming them, they won't even know where we are. Don't worry." Too bad following his own advice is proving more difficult than playing the part: He doesn't have to have ice water in his veins. The others just need to think that he does. One more child into the 'copter, and Raith steals a moment to ask a very, very important question through his radio. «ETD on the grownups?» It doesn't matter who answers him, as long as it's someone by the boats.

Megan hesitates, and then shakes her head. "Shit," she murmurs. "Get her in at the front of the boat and keep doing what you're doing, Fitzroy," the redhead orders. "When you get her in there, my bag's in the front corner with a bunch of gauze. Use it to brace the knife in place and wrap her whole body to keep everything stable. I can't do shit for her until we're at least moving, possibly not til we get to the island." Her tone is grim. Kaylee's looking in rough shape, but Meg can't board before we're ready to take off. «20 minutes ago», Megan bites off tersely into her radio. «I don't think we can afford to hold departure much longer, Jensen. The rest may have to find their way on their own.» She bites her lip, standing in the middle of the pier watching the people straggling aboard vehicles.

Ygraine nods to Megan, the stiffness in the gesture a result of straining muscles rather than any ill-will at being given orders. Confirmation that help will be on its way is very much appreciated, if her expression is anything to go by.

Taking a deep breath, she spends a moment refreshing the unseen bonds holding Kaylee in her tired arms, and offers Barbara a wobbly smile. "Good to see you again", she offers to her fellow fake redhead, before striding forward once more, gaze and thoughts locking upon the gangplank and how best to negotiate it. A bit of judicious cheating there should make tackling the slope easier. And frankly, she needs all the help she can get. So much for getting away with cutting back on the exercise regime now that she's no longer a professional racer….

Quite the time to return to New York.

Many have come to this location herding refugees, children, elderly. Another rescued is added among to the count those gathered have managed to salvage. Black combat boots slap against the round steadily, the man approaching on a rapid route towards the helicopter and boats. The boots come to a stop as the man takes the surroundings in.


Ethan Holden has returned to New York City, his eyes trained on Raith Jensen for half a second before moving on. Trying to find who's in charge here, because it obviously can't be Raith. Okay ffine. Ethan adjusts the load in his arm. A small black puppy with a pink collar is nestled in his arm against his chest.

Jogging towards the helicopter, Ethan closes in. "Hey! Oy! Fuckface!" The Brit calls out loudly, nearing the helicopter. "You've got a tank here in two minutes. Two minutes!" Backing up he shouts loudly, one hand cupped over his mouth. "Tank in two minutes! Get the fuck out!"

A somewhat forced, weary smile is offered Ygraine, but little more than that. Instead, Barbara's gaze moves down to Kaylee, turning to take a few steps alongside Ygraine. "What in the world happened?" she inquires quietly, anxiously. "Do you need any help getting her situated?" Stopping halfway down the pier - in case she's needed, Barbara affords Ygraine only a moment to answer, before she turns and looks back towards the helicopter, then over to Megan. Her radio crackles to life as she takes a deep sigh and speaks into it.

«I don't want to go,» Meaning, she doesn't want to leave anyone behind. It weighs down on her enough as it is, «But Megan is right. We really need to get moving five minutes ago.» Quirking her lips side to side, she lowers it, giving a nod in Megan's direction.

And then she hears what Ethan yells, and her eyes go wide. «Scratch that, we're leaving now!» she replies decisively. Time had run out at last. Her heart races as she turns back to the boats, running as best as she can without risking falling.

Blonde brows slowly furrow, as she watches blearily as they move towards the boats. Hands tightening on the woman carrying her. As the edge of one of the crosses bite into her palm her mind seems to wake up a little. Ygraine can see it, the sudden awareness in the telepath. "Where…?" Her head cranes around to look behind them, blue eyes searching the crowds. "No… Where… where is Joseph?"

There is a moment of searching, reaching out mentally, even those there will feel the brush of something in their minds. "No…" Kaylee breaths out softly as she realizes. "He's not here."

"Put me down!" Kaylee suddenly demands of her savior. "Put me down!" A touch of anger colors her tone. "I'm not going anywhere til I find Joseph!" Ygraine suddenly has a squirming woman in her arms. "I have to find him," the words are choked out. "Let me go. Joseph?! Please, where is he?" She spent five years waiting to see him again, she wasn't ready to just leave him behind.

Ethan's voice is something of a surprise, and the glance Raith sends the Brit says as much. But then, the word 'tank' registers, and he ducks his head inside the chopper. There's room for more. At least three. Maybe up to ten if belts are ignored and the kids are friends with each other. There's also a tank coming, and room or not, Raith remembers what he saw in his vision all those months prior.

Abruptly, the ex-spy seizes one more small child, nearly throwing them inside the cabin, and leaps up inside after them.

"Everyone else get to the boats!" he shouts, "Now! Run!" Raith himself waits, just in case there are any last minute parents who try to get their kids in. There's no time. "Holden! If you're with me, get over here and get on the gun!" He'll only give Ethan three seconds to decide, and then either surrender the space at the door, or slide it shut. Either way, he isn't waiting.

Overhead, a shimmer of silver in the shape of a falcon's wings flashes through the smoke. A moment later, Raith's radio is sparking to life again and if the presence of a scissoring predator bird doesn't indicate to him who's on the other end then the speaker's accent will.

«Jensen,» Eileen's voice says, «I have three more. Hold.»

But inside the cabin of the boat not yet filled to capacity, the captain is already trying to start up the engine, producing a low, roaring sound that should have the boat gliding backwards through the glittering black water. Instead, it's cut abruptly short and while this could prove to be a fortunate turn of events for whoever Eileen has with her, it's bad news for everyone onboard.

That includes the cluster of women, one of them bleeding out in Ygraine's arms.

The other boat encounters no such difficulties. One of the evacuees untethers the length of rope that fastens it to the pier as it begins to drift away and fill the air with the sound of its engine's vibrations.

Megan whirls at the sound of Ethan's voice, registering the words with alarm. Shit. "Time to go," she agrees. Hustling back toward the gangplank, Meg catches up with Ygraine and Kaylee. There is no time left. She twists her fist into Kaylee's hair, roughly hauling her face around so she'll focus on Megan's stern visage. "Get your fucking ass on that boat before you kill a hundred innocent people, Thatcher, or I swear to God, you can stay on this goddamn dock and bleed out. We don't have time for your bullshit!" She shoves the girl's head back around and tells Ygraine roughly, "Get on the goddamn boat. Go now. If she fucks with you any further, you drop her ass on the pier and leave her." She shoves Ygraine — far more gently than she did Kaylee — toward the boat, pulling her rifle around to the front to guard the retreat, clicking the radio. «Send them down the pier! Raith's off the ground — he's too close to the inbound tank. They're going to have to run for it!» She'll be the last one aboard.

"'m cheating. 'll be fine", Ygraine grits out to Barbara, managing another forced smile - before things suddenly get a lot more awkward. Having come face to barrel with a tank on her first operation alongside the Ferry, the Briton has no desire at all for a repeat of the experience. Fear puts an extra spring and a few more inches into her next stride stride… only for Kaylee to set about making things awkward again.

"If I put you down, you die", Ygraine snaps at the blonde - glad of the corset restricting Kaylee's movement, making her somewhat more managable than she would otherwise be.

After Megan's intervention, Ygraine does ocntinue towards the boat… though the abrupt silence from its engines isn't exactly entirely encouraging. "The only way you get to see Joseph is if you let me get you on this ship", she presses Kaylee, before realising quite how harsh she might be sounding. "I'll help you find him. We can work out where he is together. Last I knew, he was in much better condition than me after our rescue mission, but we have to get you aboard and treated or you won't be seeing anyone."

"Yeah, yeah. You got me fuckface." Etahn is going to the side door, pushing his puppy in. One of the small children is made to hold the dog. "'Ere 'old my puppy." The Wolf demands, and then the radio is crackling. And Ethan's attention jets to the sound of the voice. Ethan is immediately turning and scanning the area, high buildings, anything that might be able to help them… A glance to Raith. Ethan won't leave until Eileen arrives that much is sure. "If you 'ave to go. I won't shoot you fer it." He calls out to the other man, watching the storage container for a magic trick or something like it.

"Damnit!" Barbara exclaims as she hear Eileen's voice crackle over the radio, shaking her head. She doesn't make a further comment to Ygraine in Kaylee, Megan seems to have that situation handled rather well. A half step is taken up back off the boat, one foot down on the pier. "«They have moments, I'm afraid,»" she says as calmly as she can into the radio. "«We can't afford to wait any longer…»" She swallows loudly, like forcing down a sizable lump in her throat. It pains her to say that, it really does. But choices have to be made, and they need to leave before one is made for them. She watches ahead and waits, ready to practically throw people on board, should she need to.

Kaylee can't stop from crying in out in pain, as her head is jerked around roughly by the woman, tears coming to her eyes instantly, a slightly confused look is given to the medic at the overly rough handling. Her vision is reeling by time Megan is shoving her head back, breathing difficult for the blonde in that corset and the darkness beckoning at the edges of her vision. Swallowing back the lump of emotions that seem almost as bitter as bile in the back of her throat.

Then almost defiantly, Kaylee whispers, face pressed against Ygraines shoulder again, "I waited so long." The telepath's hand tightens around the twin crucifix, but then it slackens a little as she finally succumbs to the waiting darkness. It's better there for the time being anyhow.

"Ethan, there's a grenade launcher with H-E-A-T back there, and if you aren't pointing it in that tank's direction when we get off the ground, it will blow us and your puppy out of the sky!" The ex-spy's fingers dance across the instrument panel, flying through the pre-flight checks that are left to be done. leaving the 'copter at idle rather than a full stop bypassed most of these. "Eileen has thirty seconds," he adds, "If we're not gone by then, there won't be enough chopper left to go anywhere."

A thick cloud of sooty black smoke drifts in past the low-lying brick buildings beyond the pier, a rolling cloud of indinciary cast-off with glowing cinders swirling inside. The cloud is slow moving, driven by the wind and stinks of plastic and trash. There's no way to tell which portion of the fires it came from, save that it smells like a burning landfill.

As the smoke begins to fill the railyard it blocks sight of the adjacent road and reduces visibility down to just beyond arm's ready. Distant pops of automatic gunfire have been cracking off for a while now, too far away to be anything related, but reminders of violence that has not yet spilled out into this portion of Red Hook.

Keens eyes may notice dark shapes running in the smoke, a bulky and tall shadow moving through the obscurement of the fire at break-neck sprint towards where the helicopter has been primed for takeoff.

"Stop!" Bellows out of the smoke, followed by a man clad in Army-issue digital camouflage exploding through the head of the smoke and cinders. The uniform of a US Army officer is ill fitting for an Air Force member like Avi Epstein, but at the moment the people on that chopper who may have been hoping he'd make it likely don't care what it is he's wearing.

"Don't go we have a kid with us!" That shout comes as over Epstein's rifle-bearing shoulder, more silhouettes make themselves visible in the clouds of smoke. Breaking through the cloud behind epstein, a small and narrow-framed Asian woman carries close to her shoulder a tiny young boy with coal black hair who is decidedly calm despite all things happening. Stockinged feet otherwise bare carry Mu-Qian Zhang towards the helicopter at Avi's back.

"Did you know you have a tank wanting to play tag with you!?" Avi shouts as he gets closer to the helicopter, dark sunglasses inappropriately shadowing his eyes at these late night hours.

Whether or not the second boat can afford to wait any longer, those aboard don't have a choice. The cabin's door thunders open, and its captain appears, his chapped face gaunt and pale as he seeks out Barbara's eyes. No words are necessary for communication. The look he gives her and Megan says it all.

The engine won't start.

"I need a few minutes," is exactly what they don't want to hear, but there it is.

A shipping container of rusty corrugated metal shields the helicopter from view, but not the boats, and as the one with the working engine cruises out into deeper water, a peal of what sounds like it must be thunder leaves ears ringing, and the deck of the boat explodes into flaming pieces of debris that are flung across the pier and shipping yard. A piece of bulkhead strikes a man a few feet to Ygraine's left with enough force to separate his head from his shoulders and send both tumbling into the inky water.

The tank comes into view less than one hundred meters away, its canon slowly swiveling around at a creep as the soldier behind it takes aim on the remaining boat.

Oh bloody hell!! Megan looks at Barbara with wide eyes. Oh. My. God. As the tank rounds the corner, Megan sprints for the gangplank, calling to Barbara, "Undo the ropes!" Since Avi and his cargo are hauling ass for the chopper, she and Barbara will just do what they can to have the boat ready to run as soon as the Captain gets the engine to life. Machine guns are going to do exactly Jack and Shit against a tank's weapons. The redhead pales to a degree that makes her skin look like milk, as if anyone has time to notice that. She heads for the ropes holding the front end, leaving Barbara to handle the back end — or if the other woman can come up with something else, that'd all be well and good too. But she's going to work on shoving the away from the dock. Even without the engine, they're better off at least floating…. maybe?

"You'll see him soon", Ygraine murmurs to Kaylee, frowning worriedly at her for a moment before remembering to focus upon matters in hand. Set gangplank to down to avoid problems with a possibly-unsteady slope, and hurry across onto the boat… then keep going, heading away from the proximity of that tank, searching both for somewhere dry and warm in which Kaylee might receive aid - should things go well - and trying to note the boat's safety measures. Just in case.

Then a portion of the world blows up, setting Ygraine staggering as a result of an instinctive flinch, even though she wasn't hit by anything large enough to notice. A stream of swearing in French is lost amidst ringing ears, and she breaks into a lumbering run. "Merdemerdemerdemerde merde!", accompanies her as she goes up the parapet, pauses, then steps down onto the outside of the ship, taking herself out of sight of the dock. Now with a clear run, free of panicking refugees, she carries on going around the hull, putting the whole bulk of the vessel between the tank and and her bleeding burden.

Ethan is immediately going for the grenade launcher. Heaving it over his shoulder, he eases his way out of the helicopter. "Thirty seconds. If she's not 'ere, you go. I'll take care of the tank, and 'er." The Wolf confirms, adjusting the grenade launcher casually on his shoulder. Glancing at Avi running through, Ethan knits his brow at the man. "You see a small woman comin' this way?" He yells out.

As for playing tag, "We get to be 'it' first." And then the guest of honor is showing up. "Maybe they get to be it first."

Rushing away from the helicopter, Ethan keeps the launcher steady. Running towards the storage container, Ethan sets his glare on the tank. He counts slowly to himself as the cannon swivles for the other boat. Sliding to one knee, he curses to himself. His knees aren't what they used to be. But his trigger finger still works just fine.

"'ere comes the 'eat…" Click

It's as if someone spoke those magic five words that Barbara dare not think on her own, in some deliberate attempt to jinx their progress, and Barbara is left for a moment stunned, almost as if she's having a flashback back to Thompson.

But even in Thompson, they had at least been using rubber bullets.

It feels like an eternity for Barbara to return to the world around her, even if only feels like a split second. The command to undo the ropes gets a simple nod from Barbara, the dyed redhead turning and sprinting the short distance to the back of the boat. Her radio is raised, panicked voice ringing out over it. «We're stuck, th-the boat won't fucking start! Get yourselves moving, we can't do much more than pray here!»" Her eyes close as she speaks, lbefore ooking back at the people gathered in the boat. "We're going to get out of this, just- be strong! And if anyone can help now's the time!" Possibly hollow words, but if they're going to get screwed over now, better hoping for the best than scared in the corner of a boat. The shotgun is drawn off her back and set aside before she resumes working gathering the ropes. Useless against a tank, but better to have it ready than nothing.

Did Raith know about the tank? And then the main gun on that very tank discharges, and one of the escape boats goes up in an impressive ball of flash and fire. "Thank you, Avi!" Raith screams at his approaching brother-in-law, "I hadn't noticed! Get in the fucking helicopter!" Already, the helicopter's engines are screaming as they spool up to speed, and the twin coaxial rotors chop through the air before they smooth into a continuous roar that the soldiers in the tank, if it survived the second explosion caused by Ethan, might be able to pick out if they listen to what their computers tell them. «Wolf, get back here!» issues forth from the helicopter's loudspeaker, and Raith only emphasizes this point with a small manipulation of the copter's collective pitch control, changing the sound of the rotars just enough that a trained soldier, much like the one he is yelling at, will recognize as an indication that the helicopter will shortly be lifting off, and his ass had better hurry if he intends to climb aboard before it gets more than two feet into the air and its remaining open entrance moves out of reach.

But that's only after Avi and the rest he has in tow get inside themselves. «Get your boats off the docks,» comes over the radio from the chopper pilot, «We are leaving

"Jesus sweet fucking mother of Christ," Avi slurs out as the whistle and whine of the rocket firing out from the helicopter roars over his shoulder with a trail of smoke. Throwing himself up into the back of the old chopper, Avi hauls himself in and past Ethan, turning around to offer out a hand to Mu-Quian. Bai-Chan is passed off first, swung like a sack of potatos and hurled towards the back of the helicopter where the little boy lands in a tumble and them proudly squats down on the metal flooring, brows furrowed and glaring at Avi.

Taking Mu-Quian's hand, Avi starts to haul her up into the helicopter while looking back over his shoulder. "Eileen's still out there!" He hollars over the noise of the helicopter's engine and the downdraft caused by cycling rotors. "She said something stupid and British and I don't know if she's coming!"

The tank's reactive armor absorbs the impact of the explosion, which engulfs the tank in flames at the moment of collision, but when the fire and smoke clears, the M1 Abrams is still standing, smoke billowing from the scorched dent in its hull where Ethan's rocket-propelled grenade hit.

Ropes hit the water, and the current begins drawing the boat away from the pier. Not so far away, the remains of the shell-blasted boat are succumbing to it as well, the flaming wreckage pulled under rather than out, and as the surviving evacuees pile into the water, a hail of bullets peppers across its choppy surface. It doesn't matter whether they swim toward or away from the shore — the platoon of soldiers taking shelter in the shadow of the tank do not discriminate between them.

They have their orders.

Thirty seconds have passed, and there's still no visible sign of Eileen except for intermittent sightings of the falcon in the air, though her voice is hissing in Barbara's ear over the radio. «Simms. I need you to ask Fitzroy if there's anything her ability can do about that tank, and if the answer is yes, tell her to get moving. We'll draw its fire so she can get close.»

We, presumably, meaning Eileen and her father, who has drawn the tank's attention and bought those on the remaining boat some additional time. The accompanying soldiers not firing on the Ferrymen and civilians flailing in the water stream around its side, converging on Ethan's location with their rifles raised.

It's too bad he only had one grenade.

«First boats are launched,» Eileen reports next, and she must be referring to those at the other evacuation sites, who are hopefully faring much better than they are. «We'll cover you as best we can from down here, Glaucus.»

The grenade launcher is tossed to the side.

"I didn't know all you boys were going to be 'ere. And catchin' me without my toys." He murmurs rather conversationally. Reaching into his jacket, his pistol comes out. Holding it down at his side, he tilts his chin up. Glancing over at Raith, he swings his hand. "Was nice knowing you Fuckface." Swinging his attention back to the soldiers, he lets out a single shot at the closest one before turning on heels and spriinting away. Going to take cover behind the storage container, Ethan slides to a halt, holding his weapon to his chest. It's really too bad he only had one grenade. Really.

Turning back from the ropes, Barbara grabs her shotgun, turning around and yelling back towards the rest of the boat. "FITZROY!" is yelled, grip tightening on the shotgun - which only goes to show jsut how much her hands are shaking, regardless of how much she may try to hide it. Closing the gap between the two as quickly as she can move, a hand is placed on Ygraine's shoulder, trying not to jerk her back too much. "Can you do anything about the tank? Anything at all?" The look on Barbara's face is worried, her tone pleading. "If so, we need you to do it. Eileen says your covered, and… I'll help if I can. Just, please, if there's something you can do, like I said, now's the time!" It goes unspoken that they only have so much time to spare.

Ygraine certainly hadn't expected to be grabbed, crouched where she is over the parapet on the outer hull of the ship. But, fortunately, Kaylee is still set to be pulled by gravity towards her, rather than the water, and it's consequently impossible to drop the wounded woman.

"You fucking what?!?", is fired at Barbara, before the already-pale woman goes truly white. A moment's horrified staring, then she moves to lean over the parapet, setting Kaylee down against it with hurried care. Then she's off, leant forward as she sprints around the ship's darker side, running perpendicular to the rest of the world. Her helmet goes on, accompanied by a whimpered, "What'm I doing?", before a combination of parkour and years of crashes are put into play - leaping from the ship, she hits the dock hard, bouncing and rolling in a textbook tuck, before staggering to her feet and resuming her run. One black-clad and wholly unarmed figure heading directly for the tank.

Well, great. Eileen can take care of herself. Ethan is another matter. And then, great, now someone else is getting involved? «Avi, get on the Browning,» is called over the Kamov's internal intercom, «Cover them and delete as many assholes as you can.» The chopper finally lifts off proper, but rather than ascending far skyward, it enters a brief hover just a short distance above the ground before rotating just enough to give the other ex-spy a better angle with the mounted machine gun. The relatively low altitude of the maneuver is not to give Ethan a chance to join the party- unless he's manifested the ability to leap thirty feet into the air since Raith last saw him- but to provide optimal target profiles and stay out of the tank's view. The small arms fire from the soldiers may not do much damage, especially when bullets raining around them. The computer-controlled heavy machine gun on top of the Abrams is another matter entirely. «You have plenty of ammo, so don't be stingy.»

It's been a long time since Epstein held on to the grip of a Browning in the door of a helicopter.As he steps over to the folded up door gun, Avi shouts back to Mu-Quian, "Get down and cover the kid's ears!" Flipping up his sunglasses to the top of his head with a brusah of his thumb, Avi grips the handles of the browning and folds it out into the readied position, checking the belted ammunition to make sure it's in place.

Sarisa and Lancaster may not be here to round out this reunion, but being back in the smell of primer and pyrokinetics does bring back a whiff of the good old days.

When the trigger is depressed, the noise the Browning makes is akin to the sound of a jackhammer and fireworks going off at the same time. Bright muzzle flash burns hot at the end of the vented barrel as Avi brings to bear the high-caliber machine gun on the lightly armored military personnel.

Ducking and cradling Bai-Chan to her chest, Mu-Quian hunkers down in the back of the helicopter, eyes wrenched shut as shell casings rain down like a stream of water from one side of the gun, rattling around on the floor of the helicopter as streaks of every third round firing tracer burns through the air.

One of the men approaching Ethan just stops existing, there's a watery puff of red and tattered cloth in the air as he's knocked off of his feet, but pieces of the man land on the ground. As the auto-fire tracks to the next man out,, pieces of a metal shipping container are torn off and sparks shower away from the gunfire as the second soldier is sawed clear in half.

Avi hesitates training his sights on the others, these are just young men serving their country, they think this is a gaggle of terrorists and hey it is Ethan Holden they're right.

"It— it jammed!" Avi lies as he ceases fire. Likely innocent soldiers or Ethan Holden.

He gave him a fighting chance, that's about as far as that will go.

As Ygraine rabbits toward the tank, her ears are filled with a dull roar — not the sound of blood pounding in her brain, but the wing beats of a hundred glossy starlings that stream out from the narrow gaps between buildings on the street opposite the shipyard, and engulf her in a whorling mass of claws, beaks and feathers. The gunfire that crashes into the swarm creates small explosions of guts and gore, blood and bits of bone spattered warm and wet across Ygraine's face, though none of it is her own. Dead birds drop to the pavement in her wake.

At the pier, the roiling smoke rolling across the wooden blanks being blown in across the water separates into two colours: black and silver. The lighter rises above the darker and drifts the distance between the pier and boat set adrift, rustling through Barbara's hair before it begins to take human shape on the deck. She blinks, and when she opens her eyes again, there's an unconscious man facedown on the floor of the boat, his face buried in the crook of his arm and a young woman with flaming red hair crouched over him that Megan recognizes as—

"Delia? Where the hell did you come from?"

At the same time, the boat's engine finally roars to life, steadily increasing in volume until it reaches fever pitch. For those onboard, their world suddenly lurches sideways, and then they're moving — whatever problems the captain was having, they've been resolved.

Bullets plink against the side of the shipping container Ethan has taken shelter behind, some of them shot from the rifles of the soldiers, some of them from the helicopter's machinegun, though not one of them punctures anything except metal and whatever it is that's inside. Eileen has never been able to communicate with him telepathically before, but there's no mistaking the voice feathery and whispering at the back of his head.

Ethan, it says. I need you to make sure that woman gets back to the boat. Please. I know where it's going, and I know where to find you, but Gabriel needs me. You'd do the same for Delphine.

Curling up into a tight ball, Ethan simply holds his breath for a long moment. Then the bullets stop raining around him, or at least, less frequently. A scowl forms on his lips as he glares up at the sky. One middle finger is raised to the departing helicopter. And then a voice is in his head. Pausing momentarily, he presses his back against the shipping container and stands up fully. Leaning towards the edge, two shots are popped off with his hand high. Get the soldiers fire concentrated for a main body mass shot.

The trick will only buy him a couple of seconds, but it might just be enough. Immediately dropping to his stomach, Ethan appears from behind the shipping container. Two soldiers are dropped, while the Wolf scrambles forward swiftly. The man who stopped existing dropped a rifle. If he can just get to that rifle…

Seizing the weapon, he plants one knee in the ground. Immediately opening fire on the soldiers swiftly. "Go bitch go!" Bitch is probably Ygraine, in this circumstance. Holding his weapon firmly, he remains on task… Killing American heroes.

The boat jerking to life has Barbara fumbling a bit to stay upright, gripping whatever she can, a look of elation on her voice - this, if nothing else, is a minor victory. Now they just need to get moving, so they can get home and be away from this chaos and madness.

Still, they aren't nearly out of the woods yet, not as long as that tank is still baring down on them. Looking back towards the dock, Barbara moves the edge of the boat, one foot pressed up precariously as she shouts out to Ygraine. "We're all good, hurry up and get back!" followed by a quick grab of her radio. "«We're mobile! Help Ygraine get back here as much as you can!»"

The swarm of birds would be startling enough - even if they weren't turning from solid into liquid all around Ygraine, while the air's filled with that dreadful… best not to think about it. Any of it. And definitely not about the thick spatters oozing down her visor.

In spite of those, after all, the bulk of the tank can still be seen ahead… and then she's springing for it, landing with a solid thunk, feet planted right before the view-ports. Crouching on the sloped surface beneath the great barrel, she's reset the direction of gravity for herself so that she's entirely steady… while she presses her hands to the armour of the tank, tries not to think about bullets ripping through her helmet to pulverise her skull, and sets about attempting something new.

It's a bit like rearranging objects in the dark. Feel for something that can be… ah, yes. That can be reset. It can now be pulled towards the hull of the tank. And the thing next to it - oh, it can be tugged towards whatever that is immediately behind it. And that object, well, it can go up, towards the turret of the tank. That should provide some interesting stresses whenever they rotate. Oooh, and let's link all the periscopes to the turret, so that they rotate whenever it turns. Now… the smaller bits around and behind the base of the barrel itself… A can link to C, and B to D, and oooh, let's link C and F to E. Who knows what any of the unseen components are? But mechanical objects are usually built to work in particular - sane - ways, and not to have to work against gravity trying to pull them apart. Tanks are made to take a lot of punishment, to be sure… but a millimeter or two out of alignment could yield some impressive results. At the least, a live round jammed in the loading mechanism of the main gun should provide the crew with a powerful incentive to get the heck out of Dodge.

On which note, Ygraine decides that she's had more than enough of this for the day. In the craziness stakes, playing with a main battle tank even beats throwing herself off a roof to catch Brian. A last connection is made, wholly blindly and at random, before Ygraine hurls herself off the tank and sets off at an unsteady run towards the dock once more. The world seems a bit unsteady, but the boat's in sight. Moving, but still there. And all this particular refugee needs to do is be able to jump and hit the hull. Simple, eh? Just turn into a limpet for the ride out of here. And hope not to pass out and drop into the water. Or get killed by the army, of course.

Part of Raith demands that he scream at Avi to use his rifle, if the machine gun isn't working. The rest of him knows it's not worth it. They've done what they can. «Hold on,» comes over the intercom, and the helicopter tilts away from the action and begins sliding through the air towards the water and, more importantly, away from things that might knock them out of the sky. And, like magic, they're away.

«Ladies and gentlemen, we are getting the hell out of here,» is the last Raith has to add over the intercom, «And despite past predictions, we are not going to be shot down. The Fates can suck it.»

Unshouldering his rifle for the purposes of leaning up behind one of the seats, Avi moves to the door of the helicopter and crouches, one hand holding an internal hand-hold, leaning out with a hand out for whoever winds up making it back so that he can haul them up and inside. Beneath furrowed brows, Avi's dark eyes watch Ethan managing to survive despite his best attempts to cut the odds in favor of otherwise. There's a resentment burning in the back of Avi's throat at the sight of the former Vanguard member, blame perhaps incorrectly placed on Ethan for a lot of things, the least of which being Jensen's involvement in the Vanguard.

It's irrational blame laying, but it helps Avi try and put aside the fact that maybe he was somehow responsible for ruining his brother-in-law's life. "You are not moving fast enough!" Avi finally screams out of the chopper, his voice lost over the roar of the blades, waving one hand inside frantically.

No sign of Eileen. She shouldn't have stayed behind.

Another few shots are popped offf. Backing up rapidly, more bullets ring out from his rifle. Ethan glances at the woman running at a below ideal pace. Turning heel, Ethan's gun is tossed to the side. Hammering towards Ygraine, his arm swings out to grasp her by the arm. Sprinting hard, the Wolf strongly encourages Ygraine's running to increase in speed via one strong arm.

Pushing slash dragging the other Brit down the dock. Ethan also encourages her to increase the pace with loud yelling and cursing. Holding her firmly, she's not going to drop off the dock now. Unless they are both shot by the now unsuppressed soldiers at their backs. That would be a drag.

Drop? No. Leap? Yes.

It's taken her a good few moments to register that she's being helped, but now Ygraine's quite keen to return the favour. Sod trying for any normal route onto the departing boat. That would take too much time.

"Trust me!", she shouts at the stranger, before sending his world screwy. The ground's no longer 'down'. Everything still looks the same, but he's falling off to one side, his feet lacking traction and his whole body helplessly out of control.

Holding onto Ethan, Ygraine uses the extra impetus provided by his weight newly being oriented towards her, and leaps for the hull of the moving of the ship. As she closes on it, she flips her own gravity to focus upon the vessel… meaning that she merely slams into it at speed, then gets sandwiched by Ethan… but doesn't drop off into the sea. Groaning, she resets the man's own gravity to the hull, rather than herself, and attempts to propel him into action as she herself starts to crawl groggily up the side of the ship. Hopefully, he'll figure out what's going on and not freeze in place.

The men in the tank can only watch, their weapons disabled, as the boat powers away from shore, water churning behind it. Corpses floating on its surface bump against the hull, roll over and are dragged beneath it in its wake as the captain points its bow north and throttles forward. Some of its passengers, including Megan and Delia, risk their own lives to fish survivors out of the water even as bullets glance off the boat's hull mere inches from their heads and arms as they drag their fellow Ferrymen aboard.

The soldiers who didn't fall under Ethan's gunfire stalk out to the end of the pier, but within a matter of moments the boat has moved beyond even their range. Only the tank stands a chance at stopping their escape now, and Ygraine has rendered it completely immobile.

From the helicopter's higher vantage point, Raith and Avi are more likely to see the solitary silhouette on the roof of the warehouse adjacent to the shipping yard, its flickering outline lit red and gold by the firelight. One of Eileen Ruskin's sleeves is rolled up to her elbow, and she clutches an empty syringe in her opposite hand. Gloved fingers snag the earpiece in her hair, then her radio goes dead.

Raith sees Eileen on the warehouse, and it's no small matter to force himself not to change course to pick her up. For one, his job is the safety of the Ferrymen under his watch, and right now, that is predominantly the children in the helicopter, Avi Epstein included. And for two, she very deliberately cut off her radio. She has a plan, and as idiotic as Raith thinks it is, he pushes the helicopter onwards. It's a long way to Pollepel, and there's still no guarantee that an innocent glance out a window won't reveal a wing of F-16s equipped for interdiction.

Eileen's on her own, for now, but she can take care of herself. As far as Raith is concerned, New York is her city now. And that means that, sometimes, he has to step back and allow Eileen to run her city as she pleases.

As the battered old helicopter pulls away from Red Hook, the vista that it shows is a fiery one. Six square blocks of Queens to the north burn in incandescant fury, belching choking black smoke up into a clouded sky. Flakes of ash rain down like snowflakes, grimy up the windscreen of the chopper. Cold wind blows through the side door, right up until Avi reaches out to drag it shut with a rattling clank. Then, there's just the sound of the helicopter blades echoing inside of the cabin and the chill left remainign in the air.

Wiping one hand over his brow as he makes his way to an unoccupied seat, Avi settles down and rests his head in his hands, breathing in deeply and then exhaling a sigh against palms that drag down to cover his mouth. At the back of the chopper, Mu-Quian Zhang cradles Bai Chan to her chest, and the little boy offers a spurious look back to Avi, as if challenging him for his seat.

"Fine," Avi concedes, pushing himself up to a standing position and motioning for Mu-Quian and her son to take his place. In the end, Avi ends up wandering over to one of the windows on the side of the helicopter, looking out to the fiery city below, watching it get smaller and smaller as the helicopter rises up into the smoke filled skies.

Whoever got left behind is on their own now.

Avi Epstein sympathizes.

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