abby6_icon.gif benji_icon.gif brian_icon.gif kendall_icon.gif nora_icon.gif samara2_icon.gif shirley_icon.gif

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Scene Title Flock
Synopsis The addition of crows would have made this a murder. The Ferrymen and their wards run into unexpected obstacles when they work together to clear the icier kind for their boats.
Date January 15, 2011

Between the Mainland and Pollepel Island

The hour is getting late and cold, which doesn't mean to say it's impossible for a nondescript bird to alight on one of the branches overhanging the icy Hudson and regard what appears to be a patch of river to anyone with the eyes to comprehend illusion.

Or at least, that's what it was. Quiet permission is granted, and the veil of psychic powers of imagination is withdrawn like curtains to reveal a boat bobbing stagnant in the thick water. A fishing seiner, with a wide working deck and an idled engine, either bought or stolen for use by the network. Blankets passed around, hot drinks in metal containers, and it's nearly time to go home — and if the vessel they're expecting to cross by here doesn't hurry the hell up, everyone onboard is probably about ready to turn around and drift up the thirty minute ride back to Pollepel Island. This isn't dirty work, necessarily, but it's labour intensive.

And very, very cold. Benji is having trouble feeling his fingers, pick raised up, coming down again with an abrupt and icy spray of splintered frozen shards.

Around them, the setting is maybe surprisingly rural when one considers how close they are to one of the biggest (if crippled) cities of the world. The riverbank is black, white and the suggestion of green that more or less comes off grey at their humble lanterns. There is no moon, for all the cloud above. No movement, either, although some might detect something south of them across the soupy, icy water.

If Kendall wasn't providing the stealth cloak for the boat, he'd probably try imagining it warm for everyone. That'd fall under senses, right? Not that it would stop people from getting frostbite and dying, but meh, at least they'd feel warm when it happens. But as it is, it's hard providing the illusion, so right now he's taking a well-earned breather. "Brrr." yep, that about sums it up.

The darkness doesn't keep Nora from wearing the new sunglasses brought to her by Rue. The shades serve to shield her mottled black-blue-and-purple eye from everyone else, and certainly don't hinder her in anyway, even in the dark and dense blackness of the night. She stays close to Benji, though far enough that she won't accidentally hit him with her own ice pick since she can't see what she's doing. Her stubborn persistence at independence and usefulness means that she will wear out her muscles and earn callouses on her hands from chipping away at ice nearly as stubborn as she is. Never mind that she's also doing another duty, listening for radio traffic, either from friend or foe, as she works.

There is satisfaction that comes with the crunch of the ice beneath the metal, even as she grunts with the exertion from time to time.

It'd be another ten minutes give or take before Abby can even though of warming things up again for people. She'd already helped them break up ice the easy way, turning into flame for voluntarily for once here, and making her way fast as she could across the river zig zagging, and making it much easier for them to do the work that Benji and others were now doing by hand with a lot more energy expended.

But even that doesn't last forever and the cold is a good motivator to get dressed fast and she's out there, splint taped back into her nose, dressed warm and bearing blue black raccoon eyes like Nora, hefting a pick axe and chunking away at the ice with each swing.

"Just whistle while you work" Sung under her breath quietly. "Put on that grin and start right in to whistle loud and long. Just hum a merry tune. Just do your best and take a rest and sing yourself a song" Thunk goes her pickaxe again, spreading ice and snow.

Bundled in multiple layers, a hooded Sami's gloved hands have that distinctly ice-nipped tingle as her own pick comes down against the ice blocks forming around them. If she's honest, she doesn't dislike the cold as evidenced only through the brightness alight in her eyes and the slightest curl of her lips. Her cheeks are reddened as if pinched too hard by some adoring aunt or bitten by the bitter cold.

She manages to stay relatively quiet focusing too hard on the task at hand to engage her counterparts in chatter. Although she is humming. Quietly. Along with Abby's own tune.

Benji huffs a small chuckle when the words to Abby's muttered song reaches his ears, before he's straightening his back, pick resting against the edge of the boat. He shakes his head in canine suddenness, spraying icy pieces of white off slightly damp black hair, before turning his back on the edge and headed inwards. There's a thunk as he puts down the pick a little clumsily, a hissed apology, before he takes off his gloves for the purpose of better rubbing palm to palm, his knuckles and fingers gone mottled white and pink.

No one can ever say they didn't work for their keep, at least. Benji kills one of the lights that illuminated a more unused side of the desk, now that Kendall is taking his breather, throwing the boat into deeper shadows, but not impossible ones.

Which doesn't stop Brian from seeing it go out, of course, from the deck of his own vessel south, nor be unable to spy the remaining point of light.

"Hey," he says, voice quiet enough for the word to be shaped more by exhale than vocalisation. It's directed to Kendall. The younger man is offered the handle of a well-used broom, stiff bristles barely usuable past shoving ice around and out underfoot. He tips his head towards the ice-sliver strewn deck. "If you would be so kind, while you rest?"

Kendall blinks at the broom. What's he supposed to…? Oh. Aww, man. You mean he has to work? Whine. Ok, he's not actually whining, but his expression suggests he wants to, but he grabs the broom anyway. They say physical activity makes you warmer, right?

The slim form besides Benji comes to a still, head tilting slightly as she seems to be listening for something that others can't hear. Her brows knit together and Nora shifts the pick from one hand to the other, rubbing one gloved hand against her thigh to try to bring feeling back into the frozen and overworked digits. At least she can't feel the sliced finger tip, thanks to the cold.

"Remember don't say anything about Humanis First."

"It was not your fault but mine, it was your heart on the line, I really fucked it up this time, didn't I my dear?"

"Brian's approaching," she says softly to Benji. "Something about not telling us anything about HF…" is added in a worried tone.

"I think another ten minutes and I can start getting hands warm" Abigail stands upright, letting her pick drop to beside her feet a moment, looking over as Benji offers Kendall a broom and a suggestion. The look from the council member to Kendall indicates that turning it down, wouldn't be suggested. "I think that's a great idea. So we're not slipping on any more ice than necessary. Great suggestion Benji. Thank you for doing it Kendall" You have been volunteered.

Strongly the pick is brought down on the ice again, with a small squeak from the back of her throat. Samara's eyes flit away from her work, to Kendall, and then back to her ice. There's another pause as if considering her words carefully as she turns to face the teen. She shoots Kendall a lopsided grin, "Unless you wanna pick for awhile? I'd be willing to sweep— seems mythical or imaginative like you're swabbing the deck." Beat. "Like a pirate." Even with the pirate-y suggestion she goes back to her work, fully expecting Kendall to take the more pirate-y of the tasks. Now if only there's an eyepatch to be had.

"What?" This, murmured back to Nora, pale eyes framed around a narrowed squint into her black glasses, although Benji schools his expression into mild interest as opposed to worry and mild panic. He glances towards banter about brooms and swabbing decks, a fleeting smile in Kendall's direction as his hands go out to help warm Nora's hands, inspecting the injury to her hand with a pull of his mouth in worry.

It may need stitches, which can only be determined in more than half-light. He'll have to let— a quick glance to the current crew, determing— Abby know about that, with his mission being getting them home as quickly and quietly as possible. "Last time we were out here, Danko— "

And Benji's quiet mutter to Nora is interrupted when a black winged bird suddenly descends from the sky like a bullet. Even Nora can feel the wind off its wings as it skims over the boat, cutting perilously close to the huddled two, before zipping around and almost clipping Kendall's ear with the corner of a feather. A 'hh' of surprised exhale from Benji, twitching a look around, but only seeing, now, the light from Brian's boat.

"We have company," he says — quietly, too, but projected enough to be intended for the whole deck, and without panic. Company is, at least, expected.

"Now listen to your mother or you'll spend your days biting your own neck~"

Pressing his back against the bow. Three Brian's man the little tugboat. And the one passenger stands alongside Captain Brian. Captain Brian happens to be singing quietly now that he and Shirley have finished speaking. Or maybe they will continue to speak… Yet Brian will keep singing.

Making his way back, First Mate Brian smiles lightly. Bringing his coffee mug up to take a light sip. "Not too much longer now. Want to play checkers again?" Before glancing up where the third of his bodies camps out. "Little light up there. Should be them." He reports, making his steady way over to a small table. Setting his mug down.

"You want a little of this coffee from the thermas?" Winters asks quietly, reaching into his little bag pulling out the last thermas. The third Brian stays aware on his post, watching carefully. "Lots of ice." He lets out.

"It was not your fault but mine~"

Shirley is looking like a wreck. And she feels like one too. Even with her ability medicinally shut down, she can't keep her mind off of it. A weak smile towards Brian before glancing to the indicated light in the distance. That light lightens her spirits a little… it's been a long day for the teen, and she feels the strong desire to sit down somewhere and rest. "How much longer, Brian?" She asks, not off of any of the Brians in particular.

Kendall just raises his eyebrows at Samara. "Hahaha, I see what you're doing there." smirk. "Little kids might fall for that, but I know better." orly. Then why did an eyepatch just show up on his face? He coughs and it disappears. "Yeah, this seems like less work than that. Have fun."

"You fuck up so often you have to sing songs about it?" comes a quiet voice through the radio on Brian's boat. "Collision course set. Wanna play chicken? I bet you turn your boat before I turn mine…"

Nora's words aren't spoken allowed for Benji to nudge an elbow into her ribs but she still sobers after that playful — or not so playful — barb. "It's us ahead of you to the north, so don't shoot your cannons or anything at us. You copy?"

She squeezes Benji's hands as he holds and warms her, lifting her face to smile up at him, even if she can't see him. "Talking to 'em," she says for the sake of her fellow boatmen.

"You see what I'm doing? I'm pretty sure that you asked for more responsibility. That broom, is responsibility being given. Enjoy!" Abigail says it so cheerfully, watching the bird swoop and clip Kendall with a raised brow, looking off into their surroundings to catch a glimpse of the boat they've been waiting for and the company on it that's bearing down a new individual for the Island. "Just them, no one else? Not followed or anyone else near us?" Abigail moves her pick, tucking it off to the side and out of the way that Nora won't accidentally kill herself by tripping over it.

A smirk is cast to Kendall as Sami whistles quietly to herself, too pleased with her pirate-y consideration. Again she picks at the ice, cutting into it one more time. After this time, however, she puts the pick down for a moment, a brief respite to warm her hands. She finds the small gap in her glove, a bit of fabric fingertip-free that she bites to tug it from her fingers. Once the first is removed, the second is rolled off easy enough.

Rubbing her hands together quickly, she aims to get the blood flowing more. She blows wafts of steamy breath onto them, causing more stinging through her fingertips and a pinkening of her her skin. "It's like skating on the pond near where I grew up," she observes to no one in particular as she manages a bright flash of teeth. With dimples she shakes her head, "That's probably more of a sign of my imbalance on ice than anything I guess— " cold semi-frost-bitten hands don't exactly evidence skating without falls.

With a final, numbed squeeze, Benji relinquishes Nora's hands, directing one of them to something steady for the young woman to get her bearings upon, and allows negotiations of radio to be handled between herself, Abby and Brian in the distance. Whatever knot of anxiety in his stomach tied fast in the last few seconds hasn't eased up, but there's no real telling of that from the outside. He shuffles towards the bridge, headed fore on this model, hands groping out for the wee ladder that chills through his re-gloved hands. Time to start going.

Out here, when you see something, it's only a matter of time until you're right up close. The tugboat pushes its way through broken ice, seeing the details of the seiner — five figures onboard her in total, maybe even being able to pick out their identities in this light when one of them comes near the lantern.

There's noise, now, though. A rustle of branches in the dark trees as, quiet abruptly, a hundred or more small avian bodies all take wing together. It starts as two more, three, seabirds suddenly circling around the boat. One hands on the edge just next to Samara and as if just realising her proximity, gives a throaty, hissing caw of offense before taking off again, a flap of icy air blowing in her face by the time it's in the air again.

And then it comes as a rush.

It's not a uniformed flock of birds, misdirected in a belated migration to the south. They're a motley collection of pigeons and river birds of white and patchy grey, a couple of night owls better suited to the hour, and they suddenly thicken the air in a swarm of beating wings. A clawing set of talons knock Nora's glasses off her face, bouncing and skittering across the deck. They claw at hair, skin, one even bodily ramming itself between Abby's shoulder blades and sending the woman bumping into Kendall.

Messes of feathers drift free, and the noise of beating wings and screeching caws is something that needs to be shouted over.

There's a solid thump as something falls. Halfway up to the safety of the wheelhouse until the flock manages to dislodge Benji off the already slippery, icy ladder, the darkly clad young man landing awkward and unmoving after his skull meets edge of boat side.

"// Aaa~— Oh hello. I'm sorry, can I speak with someone old enough to have a drivers license?" Brian barbs right back, smiling lightly at the radio. "That was a very clever joke Nora. Your mother would be real proud of you.//" He says non-chalantly. Nodding lightly as he alerted of there location.


Another Brian on the ship smiles lightly at Shirley, bringing up one hand to give her shoulder a light rub. "Another hour.. Which is.. I think how long the adynomine is going to last. So.. I'm going to get you to a room and clear it out as soon as we get there. And we're going to do a test on how far your range is, alright? Then.. You're going to have to stay there for a little bit." His lips twist apologetically. Tilting his head at the sudden noise, the Brian on the front pauses.


The command is said quietly, but obviously meant for Shirley. And if she doesn't listen the first time, one of the Brian's is quickly guiding her into the little hut with Captain Brian. Going to close the door hurriedly. He brought a rifle but.. What is a rifle going to do against the sheer magnitude…

Inside the wheelhouse, the speed of the tugboat is encouraged. But it is.. a tugboat. "Nora. What the fuck am I seeing? Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing? Nora, is everyone okay?" Inside the wheelhouse with Shirley it's.. It's pretty crammed. But safety first!

Kendall didn't notice the first bird, because, well, it's just a bird, right? Except now there's THOUSANDS OF THEM, ok, not really, but still. As Abby is knocked into him, he drops the broom and reflexively catches her. Here's hoping she doesn't reflexively catch him on fire for that, he likes this shirt. "Ahh!" he exclaims, due to reaction from the birds themselves, Abby knocking into him, or Benji falling and hitting his head, one or all of the above, take your pick. "What the hell?! Why are we suddenly in an Alfred Hitchcock movie?" he covers his head and tries to remember how the movie ended. Did they all die? Or what?

"That's okay… I just want to drop down and…" Suddenly interrupted by that noise and Brian's command, Shirley makes her way to the wheelhouse. The clear alarm for Brian alerts her too, and she is suddenly much more awake than she had been. She still looks like a wreck, though. She tries to make herself small so Brian has enough maneuvering room to maneuver the boat.

Nora releases her grip to try to swat away at the feathers and talons that claw at her face and tangle in her hair, crying out before flailing arms off-set her balance. Boots slip on the icy wet deck and she falls down, wincing as her tailbone makes contact with the floor of the boat, then moving swiftly to a crouching, defensive position.

"Benji!" she cries out, not realizing the thud she heard was him, unable to see.

Brian's voice comes through, and Nora's voice comes through, fearful in tone, and also audible to those near her rather than transmitted through thought alone. "I don't fucking know — we're being attacked by birds or something! Can anyone see anything? Benji?"

Eileen's lost it. Abigail's swatting at birds that swarm them, the EMT whumping into Kendall who's spared combustion by the fact that the woman's internal activation button hasn't reset yet. Saved by a minute as he catches her. She's sure that Eileen has lost it, this ist he result of a nervous breakdown and they're going to be coming back to a castle filled with people pecked to death by birds.

Abigail ducking her head, tucking it against the teenager till they're dropping to the bottom of the boat, Looking out from under her arms to where Benji's head has connected with the rail of the boat. "Don't touch him!" Abigail bellows, scuttling away from Kendall, keeping low and making for the fallen man. "Kendall! Get the broom, start hitting them! Nora, down, along the side, hit the deck, make sure he's not dead, warn Brian! Samara, I'm going for the wheel, start hitting the birds with a shovel or anything"

The first bird's closeness gives Samara pause, her hazel eyes narrowing at the winged creature, an oddity in itself. And then it caws at her, causing her to jump, losing her gloves ice pick in the process, leaving her painfully off-guard and completely unarmed when the boat is swarmed by by the birds. Reactively, she huddles forward as the talons claw against her skin, eliciting a yelp. And then, with that rush in adrenaline, her ability kicks in. And she phases out. And then back in. And then out. Her lack of control and fear of disappearing entirely don't warrant long periods of phasing. In front of her face she sees it: her ice pick. She phases in and grasps it only to phase out again, a bird's talons clawing her hair in her corporeality.

It's when she purposely phases out with her proffered weapon that she even takes a moment to take it all in. But the beauty of her ability is no one unphased can hear her when she's incorporeal. Wincing slightly as she hits the deck again she manages, "They're birds!" she confirms loudly having been able to actually see the situation easier without getting maimed. "I think Benji's hurt! I can get to him easiest! Just— make for the wheel— " she instructs.

She phases again, turning incorporeal and walking through foray to where Benji is. She kneels down and peeks about for any possible weapon. Seeing a paddle— a rather side and moderately useless tool should the seiner get stuck, she unphases, grasps it and begins swinging against their new enemies.

Benji is at an undignified crumple against the lightly curved side of the seiner, although his passive slump seems to be unthreatening enough that none of the claw marks on his face were delivered after he hit the ground. Deeply red tracks of blood are kind of just suddenly there the way that bleeding head wounds tend to be, spidering out from a cut above an eyebrow and flooding eyesocket, looking worse than they are except for the fact that he's clearly out cold. But breathing, filmy silver vapour barely noticeable in the scuffle of swarming avian life.

Their attack is not intelligent, but overwhelming. A bird lands at the nape of Abby's neck, beak snapping an inch from her face, raking a bite before launching away in a spiralling flap. Samara's paddle hits it the face, a small and barely heard splash where it tumbles over the side. Nora can feel talons raking across her scalp, pulling strands of hair along with it.

They rush with Hitchcockian intent, then, towards the tugboat, as if passing through the area to harrass the seiner before continuing south. A good chunk of the flock breaks off in mad intent, the sound of their approach growing. It takes three seconds for them to whip through the area of the tugboat deck, the sounds of their cawing and flapping filling Brians' ears.

But Shirley is in the wheelhouse, which is certainly a pretty safe place to be unless the birds are fucking suici—

A ball of grey feathers and fury literally breaks through a window at its breakneck speed, whether by accident or intent. Hopefully the former, because the creature is half-dead, but not before living out its final seconds in horrifying mad flaps that spray both blood and loose feather around the small confines of the room.

"I see that. I'm getting Gabriel! Get down. I'm going to get you out of there!"

Sam's on that boat. "Those are my friends, Shirley. People in the network. I have to try and help them. But I need you to stay in here. Keep your hand on the wheel, okay? Keep it going straight forward. And just do what I say." The door is opened, and Captain Brian is popping out. His hands go up, open hands catching the rifle that another Brian throws to him. Stealth be damned. It may give away their position, but he's not going to lose his fiancee for the sake of subtlety.

Subtlety was never his strong point.


The rifle shot may hit a bird up in the air it may not. But Brian takes the shot more to distract the birds and hopefully scare them. But.. this isn't how random stray birds act. The second Brian has his handgun up and pointed across the bow unleashing the clip. Not at the boat, that would be too risky. But perhaps the pop pop pop will help out the team on the boat. But in those three seconds that Brian is starting to pull the trigger, birds are on their way.

In this time the third Brian is doing what Brian's do best. Disrobing. Ripping his white tee off, gasping at the sudden chill that racks his body, an ice pick is grabbed from the toolbox at the rear of the boat. His shirt rapped around it hastily and a ridiculous amount of gasoline is poured on it from a gascan. Pushing his hand into his pocket his features immediately twist into rage. God damn Samara for forcing him to not be a smoker. "Shirley! There's a lighter in there! And the flaregun! At the bottom! At the bottom! Open the door and th—"

Suddenly entangled by a wave of feathers, Brian himself(ves) are locked in falling on their backs, swinging their different weapons as they are slowly covered in bird excrement. And little tiny bird cuts. :(

Kendall responds to the orders, grabbing the broom and flailing about madly at anything feathery near him. But then they're moving along, and Kendall looks around wildly. "What the hell is this?!" he exclaims. Ahh, what should he do now?! Maybe… make them all invisible? Does his power work on animals? He's never had to find that out…

"FUCK" Yeah, that is Shirley's reaction when the birds start being violent at them. Panic overtakes her as she freezes. She just stands there, covering her head with her arms, and doing nothing to defend herself as fear paralyzes her. Poor girl, she had such a regular life just two days ago….

On her knees, Nora gropes around until she finds the ice pick, holding it up in a defensive gesture; tears stream down her cheeks as she stares up into a sky she can't see, though somehow she has the sense not to make wild gestures with the weapon in her hands, since she can't see those she'd call allies on this vessel.

"How is he?" she shouts, to Samara or Abby or both, obviously worried over her fallen friend. Her voice is raw, and on their side of the water, it carries through the radio to Shirley and Brian, Nora too distraught to remember to turn her transmission off.

The gunshot too has her crouching and ducking her head again. Brian might be shooting at birds, but what goes up must come down — that includes bullets, as well as dead fowl.

That is going to leave a mark, hurts like a dickings and the bird forces Abby to wrap an arm around one of the rungs and hold tight, swat at the bird that's on her till it departs. Till they all depart and head towards the other boat when she dares to peek out. Samara's opting to head for Benji. "If he's alive do not move him. Do you hear me? Not a single inch" Abigail's warning to Samara before she's hauling herself up the rest of the way to the wheelhouse, look out towards Brian's boat before ducking into the hub of the boat, palm making for the key to turn the boat off, kill the engine. She has the same idea as Brian, looking for flares as well, if not at least any kind of gun.

There would be a smile of satisfaction or a chipper cheer if Sam had time or could even concentrate on the little success she has at keeping the birds at bay. She swings again, a forceful bat against the creatures flying so close. She phases out again only to drop her paddle. "Shit," she murmurs, hitting the deck again to grasp it. "Benji's out! But he's breathing!" she yells over the sound of the assault once her paddle is clasped again, pressing herself back to a standing position. Only to find herself dropping to the deck again at the sound of the shot. It's all reactive.

"Nora! I'm going to make my way to you!!" she shouts louder. "Then we'll come back here and I'll— " hit them like a mad woman. If she can.

She phases out, without the paddle, and slides to where Nora is. Again, she ducks down to spy anything she can. Aha! Another paddle. She phases back and reaches for Nora's hand. "Nora, grasp my ankle— if we can move to Benji— " then they'll both be protected. Theoretically.

Thump goes the bird within the cabin with Shirley, and a smaller echo of this as the avian corpse lands on the ground near her feet, not a twitch left in blood stained wings, one gone crooked and ugly. The hurricane of birds outside flows passed the windows around her, feathers whipping against the glass and occasionally dangerously close to flooding through the broken window and the jagged glass that frames it.

There's another soft whud as a bird hits the window just next to Abby within the wheelhouse, although doesn't break through the glass, mainly fans feathers up against the surface, gone with a flap and a greasy smear. Cleaning up is gonna be a bitch.

Another bird is hit out of the air with a swipe of Kendall's broom, and the flock is beginning to thin — but not quickly enough to spare them just yet of clawing injury and kamekazi stunts, as demonstrated as something blurrily white and feathered slams neatly into the back of the illusionists head, sending Kendall spilling to the deck. The sight of him crawling to huddle by the side of the boat, collecting broom along the way, can be seen in the shadows and falling feathers around them.

"Shirley" Brian calls out as his head slaps against the door of the wheelhouse, the right side ofhis face opened up from tiny talons. She's frozen up. Winters crashes through the door, one arm practically flinging Shirley out of the way to grab the lighter. In the process a swooping bird nearly takes the torch to be out of his hands. Dropping to his rear. The lighter wiggles in his hands as he struggles to bring up the flame. Then whoosh.

The ice-torch is held up to defend from the aerial strike. At the same time his free hand scrambles to grab the flaregun. Pushing himself up, holding the flame near them Brian's fflaregun hand goes to shake at Shirley's shoulder.

"Shirley. Shirley! We're going to be okay! I need you to hold the wheel so we don't crash into the boat." His arm going to try and nudge her hands towards the wheel. "Drive the boat!" An extra flare is grabbed in his hand and flung at the bow of the tugboat.

Reaching up through the flurry of talons, a different hand closes on the flare. Immediately stripping off the tube to hold up the flaming flare in his hand. Holding up the reddish flame, Brian peers through the tinted sky to spot the other boat approaching rapidly.

Slowly coming back to her senses, as there seem to be no more birds entering the cabin for now… Shirley grabs the wheel, and attempts to hold the wheel so they can keep going forward. She has no clue how to steer a boat, but she was just told to hold the wheel, and she's pretty sure she can do that.

He's out. But he's breathing. The words get a nod from Nora. The sob that racks the teenager's small form is a mixture of fear, frustration, and relief. There's a sniffle and a swipe of her hand across her scratched and tear-stained face before she clenches her teeth, jaw tensing and chin rising as if to defy the birds, to scare them away with the sheer strength of her will.

She nods again, letting Samara guide her hand until Nora's cold fingers wrap around Samara's ankle, preparing to follow her to where Benji lies.

"Can anyone see anything — look for someone, someone has to be doing this! Try the binoculars. If there's someone out there watching, they're the ones doing this… If we can take them out…" she manages to gasp, the same sentiment coming through the radio in the other boat's wheelhouse.

Abby cringes at the thump, and through her, heat suffuses in reaction to her fear at the moment. At least now it's not burned out, but if she's not careful, they'll all be burned out. Tamping it down, shoving the urge deep down as she can, the EMT straightens back up, their own boat now dead in the water where they had been idling before. She's doing what Nora's yelling, trying to see around them, look for someone, anyone not on the other approaching craft, a light or something perhaps seeming off. Fat chance she's sure, since it's night and there's no moon.

The fingers around her ankle have Sam slowly guiding, and really defending Nora as the pair pick their way back, rather slowly, to where the unconscious Benji lays. She bats the birds away, shuffling forward. "I— " the phaser likely has the best hope of being able to see anything. "Nora, I'm going to phase out and get the binoculars and see if I can see anything!" she's still shouting thanks to the urgency, even in the dissipating raucous. "I will be— right back! I swear! Just hold tight!" She bends down and lowers the paddle, giving way to the birds again with a wince. She becomes incorporeal again.

She quickly makes her way to the panel and takes a gasp of air, complete with another flinch as she retrieves the binoculars— with another bird pecking at her hair with a distinct yelp from the spectre— as per Nora's instructions. She clings to them and phases out again, taking the binoculars with her this time. She slides to the end of the boat and peeks out through the binoculars to see as best she can.

It's night, and there's no moon. There are flares and flashlights, but even these, along with the single lantern onboard the seiner, show nothing beyond the edges of the boat — black water, blacker rivershore, black trees. Either the birds are spontaneously going insane, or whoever is directing them is not within sight, not even under the scope of Samara's binoculars.

Birds screech and veer away from signs of fire, and within the same amount of time, the flock's thinning becomes suddenly abrupt. The cause and effect there is ambiguous, and only maybe has something to do with the arrival of yet another party onto the scene. Black ink suddenly erupts from over the side of the seiner, and only some people would know what that portends. Chiefly Abigail. Brian. But also Samara, as she once was that inky black cloud.

Gabriel's boots hit the deck with solidity and slip only a little under ice, and with a psychic push of his own avian telepathy, the birds still remaining all lift off into the sky, scattering and leaving behind sudden silence, feathers sticking to the wet surface of the deck and—

Bird poop.

It's suddenly quiet out here.

There's a low groan from Benji around then. He says something, which could well be, "Gzgf, asdfg th mgdz?" for all that his speech is heavily slurred and confused. Or Welsh. But probably not.

Gabriel's mouth pulls in a scowl at the fact that he rushed all the way out here only for the commotion to be finishing, and he turns to squint towards Brian's swiftly approaching vessel. Arms go out in universal sign of: what the fuck?

The flare gun clunks loudly as Brian flings it towards the boat. The boat is now nearly on top of the other boat. Captain Brian leaning in through the dispersing birds to help Shirley steer the boat slightly. Going to kill the engine, the Brian's at the front are scrambling to their feet. The icepick torch is just flung towards the icy water.

As the boat nears the two Brian's throw ropes at the other boat to connect the two. Almost directly affter that, the two Winters twins are boarding the first boat. "Someone had to be doing that right? You should.." He swings his arms out at the surrounding banks. "Shouldn't you know, do your thing? See if there's anyone out there?" Winters is asking of Gabriel. Sounding rather exasperated. He however is making a beeline for Nora, dropping to his knees next to the teenager. Placing a hand on her shoulder he leans in close, "You're okay. It's over. You're okay."

The second Brian is running for Samara however, to throw his arms around her. His eyes locking onto Benji as he does. "Abby.. You alright?" He calls out, jerking his chin in Benji's direction. "He alright? He's speaking in tongues.. You got him?"

The third Brian is left with the task of tying up the boats together.

"What was that?!" Shirley calls out as the birds disperse, heading out of the cabin and looking towards the boat where two of the Brians went. She gives a wave to the people on the other side, "These are friends, right, Brian?" She asks the third Brian, the one tying the boats together. She's still scared, and there's tiny bits of glass in her hair from the glass being broken by suicidal bird, but the birds seem to be gone, and so does the adrenalin go down, and tiredness starts to kick in again. As is shown by a stifled yawn.

"Benji," Nora whispers, patting around on the deck until she touches his form, nodding her understanding to Samara, and sniffling again before Benji speaks and she nods to him, like she understood what he said. Possibly she speaks Welsh.

"Yeah, I'm okay, the birds are … I think gone… are you okay? What year is it? How many fingers am I holding up?"

She holds up three, then looks up to Brian, tears glittering in her dark, unseeing eyes as she presses her lips together to nod to him. She then suddenly throws arms around him, sobbing once more. Apparently — for now — he's forgiven.

"Who else is here — who are you talking to?" she asks, letting go quickly, and reaching to find Benji's hand, squeezing it, cheeks flushing at being so weak, letting Brian see her cry. Again.

"Get one of you up here, to steer the boat" Gabriel's appearance is a little startling, but so was the mass attack by birds. "Get the engine turned back on, get us home. You're here now, means we can head back." Kendall, where is Kendall? She'll find out soon enough, starting the climb back down, careful of her grip. "Gabriel, where's Eileen? Is she okay? The island?"

Bootsteps are carrying her towards Benji as well, skirting around Brians and Nora, bending knee's to crouch beside the fallen DoEA agent. "Samara, check on Kendall would you? Benji, your arse stays down and you need to tell me where it hurts" please don't let him have broken his back.

As the birds clear away, Sami finds herself taking a deep breath and nearly falling over as the adrenaline leaves her body, dropping the binoculars in the process. When Brian's arms are thrown around her she collapses into him, her eyes welling with tears of exhaustion, anxiety, and perhaps, of fear as her weight falls against him. Her ability has been overstretched and they just got attacked by birds. She shivers slightly against him. And she sniffs sharply.

Her eyes squeeze shut tightly and she just breathes.

It takes a bit, but she answers Brian's question about Benji. "I think he fell," she chokes on her words against Brian's chest, the words muffled, as she sniffs loudly, fighting against tears that threaten to fall. Her face has paled and she fights against heavy eyelids. "Kendll," she murmurs against his chest again her grip loosening with that same fatigue. But she doesn't move. Even with the order barked. Her weight is just dead weight against him.

That scowl is turned to Brian at demands made, which has the opposite effect of what Brian was going for — Gabriel stands still and unconcerned, turning a look towards Abby. "She isn't on Pollepel," he answers. "But I know where she is. I'll scout the area and if you see me again, I'll have news worth sharing, but there isn't anything within a 200 foot radius of you." He starts across the deck, stepping over fallen ice picks and brooms. "If you don't, I'm looking for her." And with that, deeming the scene of the crime itself more or less irrelevant, Gabriel puts a boot up against the side, and steps over it, disappearing into a cloud of dense, inky smoke without any splash effect to follow.

"I'm okay! I'm okay," Kendall is announcing, just in case. "Do you— need me to make the boats disappear again? Are we safe?" If they aren't safe, he can always throw them into invisible illusion again, even if it's tiring, and even if he still isn't sure if it'd work on the birds—

Birds that are scattered, disappeared into trees and sky.

Benji, meanwhile, is moving. Which portends an unbroken back and neck, so that's good. He pushes himself onto his back with his elbows, clumsy and numb moving, still bleeding. A distinct lack of focus in his usually sharp stare. "Mmm. My head. Two-thousand and eleven fingers. I might throw up," is fair warning, at least, before he slides his eyes shut again.

An agitated glance is thrown over at Abby. But it doesn't last long when he's glancing back down at Nora. His grasp around her tightening slightly, one hand running up and down her back soothingly. "He's going to be fine. It's Gabriel. I brought Gabriel here." Though he grins down at Nora some letting out somewhat of a relieved yet nervous laugh. "That's not always a good gauge. Can you tell me how many fingers I'm holding up?" Hugging her to his chest, he lets his head hang limp.

"We were attacked. We're not going home til we know we're not being followed or watched. I reccommend you stop using names. Just in case." Brian lets out. Abby's other orders go ignored as Brian carries on. Hugging Samara against him he smiles lightly. Bringing his lips down to plant a kiss against her cheek softly. "You rest baby. I'll get him."

Back on the boat Brian is standing, turning to Shirley. "These are friends." He affirms, stretching his hand out to take her own hand. Going to cross to the other boat and give her help he jerks with his chin towards Samara. "That's my girlfriend, Sameye. Help her, okay Shirley?"

When Gabriel reports, Brian shakes his head. "I just had her on the phone.. She's in the city. She knows nothing about this." He lets out and then Gabriel is poof'd. "We're not going home. You guys." Winters lets out, sounding a little exasparated. Glancing back over to Shirley. "Sorry Shirley.. We can't go there tonight. We're going to have to go back.. stop somewhere.. Try again tomorrow." He looks a little drained. It's going to be a long night.

At the last bit of news… Shirley sighs, "So… what are we going to do then…?" She asks, looking at the ground. She's disappointed for sure. "Do you have more of that medicine that can keep me in check?" A glance back to the sky, and she speaks to it, "Father, why?" A pause, "Why do you have to do this to me?" She looks back to Brian and co. "So… hey guys.." She greets them, "I'm Shirley…"

There's a snort at Benji's answer, followed by another sniffle that brings more red to Nora's cheeks. "Two thousand and eleven is the perfect answer," she whispers fondly, a tear slipping down the ski slope of her nose to drop onto Benji from above. Her hands squeeze his again.

Brian's little taunt of her eyesight even gets a huff of a laugh. "I can probably guess which finger without seeing it, if you are holding one up. Because you have the maturity of a fruit fly."

Shivering a little, now that the adrenaline reminds her it's cold out, and that they might have to stay for a while, she frowns. "How long should we wait?" she asks in a small voice. Her face turns in Shirley's direction and she waves, though she seems to look through the new arrival.

This wasn't Eileen then and there's no one within a fair distance of them. At least not anymore. "We're going back Brian. Kendall, do your trick, long as you can, I'd appreciate that" They can't be followed if they can't be seen. "Birds didn't attack till we became visible. Before then, we were cloaked. Benji's got at the minimum a severe concussion, possibly worse and we've been out here for hours and we are all cold and I can't keep everyone heated and there is no shelter anywhere within miles and we're injured"

A blanket is grabbed, folded as such that the bird poop is hidden inside, and clean on the outside tucked under Benji's head after she has him on his side. He can puke without choking to death. "Kendall's got us covered. As one of the only council members on the boat, that's my order. You can have a copy steer us and follow and we take a bit of tour before our destination just in case, or if you don't want to follow my order I'll steer this boat, and get us back and you and shirley" Abigail offers a nod to shirley. "Can head back to where you want to end up."

She digs around another blanket, laying it on top of Benji. "Choose Brian, either way, at least this boat is going back home."

There's a slight nod at the permission to rest as Sami lets herself just settle against him, letting her eyes just remain closed, content to sleep standing up if need be. She murmurs something else nearly indiscernible against him, most of the words are lost in the process, but the words, "…so… tired…" can actually be made out amid the rest. The kiss planted on her cheek has her raising her head, peering up to find his gaze. Lazily, she looks over her shoulder and issues Shirley a smile. "Hi Shirley," she manages quietly with that weak smile.

Puking and not choking to death would be awesome, but not as awesome as not puking. Thankfully, Benji is doing neither as of currently, shifting as guided to lie on his side and bleed into blanket, shivering if not an unexpected amount. It's only climbing colder as the night becomes blacker. His gloved hands absently twitch a squeeze around Nora's before remaining slack in her grasp.

Kendall perches against the side of the boat, broomstick grasped in his hands absently and jolting a confirming shrug of agreement that yes, they attacked when the illusion dropped, and yes, he can cloak them once more. Maybe if and when that guy with the eyebrows comes back.

He isn't, thus far, the icy water smoothly dark as black satin, and motionless.

"I have a councilmember on the phone, Abby." Brian growls back at her. "And she says not to go back to the island. If Gabriel doesn't come back. In.. I'd say ten minutes. Then we're clear to go. Until we receive news.." His lips twist. "Until we don't receive news. We're not clear to go back."

Grinning, Brian's grip around Nora lessens considerably though he still hangs onto her. "My pinky finger. And.. I've known a few very sophisticated and distinguished Fruit Flies. Knew one that wore cardigans. If that's not mature.."

The Brian going to check on Kendall gives up and returns back to Samara, going to settle next to her and slide his arm around her easily.

The third Brian returns to Shirley, giving her shoulder a little pat. "We might get to go.. We just have to wait for Gabriel. See if he comes back. If he doesn't we can." He reiterates for her. "You did good Shirley." He smiles lightly, giving her shoulder a light squeeze before going back to work on untying the two boats.

"And if he doesn't…?" Shirley has to ask, "Then what are we going to do?" She slumps down on the deck of the boat, "I'm tired, hungry, thirsty, and I need some time alone." She complains, and at least the tired part is obviously true. Shirley looks even more of a wreck than before the birds attacked. She probably can't last like this much longer.

"Your mama wears cardigans," Nora manages, a small smile offered to Brian. It's a fleeting one.

Her brows knit as Benji's hands fall slack in hers. "Benji… stay awake… I think you're supposed to stay awake…" she whispers, another tear sliding down her cheek as she ignores the dispute between coming and going, the complaints from the other frightened teenager on board.

"Abby," she whispers, turning toward the woman's voice. "Help him, okay?" It's as much as a plea as Nora has ever whispered. "Please."

Abigail shakes her head. "Eileen is not here. I am Here. Council member on the scene, trumps the one on the phone who's. If Eileen has that issue, she can come talk to me when she gets back home Brian, I'm giving Gabriel five minutes to haul his arse back here, and if he isn't, then we're going. If he comes back, I'll listen to what he says, and I'll decide from there. This river won't stay unfrozen for too long and I'm not going to sit out here and watch everyone get sick of hypothermia. We have a medical emergency that need urgent care."

Which is why she's heading back up the ladder, heading for the wheel house so that she can grab a first aid kit. People have cuts, gashes, scratches, and there's supplies to help stop bleeding. "Now help us here, or get back to your boat and get some blankets around SHirley before she freezes. We have injured. Nora, can you get word home, let them know that we've run into a snag and we'll keep them updated as to what's going on. Benji's not gonna pass on, not without my sayso"

Abigail shakes her head. "Eileen is not here. I am Here. Council member on the scene, trumps the one on the phone who's. If Eileen has that issue, she can come talk to me when she gets back home Brian, I'm giving Gabriel five minutes to haul his arse back here, and if he isn't, then we're going. If he comes back, I'll listen to what he says, and I'll decide from there. This river won't stay unfrozen for too long and I'm not going to sit out here and watch everyone get sick of hypothermia. We have a medical emergency that need urgent care."

Which is why she's heading back up the ladder, heading for the wheel house so that she can grab a first aid kit. People have cuts, gashes, scratches, and there's supplies to help stop bleeding. "Now help us here, or get back to your boat and get some blankets around SHirley before she freezes. We have injured. Nora, can you get word home, let them know that we've run into a snag and we'll keep them updated as to what's going on. Benji's not gonna pass on, not without my sayso"

Sami eases once there's an arm around her, an easiness that extends to her smile. Her eyes close again semi contented until Abigail pulls rank. There's a twist of her lips as her eyes flit up towards Brian and then back to Abby. "But what about everyone else? If we are being tailed— if someone is watching us, they found us already, right? I mean… like I understand people are hurt and stuff, buuuuuuut— there are a lot more people to worry about. Coll-coll-collectivity," she manages to wrap her tongue around the word. "Needs of the many versus needs of few? And animals have have a sixth sense. One time— when I was incorpre-incorpor— " she can't manage the word now, with the fatigue setting in and so she opts for, "— dead some monkeys found me. Like… even if there is an illusion shouldn't we be cautious…?" She shrugs.

One minute passes, mostly eaten up with further back and forth. Five minutes pass. Actually it verges on into six minutes by the time Benji distracts the world by finally giving into instinct and spilling the contents of his stomach across the icy deck. Relatively minor a distraction and also not his finest moment, but at least he didn't go to sleep. Either way, an allotted time uneasily agreed upon between one council memeber and another's mouthpiece finishes, and there's no warning, no encouragement for them to go back to the mainland or homewards.

Sets the tone for an uneasy ride as they drift back to Pollepel Island, and quietly, without fanfare, the illusion of an empty river engulfs the two boats, like nothing ever happened.

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