From the Sky


aviators_icon.gif benji_icon.gif danko_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif hannah_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif shannon_icon.gif

Scene Title From the Sky
Synopsis While on a supply run, the Ferry engages a helicopter and its occupants.
Date November 20, 2010

The Hudson River, South of Pollepel Island

The Ferrymen's alliance with Wes Smedley is a boon that could not have come at a better time, but those exiled to Pollepel Island cannot rely on one man alone for all their needs, and of the other tenuous relationships the network has with Staten's smuggling community, there are very few individuals who Eileen trusts to make deliveries to the repurposed castle itself. It is for this reason that the Englishwoman stands at the bow of the rusty old trawler salvaged from the boat graveyard two winters ago by the residents of the Garden and repaired and repainted in the barn behind the cottage over a period of months.

A waxing gibbous moon reflects off choppy water, pale enough to compete with the snow flaking off clouds thin enough to dilute the starlight without blotting it out entirely. Wind ripples through clothes and hair, a dull roar in the ears of those aboard the boat, but not as loud as the engine. It's risky taking a vessel of this size out on the Hudson but it's the only one in the network's possession large enough to carry the supplies it picked up at the rendesvoux point twenty miles downriver and fast enough to outmaneuver any government patrols it might encounter along the way.

It helps that they have Shannon McPherson on deck, and while she might have been instructed not to use her ability to cloak them unless it becomes absolutely necessary, those in her company can rest a little easier knowing that the plan is to run rather than fight.

The instruction to wait on using her ability seems to have bummed Shannon out, just a bit, but she nodded and obeyed. There'll be time, and other things for her to use it on. No need to rush. And so no she's leaning against the railing, one elbow draped over it, while the fingers of her other hand tap out a rhythm against her thigh, more like she's wanting something to do with her hands and less like she's got some song stuck in her head. It could be both though.

Volunteering for patrolling— boating— whatever had seemed like a great idea.

Now that cold is coming up off the river and also down from the sky all at the same time, Benji is regretting this a little. But only a little, and certainly not nearly enough to complain. He is, anyway, bundled into woolen jacket with the collar popped stiffly to block some of the wind from his neck and chin, which is sans scarf. Out here, one might have wonder what a refugee like him has to prove, exactly, but a commitment towards pulling weight isn't all that mysterious.

Tugging sweater down past hips where the hem reaches a midpoint at his thigh, a sigh escapes, flagging white steam into the chilly, damp air. His foot steps shuffle as he moves from one end of the boat to the other, coming to a stop as Benji scans the black and green forest beyond boat and water. He isn't armed, isn't sharing boat chores unless pointed to them, so he can at least keep watch.

Knit beanie pulled low on his head to cover his ear and shoulders hunched in his coat against that sharp chill, Benjamin Ryans stand on the bow, just a little apart form the tiny woman. He's a silent sentinel, watching the inky black water slide past, looking glassy under the soft light of the moon. His duster flares out behind him as they skim along the river, eyes narrowed against the cold air that threatens to dry his eyes and make them water. His jeans feel a bit damp at the legs, but his thick, dark gray knit sweater is doing a good job of keeping that part of him warm

Nails scratch against the stiff scruff of dark hair along his jaw, the rifle Ben is using is cradled against the crook of his elbow, cradled there. His hand returns to grip it, ready to swing the weapon up to his shoulder if need be.

Huruma has left for only minor excursions off of the island; perhaps she feels a bit of left commitment as well. Not so much for them protecting her, but simply for the acceptance of her being around. Her own sleek black rifle sits slung underarm from her shoulder, dark brown, fur-lined coat and a dark cadet cap working at keeping her warm. Huruma despises winter. Last season may have desensitized her at least a little to it. She's along the side of the boat in her silent meandering, nearby Benji as she surveys the river in the dark with the others.

Nothing's hit the radar yet- Huruma wouldn't be surprised if it was the same silence as it has been.

Captain of this particular rusted bucket isn't some river-rat fisherman, but rather a rat of an entirely less aquatic stripe. Avi Epstein hasn't much been around Bannerman since the Ferry's exodus from the mainland, and this is largely why. Getting an old, rickety fishing boat back into operational condition — let alone finding one for sale — is always a tricky prospect and a time investiture. It's something like his baby, all peeling paind and rust streaks from old rivets in the hull. That the sides are cursted in barnacles says something about the vessel's character.

That the engine is knocking says something about his mechanic friend's shoddy work.

"Fuck me Friday," Avi grouses as he slides off his sunglasses and folds them closed, tucking the eyewear inside the breast pocket of his camouflage jacket. "This god damn piece'a horse shit…" Ducking out of view from the rest of the crew, Avi hustles down the metal steps with a clang, clang, clang of his descent, heading to the back of the boat past Huruma with clomping footfalls, murmuring to himself like a crazyperson the entire time.

When he reaches the back of the boat, Avi drops into a crouch and pulls open a hatch in the floor by a metal ring, letting a gout of black, foul-smelling smoke issue forth before the door is slapped shut. "Motherfucker," he hisses with a wave of his hand in front of his face. "We got a fucking oil leak, I gotta pull this bitch over to the shore and see if a gasket blew or if Sal just was a sloppy job on filling the engine up."

Pushing himself up from his crouch, Avi waves ahead to Ryans, then points towards the shore as he jogs back across the desk with plodding thumps of his boots, clanging his way back up the stairs to try and guide the vessel away from open water before it bursts into flames.

"Do you need any help?" one of the vessel's passengers wants to know. Hannah stands by the abandoned hatch, arms folded across her chest with gloved hands gripping her elbows. When she turns her head to follow Avi across the deck with her dark eyes, there's a shimmer of something gold around her neck beneath the open collar of her coat, and she drops a hand to touch fingertips to the center of her chest above her breasts. "We know a little bit about engines."

By we, she presumably means Benjamin — the younger, not the elder — and herself, but does not elaborate, perhaps for fear of making too much noise. It's a sentiment that Eileen at the bow shares. The shorter woman curls her fingers around the trawler's railing, tension in her arm and the sharp angles of her knuckles, clearly visible through the soft lambskin of her gloves.

While they might not have expected difficulties of this variety, they are at least prepared for it with a toolbox in the cabin and replacement parts below deck with the supply crates. "Benjamin," she says, her voice quiet.

Avi's annoyance has Shannon glancing back with lifted brows, but since she doesn't know anything about engines or boats, she remains silent. Her job is a different one in any case, and with several people focusing on the boating difficulties, she returns to watching for signs of other boats. Rust-free ones. Without the colorful characters on board that this one has.

Complications. Great. Benji twists at the waist to glance behind him — not so much at this announcement, but Eileen saying that name, tension making his shoulders twitch before he relaxes again. Colour rising from his collar, threatening to flush to his face.

"Um," he intones, quietly. Helpfully. Attention away from the shore they're pulling towards, he drifts an uncertain step inwards of the deck. "We're not going to be stranded out here, are we?" Worry laces his voice, even as Hannah volunteers them to help, taking his hands out from his pockets and taking a few more uncertain steps, recognising the need to dock before he can make himself useful.

Chudchudchudchudchud doesn't have a real ominous ring to it at a distance. Mechanical rotation prowling through the air soft as cat paws, no chop to push a lone helicopter's path off course. Of greater concern than the sound itself is the fact that there's no sight to go with it — no white-orange glow buzzing blinkety blink for the city to airlift a dying patient or to scoop the latest traffic jam.

Also, it's getting closer.


In too few seconds the dopplar rush of chchchCHCHCHUDCHUDCHUDCHWUDCWHUD is enough to rail adrenaline through Avi's crew in a shotgun spread of panic. Trees at the shoreline bristle and sway as if unsettled by the passage of a forty-foot crocodile, scattering leaves and dead limb debris into brackish water a heartbeat before the machine responsible goes lights-on and rakes a spotlight bleach-white across the boat's barnacle-encrusted bow as it blows past, close enough to rattle teeth in skulls and churn water white at the surface on its way back around for a second pass.

It's Avi's complaints that at first draw Ryans attention towards the back of the boat, the old man leaning enough to look down the length, which allows him to see the other man signal. Index finger and thumb of black leather clad hands, curl into an 'Ok' sign, before turning his attention to the front of the boat.

Head turning, towards Eileen, Benjamin takes a step closer, "I thought he said this rust bucket was in working order?" Words rumble in his chest, breath misting bright white in the air in front of him. "I think he needs a new mech — ." It's a simple and truthful statement, cut off by the sound of the approaching helicopter, his whole body goign still.

He straightens some, the length of the rifle is dropped to be held against his side, hoping maybe conceal it some from quick glances, with the loose folds of his duster. "Just our luck," Ben growls out unhappily.

"I'm no'swimming anywhere, One-eyed Willie." Huruma mutters as Aviators wanders back up to steer the boat, after he has apparently rediscovered that the boat is a piece of shit. She doesn't care if he hears her- all the better, actually. She's here to provide deterrent if they do bump into anyone, that's about all; she's no boat mechanic either. Benji apparently is, though, and her voice filters through the air to him.

"Do what you can, when w'stop. You're acting like a kicked pigeon." You are embarrassing. But he also has such lovely lips. Beautiful eyes. Huruma is torn on whether to be totally polite or not. Looks like circumstance decides for her, when the little reverie of broken boat and wondering what to do is cut apart by whirring blades and the approach of a mechanical bird. The first pass doesn't make everyone blow over- so far- but it does send Huruma's hat off like a leaf on the breeze. She's left to take in the situation and mimic it; not so much drop her rifle as tuck it into her shadow and back up against the cabin of the boat.

Ducking down behind the wheel of the boat, Avi shields his eyes with one hand as he stares up towards the noise of that too close helicopter. "Goddamnit," he bellows from behind the wheel, trying to guide the boat to shore. "What— fuck." A helicopter flying that low isn't a regulation altitude in inhabitated areas, especially on open water without reason. Avi's inability to discern marking on the helicopter's exterior — either due to the darkness or the lack of any designations — isn't helping his paranoia.

One hand reaching behind his back, Avi slowly withdraws his Baretta 9mm from the back of his jeans, snapping the safety into the off position as he keeps the firearm out of line of sight to the helicopter, mostly shielded from view himself in the cabin of the boat. Shouting anything intelligible over the downdraft from the rotors is going to be an exercise in straining his lungs, too.

Unfortunately, there's little Avi can do except steer the boat to the shore and hope everyone else on the boat acts professionally.

Yeah he's pretty sure he's screwed.

The helicopter's rotors make a typhoon of Eileen's hair and she lifts her chin as if to look up as it swoops around for another pass, though her eyes are unaffected by the searchlight's glare and do not automatically pinch themselves shut for protection. They've gone almost two weeks without having a confrontation; if that is what she thinks it is, it has nothing to do with their bad luck and everything to do with what's inevitable.

Hannah darts a quick glance in Benji's direction, then back toward the cabin at Epstein. She made the mistake of leaving her shotgun below deck. That this can go one of two ways has occurred to her, and so has the fact that there are plenty of legitimate reasons for being out on the water in the dead of night.

Very few of them do not arouse suspicion, but in the extremely unlikely event that the helicopter's pilot might be torn between attack and passing them over, she too remains rooted to the spot, mouth moving around words too soft to hear and addressed to no one aboard the trawler.

You only need to take a helicopter down once with Eileen's ability to know that clogging up the blades with dead birds gives you no control over the direction in which it ultimately falls, which is probably why she's skipped Plan A and advanced directly to Plan B, should it become necessary. "Rope," she tells Ryans. "What we use to moor. Quickly."

Hearing the helicopter Shannon sighs then looks up. She doesn't seem at all concerned about the helicopter, but then, she has plenty of reason not to be. "Anyone need to be someone they're not? If so, speak up now or you're on your own. Don't worry about the guns. Keep 'em handy, they won't seen," she assures the others.

Benji isn't sure what a kicked pigeon is supposed to act like, but there's really no chance of enquiring. Blast of wind from the copter sweeping by gets his attention— it would be difficult not to— and sends him scurrying like a cockroach fleeing the light of day. For someone only recently swept up in all this, instantaneous reaction isn't totally unproductive — maybe that's how he survived to even be here. Follows Huruma, more or less, diving after her and near bouncing off cabin wall when he presses against it.

There, he is intending to be unseen. Intending to be out of the way, too. Maybe follow the dangerous people who know how to look after themselves which— granted— are most people on this boat. So handy. Clear blue eyes seek out Hannah, direct to Eileen.

CHWUDCHWUDCHWUDCHWUD, says the helicopter, matte black hull swung around with about as much care for safety as its presence has for regulation.

One've 'em runs, silvery grey eyes ratcheting after Benji's cockroach scramble at a reflexive twitch that may just tickle familiarity liquid cold at the base of Huruma's spine. Good enough.

"Non-lethal only," sounds like an order from the cockpit's seat, Emile Danko's voice scratched coarse through radio static as he draws the receiver off the ridge of his skull and the chopper veers closer still, skids hovering near in line with the boat's side for all that they're a ways up. Too high to jump, too far to fall when the side door rolls open, spilling out two silky drapes of black rope and a funny looking shotgun that noses its way out and locks stiff to an unseen shoulder to plant a bean-bag round square in the region of Shannon's boobies, if she doesn't see fit to turn and run.

"At least until they start shooting back."

A clip, snag and sizzle later, two figures in black fatigues are repelling their way down too-quick for the deck, all combat boots and kevlar. One of them is bald.

"Right." Ryans states over the sound of the helicopter, his voice loud enough without the effort to be heard. The weapon is still held to his side for the moment as he moves to do as Eileen asked. As he moves he points Huruma towards Eileen, feeling the woman needs some sort of protection.

Ryans moves to obey, even as the figures descend towards the deck of the boat.

Shannon's words work immensely for Huruma, who keeps one hand on her rifle. Not used to having an illusionist around, quite possibly. She doesn't seem to want to be someone else, either, shifting herself so that she becomes much of the wall between Benji and everything else. Her reaction to the helicopter coming back- tossing something hard at Shannon- and repelling a pair is seemingly taken in stride, though she tenses like a spring; even when Ben motions her toward Eileen, and she listens, sidling out into the given light to at least make sure Eileen doesn't actually need her. All like a high-strung cat on the edge of a fence.

The dark woman's visual displeasure as she slips into sight, is directed at the bald one, though as soon as the other one comes within closer range, the second thing she does is attempt to spook his partner with a bolt of fear.

If he falls into the river, do those count as bonus points? "I don'suppose you'ave got a better reason than because you can?" Huruma is already being very curt with him, and despite her tension, still hoping she doesn't get a face full of bean-bag.

Despite not having spend his time playing Apocalypse Now on the rivers of madagascar with the rest of Bravo-2 during Operation Apollo, this isn't Avi Epstein's first hostile boarding of a water vessel. The last time it happened was across the Atlantic of the northern coast of Africa just past Morocco. He was also on the boarding party, so this is perhaps karmic turnabout.

Keeping his head down and guiding the boat towards the shore, Avi is doing his best to mix the chaos of the fight up with the desperate need to get the people who are shooting first and asking questions second away from the people who don't have enough firepower. Looking down at his Baretta, Avi can't help but suddenly feel that he's also in that situation.

The sound of gunfire can't inform Epstein whether the men in the low-flying helicopter are using rubber bullets, bean-bag rounds, or plastic frangibles, all it says is that diplomacy is off the table. Ducking out of the wheel house, Avi blindly fires up towards the open door, small arms fire plinking off of the hull of the chopper. It isn't the intention to shoot anyone inside, but make them think twice about ducking their head out.

"Ben!" Avi shouts down towards Benji, "The hatch!" Avi points two fingers down to where the engine was smoking earlier, waving his hand to try and imply that the wiry youth should bring some choking fumes into play.

Also probably the hunting shotgun he has tucked away down there too.

For any operative, stashing weapons is second nature after a while. Spies hide guns like squirrels hide acorns. You never know when you'll need some firepower, or where you'll be when you need it.

Eileen's thumb hooks around the grip of her pistol in its holster beneath her coat. Pale wings slice through the helicopter's searchlight, the silhouette of an owl briefly visible in the time it takes her to retrieve her weapon and point it in the general direction of the black shapes spidering down from above, but the problem with general directions is that they're—

General. The chopper's blades make it impossible for her owl to get too close, limiting her view of the deck to vague impressions caught between rotations, too blurry for her to aim with confidence. She levels the pistol with the shadow she thinks is Danko— without realizing that it is Danko at all in spite of the familiarity with which Huruma addresses him— but does not fire.

The likelihood of hitting her target is as high as hitting one of her own. Her aim wavers, uncertain, though there's no hesitation in her voice roaring to be heard over the deafening thrum of the helicopter. She hopes Ryans has found the rope. "Hook the skids!"

Hannah's boots thunder across the deck. There's no time to go below deck and fetch her shotgun, but time enough to help Ryans with the rope, untangling it from where it's looped so he has enough slack to throw.

A life like Shannon's prepares you several types of things. Being shot in the chest with a beanbag wasn't one of those things. It very nearly sends her tumbling over the edge of the boat, as close to the rail as she was, but the pain of the bean bag has her grip tightening which keeps her on the boat. For now. While her other hand goes right to the offended girly part as she winces and curses in pain.

She's not one of those with guns, a fact that she'll no doubt be remedying in the very near future, so she does what she's best at. She hides. Or more specifically, she's running and leaping for the nearest area that isn't illuminated so she can disappear. No point in letting the people in the helicopter know that there are evolved on the boat, right?

This time, when someone says his name, they mean Benji.


He tenses where he sort of huddles, more or less content with his new human shield separating him from the men coming down the ropes, but Benji does twist to look where Avi is pointing. Makes a face and delays too long, probably, but in the end, the 'youth'— he is twenty-six, guys— pushes himself to move on swift feet for the hatch, a darting figure in black and grey that at least doesn't seem concerned with shooting anyone, his hands empty.

The unmistakeable arch of Danko's skull cast white over the blacked out sinkholes of his eye sockets cants cockily aside in the face of (decidedly curt) familiarity once his boots have planted fast against creaky wood. He's happier to see her than she is him, brows hiked tell-tale partway into a silty rendition of she asks if he has a reason he asks if he needs one when rounds plink and whistle ricochet away from the helicopter's lowslung belly and his partner panics and pulls the trigger.

…Of his makeshift cannon.

A chilly pompf of compressed air all unbuffered and unbalanced in the company of a truly terrible kind of fear is enough to send Wingman cartwheeling backwards over the railing into the water. Which is probably for the best, really, considering that his is the direction Danko looks murderously in first when the canister of gas he just launched rings hollow off the side of Huruma's head, vomiting noxious yellow gas in a rapidly-dissipating sidewinder spiral in its sail overboard. After the missing soldier.

Sidearm ripped from his side, he hunkers into a quick, crouchy sidestep after the amazon his bro just beaned in the head, .45 veered first for Ryans and then for Eileen. "Weapons on the ground!"

Taking a knee at the rope, Ryans is moving quickly to snatch up the thick lengths of it. Blue eyes narrow against the harsh white of the searchlight, when he looks up, head turning this way and that as he tries to get a good view of the skids.

Leather slides against the rough nylon cording as Benjamin loops it in his hand a few times into a loose coil, the end of it hangs at the ready swinging lazily. He doesn't listen to Danko, his rifle slung over his shoulder anyhow, but he knows he only has one shot at this now. The rope is whipped over his head a couple of times, before he casts it out, like a fisherman looking to hook a catch — a really big fish.

Ryans' having to rely on a blind woman to watch his back… He must be crazy.

Ducking back inside of the wheelhouse, trying to count the moments between the shots he fired and the frantic foomp of a gas canister being fired, when Avi pops out again he's expecting to see negation gas filling the deck of the ship, not a canister cartwheeling thorugh the air after having been deflected by Huruma's head. Watching the giant of a woman crumple to the deck, Avi whips back inside of the wheelhouse again and springs up from his crouch, grabbing the wheel and turning gradually to the right.

The boat begins to pivot, the forward momentum still carrying it downriver, but the turn of the rudder at the angle it's at causing the rear of the boat to pitch from beneath the helicopter folowing it. Unwilling to stop on the shore, Avi keeps the course steady while trying to navigate the banks of the nighttime river with the hopes that no deadfall trees just below the surface of the water are going to hook up the proceedings.

Also, of course, hoping that no one shoots him in the face either. That also would be nice.

Eileen's teeth flash in a snarl, more emotion in the curl of her upper lip than she's put on public display in months, and it's not the barked order than inspires the response but the voice behind it. Her finger contracts around the trigger once, twice, three times, and her first two shots ping harmlessly off the railing behind Danko. The last goes so wide that it shatters a tree branch and sends broken pieces of pulverized wood and dead leaves raining down onto the deck of the boat.

Its momentum isn't enough to knock her off her feet or send her lurching into the water by any stretch of the imagination. She's clutching to the rail regardless as talons find purchase much better than bullets did their mark, though Eileen isn't sure what piece of Danko her owl has latched onto, all groping feet and wings that slap. It's got something tangled in its claws, either fabric or skin.

All she knows is that it isn't his hair.

Luckily for Ryans, he has more than a blind — out of control — woman to watch his back. He's got Hannah, and as soon as the rope is sailing through the air, she's turning back to check on Benji—

Only to discover that he isn't where she left him. Fright steals the colour from her face and her strangled shout sounds only vaguely like his name. When her eyes finally catch up with him, she's already surging into motion.

Where Benji had been previously standing, Huruma comes down like a red wood. Emphasis on previously. Affords her a startled glance back but ultimately doesn't stop, slipping a little on the deck as he goes.

Heading aft and coming to crouch, Benji is, too, attempting to ignore the crazy people with guns as he obeys vague, oblique instruction by hooking two pale fingers around the metal loop in the deck and yanking it open. Black smoke instantly pours upward from the gaping maw in the deck, the young man turning his head against the fumes, almost instantly dizzied by the pungent, thick smoke. Wind pushes them forward along the deck, vaguely starboard, but not entirely wasted. A second glance has him hesitating.

And then it has him plunging a hand into the open hatch, he awkwardly takes out hunting shotgun one handedly, two handedly. For a second, he looks like he has no idea what to do with it. Then, he twists around. "Hannah?"

Lady is already on her way, even if she's getting a face full of noxious smoke as a result. He mostly just offers up the shotgun. Please take this. From me.

Left hand bitten into an awkward clutch at the near side of Huruma's bare neck, long fingers pressed in a familiar pair to those with more medical inclinations in the boat full of people he's unsuccessfully attempting to arrest and/or end, Emile spits a curse so venomous it can't possibly be in English when fresh rounds set to barking off the railing at his back. There's hatred on his face and in his bones when he slicks back the hammer, more than ready to return fire at a virtual point blank when he bows back up to his feet, only.

There's a bird on him. In him, in fact, feathers in his skullish face, hooked talons ripping flesh from the join of neck and shoulder before the rest of them snag in kevlar. He tears it away like a swollen leech, left hand across himself to snap it down to the deck so that he can put three rounds in it, his own blood slung 'round after displaced fluff in a black arc.

The timing couldn't be more appropriate. The helicopter's caught fast, machinegun fire rattling takatakataka across the boat's hull as blades turn over at an increasingly precarious angle, smashing out windows and splashing glass free across Ferry and Ferry Charges alike until Danko's the one to croak a furious, "Cease fire," into the band at his wrist. The one he isn't using to keep his gun pointed at Benjamin before it wavers unhinged to Eileen instead. Bigger holes in smaller people tend to have more impact, which is probably why his eyes tick to Hannah and Benji. They're the ones with 20/20 and the guns, now.

When he speaks again, he's quieter and more deliberate despite the decidedly free-flowing nature of the gash in his neck. "Cut the chopper loose and we leave you to disappear. …Or I'll start shooting."

He's already wasted a canister and a metric shitton of amunition. Suddenly he's not feeling all that confident about his reputation's ability to soak the loss of an entire helicopter as well.

When the rope doesn't splash into the icy river, Ryans knows he's had some sort of success, even get immediate results, which has him crouching down and arms coming up to protect himself from flying glass. Of course, as he comes up again only to find that gun aimed at Eileen.

Hands stay away from the rifle hanging at his side, though features don't show the worry, for all the world, Benjamin is calm.

He toes at the repelling rope, before kicking it vaguely in Danko's direction. "I want you on that thing when it leaves." Ben counters, gruffly. "And any attempt to shoot her or any of us — " a hand gestures in Eileen's direction " — it will result in you getting shot, as I am sure you are aware and I imagine we'd all like to get home."

Even as he waits, he is slowly crouching, a hand moving to where the thick rope is wrapped around a cleat. No sudden movements.

Eileen and Ryans are about to have their first disagreement.

She keeps her pistol aimed in the direction that Danko's voice is coming from. The mangled body of owl, half a wing sheared from its svelte frame, bleeds out onto the deck with glassy eyes staring off into nothing. Wind catches displaced feathers and tugs them over the side, into the water, where they float away on its churning surface. "You know who that is," sounds like a blatant accusation and is. Almost a year to the day since she and Teodoro lost Danko in Midtown, and that particular wound is still fresh, though he may have reopened it when he downed Gabriel in Antarctica and then punched a knife through her hand several months later.

Hannah raises the shotgun and points it somewhere in the vicinity of Danko's head, but her brow is knit and her mouth twisted into an expression that's a mixture of reluctance or disgust. She won't shoot. Anyone with the experience can see the conflict in her eyes and project its outcome.

"You'll never get another chance like this!" While it hasn't lost any of its ferocity, Eileen's voice is quieter now and has taken on an almost pleading edge. "Stop hesitating! Shoot him!"

Benji has scraped to his feet by now— having hit the deck, quite literally, under fire from the hovering aircraft— and is standing downwind of the smoke that continues its belch from the hatch, although beginning to dwindle and thin, now. A hand has come to grip Hannah's arm — in protest or support, that's difficult to tell, seeing as his focus is searing straight down the boat with more fixed attention on Ryans and Eileen than for Danko standing in the middle of everything.

His voice wavers down the space, now, beneath the roar of engines, but detectable, faintly, in the same way distant music can be. "We're with Mr. Ryans." His hand grips harder on Hannah's arm, backing up a step, shattered glass cracking under heel. "Please just leave."

The kicked rope is received with a look that's all about weighing probabilities. But in the end, Eileen's outvoted. Left hand lifted to work rope back slowly into the subtle buckles of the harness worked into the rest of his gear, he's just as careful to keep his gun up and on target. Overhead, the helicopter holds steady, keeping too-cautious pace with every twitch or list of the boat its anchored to below. One false move.

With Ryans having apparently taken charge, he bears the brunt of a slanty smirk once everything seems to be in its proper place, intact mooring rope aside. This is far from a victory, but so long as he gets away alive, the promise of future suffering at his hands is there to persist. "Cut it," sounds irritatingly like an order once he's hiked his weight into the harness, position and steady aim kept by the plant of his boots for all that he could let the setup take his weight. "And consider taking away that one's," Eileen's, "firearm privileges until she learns to be a little less emotional."

Eileen's pleading words are ignored, Ryans has his reasons for not just swinging up the rifle and ending Danko. The main one being that by time his hand would have touched the rifle, Eileen would be dead, leaving a nice red pool on the deck of the ship.

Not something he wants to explain to his partner in crime, Raith.

The other one he doesn't want to spell out in front of the enemy. So, once Danko is secure in his harness, Ryans grabs the rope and gives it a sharp tug, pulling the knot apart, not bothering to watch as the rope whips around and falls away, freeing the helicopter,as well as allowing the bad guy to escape.

As Danko is lifted off the deck and spirited away, Ryans is straightening from his crouch and turning to face Eileen.

As the helicopter lifts away, roaring away into the dark, the piece of rope is thrown about by the wind like a trailing ribbon. Emile Danko is apparently a man of his word. Water sloshes up against the sides of the trawler, audible again for the first time since the helicopter's arrival, and those still standing on its deck are left with the sound of its lapping, the rumble of the engine and — if they're listening carefully enough — the rasp of Huruma's breathing.

Eileen lowers her pistol. The safety she keeps off, and this is more telling than the fury written across her colourless features and trembling limbs. "The rook is worth more than the bishop," she says, fighting a battle she cannot win: to keep her voice steady. "That was a mistake."

Hannah's weapon is now pointed at the deck as well, her focus on Benji again as she gives him a quick once over. There's blood on the deck and blood on the rail, but she's confident that none of it belongs to him. Eileen skirts across her peripheral vision, using that very rail to follow the side of the boat all the way to the cabin where Epstein is still behind the wheel.

She likes to think at least one someone on this boat would have taken the shot.

Benji's hand is off Hannah's arm as soon as it doesn't need to be there, drawing a step sideways and ignoring her scrutinous once over. His mouth twists as if to communicate that he's fine, and then delicately, he uses the toe of his boot to slam shut the engine hatch and seal off the dwindling smoke. She's fine too, which is why he's moving away from her, headed for where Huruma lies massively sprawled on the deck and unconscious, a glance spared to Eileen.

Another one to Ryans, briefly wide eyed, near shy, before he's coming to crouch beside the unconscious empath. Tentatively touches her arm, then sheds his coat to bundled up and place beneath her head. And then demurely clasps his own hands together, awaiting whatever's supposed to come next. Fixing the leak, going home.

There is no rebuttal, Benjamin doubts she'll listen — his girls never did when they got in that sort of mood. So he stays silent, eyes follow her progress until she disappears into the cabin. Only then does he gruffly order. "One of you find Shannon and get us undercover before they decide to come back for us and lets get this scrape heap back to the island."

Eileen might see herself as a bishop, but the old man sees something different. In the way the people look at her, respect her. Even in the way she holds herself and the sacrifices that she made.

If she'd only see things like he does, she'd know that — in his mind — Benjamin Ryans was protecting the queen of the Ferry's pieces.

Hannah wipes at her eyes with the heel of her hand, some tears forming in their corners where the smoke has irritated them to the point of crying, even if she doesn't feel particularly upset. Relief defines her posture, and she comes to stand behind Benji when he eases himself down to tend to Huruma.

She doesn't ask him if she's going to be all right. Assumes, maybe, that he'd tell her and Ryans if she wasn't.

Around the same time, Shannon is shimmering back into view. "I'm right here," she says, looking to Ryans and not the woman taking shelter from the drifting snow in the wheelhouse. "And I'm already way ahead of you."

She makes it sound like a conscious choice, but when it comes to being cautious, they no longer have that luxury.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License