Interesting Night


abby_icon.gif bebe2_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif eloni_icon.gif

ghost2_icon.gif logan_icon.gif megan_icon.gif mu-qian_icon.gif pearl_icon.gif

Also Featuring:


Scene Title Interesting Night
Synopsis The Dagger goes up in flames, and things escalate when Logan looks for someone to blame. Luckily, there were some heroes nearby to make things better worse interesting.
Date July 1, 2009

The Rookery

After the bomb, Staten Island grew to become a haven for undesirables. If the Island is their home, then the Rookery is their playplace. Equal parts gritty and decadent, it boasts dark alleys, bright lights, and every pleasure that one could imagine. Provided you know where to ask, of course.

Some areas have fared better than the rest of the island; some have fared far worse. For each well-tended brothel or gaming house, there's at least one creaky, crumbling structure left over from the days of pre-bomb suburban glory.

The population is considered universally distasteful, even by much of the rest of Staten Island. Criminals, refugees, victims of radiation poisoning… Those who have nowhere else to go often end up here. The most common method of getting out is to have your body dropped in the river, followed closely by being left wherever it is you got killed.

Good luck.

It's an interesting night to be in the Rookery. Even down this way, there's something amiss. An unease towards the fringes of the neighbourhood, people rushing in directions either to or away, to gawk, to get help, to detach. Look up, and there will be a sight made familiar for the citizens of Staten Island.

Smoke. The Dagger has always been a bright point on this particular street. Tonight, it burns even brighter.

Glass windows so often used to give teasing glimpses of what's promised inside has been cracked and broken through. Curtains of chiffon billow out like the full sails of a yacht, and through them, the raging fire within glows pinks, oranges, reds through the material. A piece of shimmering silk draping catches alight, detaches, and goes drifting out, smoldering, towards the street where it lands to smoke peacefully on damp concrete.

There are still people scurrying from the front door. Men in suits, both security and patrons alike, women in garish clothing (or what could pass for it) and precarious heels, make their darting way out of front door, but only a handful, because after a while, the glow of fire can be seen roaring from the end of the corridor, a trapping presence of flames and heat. And as for the street? What else can you do but stare? Many people are doing just that, watching what they can see of flickering snake-tongue flames and the smoke beginning to force its choking way out of windows, glowing hellish orange from its source before becoming hazily grey as it goes up, up, up.

If there are people still inside, it's difficult to see, but not hard to hear. There are cries of panic that manage to catch those thinking to listen, and one might wonder exactly who is trapped within aging brick, burning wood, broken glass— apparently, not Logan. The lanky figure of the pimp can be seen moving around the side of the Dagger and onto the street at a stumbling run, something in his hand— apparently, managing to get a hold of his shotgun on the way out, the barrel sawed.

"Fuck!"— is not the most eloquent exclamation in the world, hissed from a smoke-raw throat and breaking halfway through, but it's all Logan can summon as he turns to simply look with overt horror at what's happening— before he, and several others closer to the building, flinch back as a neon sign promptly shatters, spitting shards of dusty glass out onto the street.

As previously stated, it's an interesting night to be in the Rookery.

Pearl steps out of The Fleshwork with a bottle of water in one hand, and a lit cigarillo in the other. The Island may be on fire, but that shouldn't keep a girl from enjoying a smoke. The white earbuds of an iPod are in her ears, the little metallic case of the digital music player is stowed in the back pocket of her jeans. The volume keeps her from noticing the yelling, screams, or sounds of panic. After a moment, she glances across the street, eyes roaming along the buildings there, and a puff of smoke escapes her lips. "That sucks. I like my whores untoasted." She mutters under her breath. "At least they won't be cold in just their pasties tonight."

The staccato beat of a pair of military-style boots moving rapidly over the broken and dirty sidewalks of the Rookery draws ever-nearer to the location of the fire, setting the pace of Richard's pursuit of someone who's currently unseen… mostly because they're a hell of a lot faster than he is. He's just a little out of breath when he comes into sight of the roaring inferno of the Happy Dagger, his steps slowing…

…which happens to be bringing him up the road towards the Fleshworks. He picks up his pace again, a short jog over towards the woman standing outside it. Entirely not waiting to be noticed, he reaches out with a hand to pluck one of the earbuds out of Pearl's ear, waving with the other - hey, he's got both hands back! Well, they're in gloves, maybe one is artificial - towards the inferno, "Pearl! Shit, did you see this tiny chick, blue t-shirt, go running in there?"

The staccato beat of a pair of military-style boots moving rapidly over the broken and dirty sidewalks of the Rookery draws ever-nearer to the location of the fire, setting the pace of Richard's pursuit of someone who's currently unseen… mostly because they're a hell of a lot faster than he is. He's just a little out of breath when he comes into sight of the roaring inferno of the Happy Dagger, his steps slowing…

…which happens to be bringing him up the road towards the Fleshworks. He picks up his pace again, a short jog over towards the woman standing outside it. Entirely not waiting to be noticed, he reaches out with a hand to pluck one of the earbuds out of Pearl's ear, waving with the other - hey, he's got both hands back! Well, they're in gloves, maybe one is artificial - towards the inferno, "Pearl! Shit, did you see this tiny chick, blue t-shirt, go running in there?"

Drawn reluctantly out of a bar whose name is a mystery owing to the ongoing absence of the ramshackle sign that was nailed up over the door when it was founded, it doesn't take Deckard long to zero in on the source of the smokey stench that's been winding its way in every time the door was opened. Grizzled hair shorn short, stubble collection shaved close, he's halfway presentable in a light grey suit and darker tie. Too warm for a coat — even moreso now that part of the Rookery on fire, all orange and purple in a haze over the rooftops leaning between here and there. Right hand held out to keep the door propped open for someone at his heels, he takes a few seconds to do the math and the compass thing with directions and…oh.

Yeah. That's where The Dagger is.

Mouth thinned flat and brow hooded into a level, he can't quite keep annoyance off his face when he leans more of his weight into the open door. That's where he gets laid. :(

She'd be safe with him, That's how it is. Right? Golden hair hidden under a baseball cap and tank top instead of a more covering shirt, she had felt some modicum of anonymity and safety going with him to some place other than the Garden or the Lighthouse. I mean, come on, blonde girl with tattoo's, that's certainly not the healer that used to be locked up.

Safety it seems, counts for shit and while Deckard has annoyance on his face, a highly medicated Abigail has a smirk on hers beneath the bill of the green cap. Thank God that place is burning. The rest of her ducks out of the building to circle and come to the other side of him, but nearly attached to him like a starfish to a rock. "Good riddance"

Unbeknownst to most of the gloating gawkers and preoccupied passersby currently banded together in a loose perimeter around the brothel bonfire, that girl in the blue t-shirt who Richard Cardinal just so happens to be looking for is already inside. By the grace of someone else's borrowed gift, Bebe had arrived on the scene several serendipitous seconds before much of anything akin to a crowd had the opportunity to gather.

But, not to worry. Bebe soon emerges from the tiny towering inferno with an armful of something spicy and Hispanic and just this side of not entirely conscious. Maya hangs limply in the smaller woman's arms, coal black hair hung down over her face like a mourner's veil, and it's all Bebe can do to get the other woman onto the sidewalk somewhere in the vicinity of someone she might recognize before the tiny (ex)tart promptly zooms right back into the building. It's a cheap imitation of Felix Ivanov's superspeed but it's all she's got to work with…

Word filtered down pretty quickly to Chicago Air — people are, after all, keeping an eye on Staten. Most of the people in Chicago Air might echo Abigail's sentiments — good riddance. John Logan's pretty well known… but Megan Young has been feeding and treating the people on the streets on this island, and that includes some of the young women who work the Rookery. So when word is that it's a fire, she grabs her bag, makes sure it's packed with whatever she can use for burns, bullies one of the men on the flightline to put two oxygen tanks into the food van, and she heads for the trouble. On her own is probably the stupidest move ever, but well…. at least she can help a little. Maybe. The van pulls up not too far down, and the redhead gets out. Shaking her head, she notes that it's probably a complete loss already.

Stepping back and back, shying away from the heat now pouring intense from the building, Logan has a hand up to shield his eyes. More people are trickling out of the brothel, and certainly not enough of them. Eloni emerges, at one point, a hulk of a man squeezed into a sharp suit, an arm around the woman who actually runs the place when Logan isn't. Viv's copper hair is falling out of its neat pin up, the woman hacking and coughing, pushing away from the security guard and towards Logan with raw words of, "I'm fine— just-"

She reaches out a hand to grip the Englishman's arm, who is mostly lost looking at his business going up in flames, attempting to jostle him out of his reverie. "John, I saw it— someone broke the window, threw something— we got attacked."

"Well of course we did," Logan snarls, jerking his arm out her grip, sudden movement and glaring, bristling. The shotgun points barrel-wards towards the ground. "Did you see who?"

The woman helplessly shakes her head, drawing herself back from him and rubbing at her face, smoke- and tear-stained, before moving to where Eloni is crouching down beside Maya, the woman only half-conscious from where she been laid her down on the concrete. "Bebe— she went back in," the Hispanic woman is slurrily explaining, and a stream of Spanish follows, her eyes squinched shut, as if in some sort of inner-struggle. Logan shoots an incredulous look down at her, in the midst of his caged lion pacing.

There are others, too. Security guards, patrons and whores alike in various states of distress are beginning to dot the wider road. Smoke inhalation, burns, and someone bleed crimson from their head. Someone has taken to blocking unnecessary traffic, although waved in the Chicago Air van without much prompting. Voices shout out variously. "Fuck, it's spreading, can't we call the fire— " "Yeah and where the hell are they gonna come from?" "Let it burn, there are other brothels aren't there?" "There's going to get destroyed too if it doesn't fucking stop."

Inside? Inside it's an inferno nightmare that greets Bebe, yet again. The smoke is getting thicker, a hazy blanket a few feet up from the ground. Glass is bursting, cracking, and fire eats whatever it can gets itself attached onto. Behind the woman with superspeed, a sudden roar devours the front entrance, blocking the way out, and the red spiral staircase, quite miraculously, is a still a hazy, lit up red helix of steps in the smokey distance. Luckily, there are other ways out— but there's only so much time.

The footsteps approaching the dark haired tattooist, on the stoop of the Fleshwork, go unnoticed, as does the proximity of one Richard Cardinal. It's hard to say if Pearl's knee jerk reaction would be any different if she did know it was Card, however. POW. As the uncomfortable little ipod earbud is popped from her right ear, and the Was (Not Was)'s Walk The Dinosaur ceases to be stereo in her ears, Pearl turns to address the thief with a sucker punch to the face. Wait. Ow. What. "… what, and may I add, the fuck." Shit, that hurt.

Pearl's cigarette almost falls from her mouth with the words, and she shakes her left hand out, knuckles bruised from hardness of someone's skull. The cigarette dangles, but doesn't fall, stuck to her dark glossed lower lip. Pearl grimaces slightly, then shakes her hand out once more before she snaps at Cardinal, "Did I see a what with a what go running in where?" She jerks her water bottle almost over her shoulder, indicating the whore filled inferno across the way. "Your girlfriend take all your money to go shove it down a g-string, GTA?" Boom boom acka lacka boom boom.
"I don't suppose you have a fire hose in your pants," Pearl intones, dryly. She cracks her water bottle, pops the cig from her mouth, and takes a sip. Humanitarian, this one.

A fist cracks right into the side of the felon's jaw, and Cardinal goes staggering back a step from the well-aimed punch, one hand lifting up to the side of his face as he growls around the splay of fingers, "What the fuck, woman! Jesus fuckin'… I think you chipped a tooth… " He slides two fingers into his mouth, feeling around at his teeth for any damage before looking back to her with a slowly swelling lip, one brow arching dubiously, "Yeah, 'cuz, when it's on fire, that's the best time… to… "

He trails off, as he catches sight of one of the people moving around the building. Of course, he's got a bunch of guards with him. His eyes narrow, and he slides a hand into his jacket, thumb sliding to click over the safety. The look on his face suggests, to the woman nearby and anyone else who might get a good look, that he's planning something incredible stupid.

"Y'know," remarks a dislocated voice over Logan's shoulder, bright with the sort of Crest commercial fanged humor that generally accompanies a guy when he says 'Y'know' knowing that you don't, "I can always tell when it's you. The front of your briefs pinch like nothing else I've ever had the displeasure of gleaning with my mutant superpower.

"That's not healthy." Nor is all this smoke inhalation. The ghost is standing on the pavement behind the Englishman, his broad shoulders hunkered low under the sturdy canvas of his coat, pale eyes in a squint through the intervening sting and swirl of acrid smoke. Something keens in the upper floor— either old plumbing buckling from overheat, or someone on their way to an exceptionally painful death.

Grates on his nerves, but he's out here, still.

Nagging the pimp, regarding Eloni and Viv from over Logan's still-tidily coiffed shoulder. Dryly, he inquires, "Can we fucking leave now?"

"Says you," muttered in a coarse aside, Deckard lets the door sweep closed after Abby before he starts off thataway, into the barest edge of black smoke just now rolling its way in deep enough to make the nearest neon signs murky. The fact that there's already a crowd outside has not escaped his attention. Nor has the fact that there are still people staggering out into the open — some of which are variously slick with blood or asphyxiated or otherwise burned.

He isn't really dressed for any kind of daring rescue attempt, and his pace isn't tempered towards a concerned hustle so much as it is motored on by a basic human desire to watch a building burn down while people cry and mutter and writhe around on the red glow of the asphalt outside. Not actually all that different from the usual electric pink cast thrown off by Logan's sense of decoration.

"Bring any marshmallows?" The way she's been clinging to him already, he doesn't have to look back to know that Abby is tagging along whether she likes it or not. The pair of them cut familiar figures even in the waver of heat and ashy smog, one tall, scruffy and lean as a rail, the other shorter, blonde. On drugs.

Not that kind of drugs, but whereas she'd be running off, high tailing it fast as her legs could take her, she's managing to stay near enough to not get separated. The lack of a healing ability also keeps her from running forward to lay her hands on people though the itch is still there. Abby's not about to ask Deckard to do that either. "I wouldn't eat marshmallows cooked off of that place. Really, i'm very happy to see it burn. I'm sorry though, for you. I guess it had been a place you liked despite.. Logan" She's sure he was a patron there. Which makes her squint up at him and drag a hankey from out of her bag.

Her actions are frozen in mid motion as Abby spots Logan with his weapon watching his brothel burn. "He escaped. Can't say i'm happy about that" It's wrong of her to think that, she knows it is, but at the same time, she's of the mind that in the middle of a burning building is where that man belongs, burning along with it. There's a soft curse under the blonde's voice as she lifts her hands instead to try and pull down the ballcap a bit and hope he doesn't see her. "Flint…"

In the belly of the smoke-belching beast, Bebe struggles to both breathe and see as she struggles through what may just as well be a sea of Scotch whiskey; just as smoky, just as salty, just as intoxicating. She's burning through fuel — that would be oxygen — faster than she should be but the desire to scramble up those stairs and save one last soul from burning in Hell before his time to too righteous to resist.

Every pop and squeal, every shattering window, every crumbling wall earns its own preternaturally preempted reflexive reaction and Bebe instantly regrets having run back into a burning building while clad solely in a short-sleeved t-shirt and a pair of dirty denim jeans. Sure, she made it through the gauntlet of glass that was once the bar but now that she's in the cramped corridor which houses the door that leads to Logan's office, she suddenly feels overwhelmed.

It's too hot. She can't breathe. She can't see. What is she doing??! Anyone who ever gave Bebe credit for common sense is welcome to take back their spare change at this time.

Confronted by the closed door of Logan's upstairs office, Bebe at least knows enough not to try and put her hand on the door knob. Instead, she leans in and heaves her shoulder against the slightly warping wood and throws her wee body against it with all her weight hastened by Felix's fleetness.

It takes less than a minute for the trauma nurse to assess the situation and head for the back of the van where the oxygen tanks are, sliding the side door open and getting her gear set up quickly. Then she hauls one of the portable tanks out, knowing she doesn't have enough oxygen to handle all of this, and pulls her medical bag out. Pausing only a moment, she speed-dials her cell. "It's me — pull in all the flight nurses and get the clinic open. As soon as the vans come back in, empty 'em and …. belay that. Get two of them packed to the gills with bottled water, blankets, and gauze, tape, triage gear for scrapes and cuts, smoke inhalation. Empty out the other two and get 'em out to the Rookery; any drivers or volunteers who know first aid, I need them on-site now. Dunno how many people we may need to transport to the hangar, if any. Filatov's place doesn't even look open, but we may be able to break in there and get O2 if we need it. Roll now." And then Megan hangs up the phone and calmly makes her way toward the nearest group of people sitting on the ground after fleeing the fire and wades into the fray with nothing more than a medical bag and a rolling tank of oxygen to see to the worst of the injuries that present themselves in her path. The people still trapped inside? There's jack and shit she can do about that. But she'll be damned if she'll let people suffer when she can do something to help.

Viv, though winded and still gasping, is quick to flag down Megan, relief flooding her eyes. "Please, some of the girls— I'm okay, but— thank you," the madame is saying, all but dragging the woman towards where Maya has been joined with another employee, sobbing broken and holding her arm tight to her torso, a shining red burn visible, and— there's more where that came from as people continue to find ways out. Eloni is muttering to another security guard— "Mu-Qian's still inside, so're the ones in the basement— " and less obviously, his voice fills the healer's head. Where are you, doctor? Are you okay?

Logan turns on a heel to glare at Ghost, as if to say, in the angles of his expression and curl of his lip, that now is not the fucking time, 5'10" worth of barely contained anger from the top of his blonde head down to the soles of his faux-iguana shoes. "Yeah, this works out just perfectly for you, doesn't it?!" the pimp snarls, his Englishly accented voice twisted in anxiety, petulance. "Never mind that everything I have worked for is just— "

Burning, and burning. He could cry. Maybe later! Right now, he's angry. Logan takes a breath, casts an accusing glance along the street, at the gawkers and helpers alike. "What the fuck are you all looking at?" he hears himself hiss, around the tiiime… Around the time bright green eyes settle cat-like on a face.

If fate favoured him, that face would be Richard Cardinal and his calculating stare. It apparently doesn't, because Abigail Beauchamp falls into range instead. He sees Deckard too, sure, but he sees Abby.

"Bitch." Synapses fire wildly, a conclusion is made, before Logan can even think it. The sawed shotgun goes up, its turn to fire wildly, a singular BLAM cracking its noise across the street, a few startled cries and the figures of people ducking when the (ex?)brothel owner shoots, once. It's not the most still of shots, but it has people scattering. Viv, Eloni, most can only turn shocked stares towards their employer, although the latter is quickly moving in with a glance to Ghost.

Even within the burning building itself, the sound can be heard.

Smoke, fire, heat. Black, orange, and distortions like the artefacts splattered across the physical reality depicted by the image. In the middle of this havoc, there's a woman who passes, at first, for a manikin wrought entirely of plastic and silk: white. Her hair is ivory, each strand of it thick and colorless as the fibers of ermine, her skin in matching albaster, her clothes— always that mourning shade of nothing.

It's Mu-Qian that Bebe barges in on. Her knees are folded underneath her in a crab-angled sprawl of helpless dismay, the layers of her skirt haphazard around her like the spatter of a ruined camelia blossom against the sanguine wine-color of the carpet. "Wo buzhidao-" she looks up at the doorway. Her eyes alone retain their color, wide, dark, glistening with maniacal grief. "Bebe. Wode zhangfu de zhaopian— zai zheir ne?"

Outside, a sudden spray of splinters accompanies the next massive flux of super-heated air trapped somewhere inside the bowels of the whorehouse. A wall goes up, a corner of the roof. Litter comes slamming down, crooked bars of wood, sharded drywall, then a blech of smoke; Ghost steps back, snagging away from his so-called master's side seconds before Logan spots Abigail.

He hears the shotgun go off, mind you, but he only hears it. Comes out of recoil just in time to see the back of Logan's head, blocking whatever idiot target he was picking out of the spectator's crowd. Swatting random construction shit out of the air, he shouts at the pimp, the picture of apopleptic exasperation: "Are you fucking finished here, or should I kill you myself?"

What? "You'll live." Pearl's dark eyes regard Cardinal as that soft click is heard. She reaches up to flick the other earbud from her ear, and then stuffs them both into her back pocket with the ipod. They almost make it in. One dangles earbud dangles behind her knee. "A fire is the perfect time to have a fire hose." It would be a reasonable statement if not for the previous comments. "See someone you hate?" Cardinal has that look in his eyes. She turns to regard the steadily growing crowd outside the (Hot) Happy (Now With Flaming Patrons) Dagger. Twice the searing death, half the wait. "You're thinkin' somethin' real stupid, ain'tcha?" She jumps as a flashBOOM of a shotgun blast echoes across the street.

The sudden eruption of gunfire causes the thief to tense up, one arm lashing out across Pearl's chest to shove her back towards the door of the shop; but it's not him that's been spotted, it's not them that the bullets are sailing towards at slightly over the speed of sound. Richard's head turns, looking in the same direction… oh, wait, he knows that scream. Oh, he did not just do that. The safety on the heavy pistol tucked into the underarm-holster that Cardinal's wearing, and he pulls it; the weapon heavy in his hand, as his eyes glint with a tinge of the murderous.

"Oh, yes," he hisses under his breath, "Very much so. Get the fuck inside and stay there." A slight drop of his head downward to keep down, and he starts down the block at a quick jog, trying to keep the crowd and cars between him and the gathering of pimp and security out the front of the place, moving with the deft surity of someone who makes his business not being noticed.

Moment the gun came up in her direction and the mouth of the words, her heart sank down into the pit of her stomach and she turned to run. She knew exactly what he was thinking. Who here would have as much reason as her to burn that place down? Okay, more than a few others present but still. A step or two away from Deckard is about as far as Abigail gets before the pellets from the gun find their way to it's intended target. Finds it's way into a couple people around her too but there's a familiar scream to some as Abigail jerks then stumbles as she goes down, hands clamping to her left side and hiding whatever damage might have been inflicted and to presumably, possibly keep what she's clamping over, in. Not to say there's not a pretty trail of pellets and blood perforating her tank top. Her screaming doesn't stop and neither does her attempts to get out of view of Logan before he tries to make it a head shot this time.

A place he liked. Deckard's already looking over at Abby when she says his name, narrow jaw set in a bristled aside in memory of his dignity. Or whatever he had that looked like dignity. It takes him a crucial beat to realize why she's saying it, chilly blue eyes lifting to catch the swinging 'round of a sawed off muzzle.

There's a lightning flash of fire and a sting in his ribs before adrenaline can shock itself down his spine into long-boned fingers and bent knees. Abigail is already screaming.

Real time returns in a soot-choked rush, volcanic reds and oranges smearing bright through the dark. There's no running when Flint jerks his own gun from its rest under the grey of his coat, two rapid-fire muzzleblasts lancing right back down the open street for Logan and Friends with less of the thunder his shotgun packs. Shit.

What the— okay, that's just not— Bebe's brain marginally misfires as she lays eyes on the ivory ghost that is Mu-Qian. To say that she is surprised to find the Chinese woman sprawled out on the floor in John Logan's smoldering office might be more an unnecessary exaggeration; it's not so much the woman herself as it is the condition she's in, whitewashed and floundering. She sputters out something initially incoherent before English returns to the tip of her smoke-stung tongue and she finds air enough in her blackened lungs to shout, "Let's go!" If their would-be boss in in here somewhere, tucked under his own desk or hidden behind the door out of cowardice or fear, then Bebe's content to leave him here to burn. Her priorities have suddenly shifted.

The shotgun blast bring Megan's head around sharply in shock — first, to verify the stupid goddamn asshole ain't shootin' in her direction; second, to ascertain that someone's gonna put the smackdown on his head. The gun she's supposed to be carrying is locked inside the van at this moment. The man shouting at Logan (and the one running toward him that she can't see) seems to suit her needs just fine, and then all hell breaks loose because the people on the other side start shooting back. FUCK! Megan looks at Vivian grimly. "Get 'em up, we're getting the hell out of the line of fire," she says urgently even as she hauls Maya to her feet to hustle her down the street just a ways toward where she parked the van so they can use it for cover, away from the gunplay. "And if that fucker gets me shot, so help me fucking God, I'm gonna walk over there and rip his motherfuckin' head off with my bare hands," she mutters as she tries to move Maya, her bag, and the oxygen while leaving Viv to handle the other girls starting to make their way out.

The fire is moving, as fire's often do. The neighbouring building, dubious in intention but occasionally a gambling den on the weekends, is already in flames and growing, and towards the other side, an arm of fire is already tickling the well known walls of Tucker's Pawn Shop. There are buckets of water being thrown in an effort to localise the flames, someone shouting orders— all that stops when the shotgun blast goes off, followed by the quieter but notable bullets being let loose from a pistol. People scatter, and Viv can only follow Megan's instruction, getting an arm around the second woman and following the redhead and Maya towards quieter corners of the street. This is a nightmare.

Ghost's words are heard, snipped off at the end of the first shot sent their way. Someone screams, and Eloni has his Glock out, more noise adding to the cacophony as he fires back once, twice, unconsciously mimicking the enemy before he's scurrying back— towards the burning building, although not leaving while there's still an employer to protect.

Although. Is he really? What with the fire, and all. Hmm. Loyalties have a habit of breaking down like so much damaged wood when— it isn't really there. But maybe for ten more minutes - Eloni doesn't particularly want to see a riot.

There's a clatter as lupara bounces off the road, manages not to discharge. Its fall is a little louder than Logan's, as he's knocked off his feet, back hits the road, only a breath of air expelled from his lungs than any screaming. It's hard to tell where he got hit, at first, his jacket is black and shiny and so when blood begins to seep through it— Ow. Blinking rapidly as if not just sure what happened, the pimp flings a hand out to grip onto slick road, to get up, to get his gun, an arm wrapped around him as he tries to coordinate long legs beneath him but it's not— really—

Working out.

Inside, with an arm curled around the Chinese healer, Bebe and Mu-Qian find themselves with a dilemma. With the front of the house burning down, it's impossible to go back the way they came, so with loping movements, it's towards the back, down concrete steps where the fire hasn't yet trapped them, though the smoke is a bitch, thick and choking no matter how much they bow their backs.

Down, down, into the basement.

"HELP ME!" screams a feminine voice, hysterical, from behind one of the locked doors when their feet make pounding, echoing footsteps through the corrider. Hands come up to rattle at the bars set into one of the heavily locked doors, a face trying to peer through the smoke. "Please! Don't leave me! Oh god, please, I'm sorry, don't leave me!"

"Zaopian," Mu-Qian keeps repeating, a senseless litany that roils at the bottom of Bebe's hearing even as they hasten through the roar of rolling air pressure and oppressive maw of incandescent heat. "Zaopianwode zhangfu— photograph. Logan, nage xiaotou.

"Thief." She's translating her complaint, of all things. Neither flames nor the sudden razor-edged cloud of smoke that comes stinging through seem to bother her: there's something different about her skin, flawlessly impervious to whatever heat fingers had scorched the hem of her skirt black.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, she pays no mind to the captive trapped in the basement. She does, however, fetch the younger woman a sidelong glance of sullen expectation, her arms tightening reflexively around Bebe's waist for a brief moment, unwilling to allow the misappropriated speedster from doing what her nature would incline her to, before she relinquishes her with a mutter.

"Kuaidian bai." You don't have to speak Mandarin to understand. 'Hurry, then.'

Ghost is beginning to think he would have better luck collaring a radio transmitter to a husky and setting it loose in Linderman's main tower lobby, possibly. He's dropped into a crouch at the base of the wall, blinking up at the column and wash of dense gray vapor eating all the pristine, needlepricked black out of the sky. Jerks a glance down, sidelong at Logan. Takes him a moment, long enough for a secondhand glimpse into the young man's mind, but he does notice. The blood.

An ungentle hand locks on Logan's ankle, hauls about as ceremoniously as a draft horse under the brunt of a whip. The metaphor works on multiple levels. Effectively blinkered by concentration, he pays little mind to the Chicago Air representative womanhandling the hookers along in his periphery. "Fire a few shots off," he shouts at Eloni. "Cover, and let's get the fuck out."

Pearl's meeting with the side of the building isn't quite gentle. "Owfuck." She racks an elbow and yelps as Cardinal barks orders at her. "Go fuck yourself, you fuck." The response is conversational, but she does hop to to stalk after the silly Con with every intention of smacking the shit out of him when she catches up. She does not run or jog to catch him. That would not be dignified. "Get the fuck back here." Yeah, she's a native New Yorker. Yes, she's stalking after a man with a gun toward a man with a gun who has murder in his eyes. So what else is new?

As he's pursued by an angry tattoo artist moving at an unhurried saunter in the midst of a gunfight - no wonder she lets Cardinal crash on her couch, she has no sense of judgement or danger - the felon skids himself to a halt beside a car that may or may not be abandoned. It's certainly as much rust as steel by this point. Down to one knee, and he hefts the pistol in his hand, blood in his eyes as he looks through all the chaos that's spreading across the street. Fedor gave him this gun, long ago. It's silenced, it doesn't eject cartridges - an assassin's weapon, dating from old Russia. It's probably horribly illegal to possess, but what the hell, it's not like anything else he does is legal.

Through all the confusion he catches sight of the pimp again, as he's trying to get up, as he's being grabbed hold of by a man whose face is familiar - even if he's only learning the mind behind those eyes. Sorry, little ghost, he brings the gun up, waiting for a good shot, I don't give a shit what you're planning with John…

Hide, hide. hide.

She hears Flint's gun go off, the bark of his weapon echoed by Eloni's but no other shotgun blast. The people scattering from their area and the hitting of a few people give her the cover she needs to scrabble away from them and around the corner. Hide, get out of sight and be not found regardless that there's smears of blood to mark her trail along the outer walls of the building that she and flint had come out of at the commotion. The screaming from her has stopped, replaced by sobs and pained sounds you might perhaps hear from an animal. She only came to visit Flint, she just came to feed him and talk and now.. no, she wasn't gonna die here, not in the rookery. She didn't survive John Logan to die on this stupid island. Down Abigail hunkers behind a dumpster, wadding up a sweater from her messenger bag against her side, babbling prayers to the black garbage bags she's leaning and bleeding against. She's gonna die in her bed, from old age not random shotgun blast by pimp.

Good christian girls don't make it to the pearly gates if they die in places like this.

The first of Eloni's shots hisses and cracks harsh off the concrete at Deckard's back, but the second report fails to echo past a subtle whud of metal to flesh that seems to cut the sound off short. Pain doesn't register instantly. There's a flash of hot black across the wild rake of his eyes through the smoke, picking out more than one face that shouldn't be here in the time it takes him to stumble back half a step.

Gun warm in his hand, he swings his head sideways enough to note Abby's absence and really starts to back himself up, right foot weaving unsteadily behind the left before he turns tail after the glossy black trail she's left in the street for him to follow.

Truth be told, Bebe has no idea what Mu-Qian is saying. As worldly wise as the young whore used to be before she was kidnapped on the high seas, she'd never gotten around to learning how to spit out anything more Mandarin than greasy duck. Even as the mysterious woman in white releases her to play hero in the black fog flooded depth of John Logan's personal jail, Bebe is powerless against the likes of the locks that the pimp employs to keep his prisoners in place. She pounds her wee fists against the door behind which she can hear someone screaming but to no avail. Not even moving at a speed faster than the eye can register does she do anything other than break the already fragile blood vessels in her own hands. Bruises. She's going to have them. Burns, too, on her arms. But, it's going to get a lot worse before it gets anything akin to better.

The ceiling overhead — also known as the flaming floor of the main level — has begun to not so subtly deteriorate in a mist of twinkling orange embers that rain down on Mu-Qian and Bebe both (and, no doubt, the woman on the other side of the unconquered door, judging by the screams). There's only a split second's worth of warning before an almost deafening crack echoes against their ears and a whole section of the whorehouse's dance floor caves in atop them!

…or, at least, it would have if Bebe hadn't engaged the very last reserve of the clean oxygen left in her veins in order to speedster both herself and Mu-Qian through the door that leads out into the alley. She propels them both outside of the building with such alacrity that they very nearly slam headlong into the brick wall of the adjoining building. Bebe tumbles out onto the dank and dirty ground and lies motionless, face to the ground; a mouthful of soot and pale skin smeared with a black mask worn only from nostrils to neck.

What is— Logan is having even more of a hard time getting up to kill people. No! What! With a grunt, he manages to look down the length of his own body where his leg is drawn up, squirming like a fish on a hook, and— nng. A hand grips onto the road like cat-claws when the feline in question doesn't want to be bathed, but that's about all the fight Logan puts up as Ghost drags him out of the line of fire before it can truly get out of hand.

"D-don't— "

The Brit's words are strained taut, protesting, blood loss, pain starting to come to the forefront. Concrete hisses beneath expensive fabric, tugs at it. "It— 's Armani— " Bloodied with a bullet hole, but being dragged across the grimy asphalt of the Rookery is not much better. The pained, growling whine, choked and hitching, that emits from Logan's throat in the next moment has nothing to do with his wardrobe, however.

Then something happens. It's like a pinball game of reactions dinging off the skulls of multiple brains. It happens just before Eloni takes that order, fires off one more warning round towards the lanky figure of Flint Deckard, the bullet puncturing the wall of the building behind him— and then his head tilts, and the telepath is quick to turn, lifting his gun. Panic only registers in the eyes of the dreadlocked Samoan, his face stoic as ever as he squeezes off another shot—

Towards a car. But it doesn't hit metal. The bullet, instead, slams into the torso of one Pearl Valentin mid-stride.

Oh, shit. He didn't sign up to this job to kill little girls. Just to— imprison them as needed. "Around the building, the parking area," Eloni mumbles, hurriedly, to Ghost. He doesn't give John Logan a second glance as he starts to run for his chosen escape route, despite the flames of the building he's moving around. Which is good timing for him, as Mu-Qian and Bebe suddenly propel themselves outwards just as he turns the corner, and the sound of the foundation of the Dagger collapses in on itself. "Bebe," he says, breathless surprise, dark eyes going to Mu-Qian before he's moving to help the women up.

The fire is dying, at least, but only because the building is too. No one's screaming anymore. Inside, anyway.

Mu-Qian hates everything right now. So does Ghost, coincidentally. Their ill-tempered thoughts overlap specifically on the particulars of John Logan's wardrobe, though this is not the time for that.

Accented by a flounce of skirts, the half-Asian woman's bare toes slap out across the pavement, slowing gradually from the frenetic propulsion of Bebe's stride and evening with Eloni's help. Even the flesh above her cuticles shows perfectly white, her nails, the soles of her feet. Impervious to the bite of wood shards, ruined concrete and blowing glass powder, the strangeness of her flesh is obviously greater proof against the prick of damaged construction materials than Armani ever could be.

She streaks soot down her cheek with one hand, blinks hard at the squared stretch of car park in front of them. "You hurt your hands," she says, without looking at Bebe. There's an undertone of accusation to her accented voice, but mingled into it a lucid tendril of affection. Finally.

Ghost catches his balance on the ball of one boot-clad foot, even his psychic projection swerves swiftly back into its socket in the seat of his soul— if 'soul' is the word for it, the secondhand vision with which he'd spotted Cardinal's gun arm out, sighting down the barrel of his semi-auto. "Nice," he bites out at the Samoan, flat with the sort of criticism that just dares Eloni to compromise his professionalism further.

Unceremoniously, the Sicilian hauls John up into the air, grip on his pants waist, then his leg, over his shoulder. He's among the Dagger's refugees in a moment, bedraggled pimp in tow, bearing the Englishman's weight aloft as easily as he would a dinner tray. "Where the fuck are we going?"

Pearl is given a few seconds to catch up to Cardinal. No sense of danger is right. Probably could have stopped at no sense. It's suicide walking around out here like that, as if the flames and the live fire mean nothing. Maybe she's just totally insane. Wouldn't you have to be to live here? The brunette drags a foot back to kick the crouching gunman, standing behind his partial cover of a car. She's slow to duck down, slow to remove herself from the line of fire, and she's about to deliver one hell of an ass kicking. Literal.

But that would be when a piece of metal punches through Pearl's vest, chest, heart, and out her back, sending a fine spray of her blood out across the pavement.

Goddamn, no one gets to touch Cardinal's ass but Logan. Message received, sir.

Behind the car, behind Cardinal, the tattooist crumples to her knees, then the pavement with a soft thud. Her hair spills over her face, cheek against the dirty grit of the pavement, and she doesn't move. Blood trickles from her body slowly, as her heart has ceased to beat.

"Not now, Pearl," Cardinal's voice is tight, terse, as he tries to get a bead on the pimp, moving his aim slightly as people move about, as the bodyguards try to drag the man out of the line of fire - and of fire, period - and then the telepath is turning, and he grimaces, ducking back a little—

— and he hears the soft, wet thump of a bullet striking center mass. The crack of bone beneath lead. There's no pain that goes along with it, though, just a sudden dread that prickles up the line of his neck as he glances over, just in time to see the woman there collapse to the pavement like a puppet with its strings cut.


"Pearl," he whispers… and then he's pushing up over the car's hood again with a snarl upon his lips, murder flaring in his mind and his eyes, that gun coming up. It's silenced; it's hard to hear it in all the noise as he opens fire, somewhat indiscriminately.

Follow that trail Flint, it'll lead you like a rainbow to a pot of gold, or at least a Staten Island dumpster and it's golden haired inhabitant behind it. She doesn't see anything going on outside the alley, or even past her hiding hole, Abigail's in her own little world of hurt.

"Abby!" Deckard's voice rings hollow inside his own head, muffled by the cracked brace of his skull around the left side to spill out all the louder on the right. His ragged breathing drags and kicks at the smoke drifting sullen across the alley's mouth, blue eyes pitched into shadow beneath the hood of his brow. There's no spectral glow to pick her out of the dark, and he's slow to slip his way through the mess she's made once his vision has finally adjusted for the absence of firelight around the dumpster.

There's a scuff and the huff of whiskey-stink breath in her face once he's finally tripped himself down into a crouch in front of her, one shaking hand already searching at her side while the other exchanges gun for knife. He doesn't say anything. What's there to say? Sorry?

Though Cardinal's wild firing aims for the ones that look like they deserve it, they've all but scattered into the night, loyalty to the man Cardinal really wants to hurt left in the hazy ash and smoking of the smoldering ruins of the brothel. Bullets puncture concrete after Teo's hasty exit. One goes down, a spray of black liquid in this light and a piercing yell as Cardinal's aim catches someone only guilty by association, crumpling to the ground, his own gun scattering out of his hands for either a kind hearted soul to pick up for him as they drag him somewhere safe, or a scavenger. It's about fifty-fifty if only thanks to Megan's call for medical reinforcements.

Otherwise, Cardinal is firing at blackened brick, burning wood, and light. The last sign of cursive advertising, long since stopped glowing bright pink, finally shatters under the intense heat. Over yonder, there's a whoop of celebration from people uncaring of the developments that took place after Logan's first gunshot, when it seems the fire's been cut off enough to not bring down Shooters', the pawn shop spared as well if kind of wet and ashy. Not everyone can really celebrate, however, the ugly scar in the Rookery smoking like a used cigarette.

Somewhere, a blonde woman and her hero of the hour is bleeding, and a tattooist is doing the same thing if slower. There's a lot of mess to clean up. Logan's not gonna be doing any of it.

Over Ghost's shoulder, Logan's only given a spitting curse of pain, a hiss and a whimper, before going slack there like an especially heavy and expensive throw scarf. Bleeding and silent, he doesn't get to witness his brothel's very last moments.

Eloni is collecting the motionless Bebe into his arms through Mu-Qian's observation, letting her head rest against one beefy shoulder, moving hurriedly, trying to leave the memory of his own fuck up somewhere behind him as he moves across the dark parking space. "Away," he mutters, thickly, to Teo, and glances at him. "I can drive," is his addition, as they approach the van stashed out of range of the dying fire.

A van the colour of periwinkle.

"I think everybody in this situation is like a fucking cartoon character!" Ghost grinds out, meaninglessly, under his breath, even as the bump and sway of the unconscious corpus sprawled out over his shoulder jarrs the rhythm of his respiration doing so. It smells like shit out here, and Logan is accumulating a moist sensation down the back of his jacket.

They pile into the car. Injured first, which means Logan's limp frame is rolled out in a manner not unlike a carpet, useless limbs flipped out, end over end, sheet fabric snagged and jerked by the edges, and then his torso flattened out under the push of Ghost's long palm, his knee nudging the man into staying roughly within the edges of the long, cushioned seat.

Mu-Qian is a white-fingered grip on Bebe's scabbed wrist, the force of character and insistence somehow greater than the svelte mass of her body and ordinary tendencies toward coy reticence. "Come— come on," she urges, ducking her stringy mess of pale hair in underneath the edge of the van, the girl tugged in after her like a favored ragdoll. "Eloni.


They're gone. God… damn it. Cardinal stares into the burning embers of the building for long moments after his vision is free of targets, jaw tensing sharply and a vein throbbing somewhere along the side of his head. "Son of a bitch," he hisses under his breath, "I will see you dead you fucking…"

He cuts himself off. Talking to yourself is a sign of madness, after all. The gun drops down to his side, and he turns; dropping down to one knee beside Pearl, under cover of the car, reaching to slide his fingers along her neck, hoping against hope for a pulse. "C'mon. Pearl." Soft words, "Get the fuck up…"

X-ray vision would have been mighty convenient, yes, in sussing her out. But The man pawing at her smells like whiskey and all sorts of bad things, and the copper scent of blood. The association with that first smell is Flint and it cuts through the panicked haze enough that the initial halfhearted swats to drive away whoever it was are ceased and her screams for help die out on her tongue half spoken. Always there to save her.

The bloody sweater, soaking up more as her body chugs it out, is pulled away so he can get his hand on skin, or at least over the gaping chunk that the main mass of buckshot left. She knows what he's trying to do, knows that he can't dig out the pellets right now but that sealing her up is better than not.

"I can't die. Not here Flint. I can't die here. Not by him, not by him. Anyone else but him. Please" One red coated hand grabbing for his collar in a sob ridden voice and holding tight. "Save me Flint, please save me"

"Shhh." Deckard's shushing wavers too much to be particularly reassuring. He's shaken, still shaking, blood thick in its pulse down the side of his neck from a furrow mauled narrow along his temple and over his ear. Skull bone shows pink through globs of bloody gelatin condensing in his hair. Does Abby's ability grow back braincells? He's taken some heavy losses in that area within the last week or so.

He winces when his fingers slip into the mangled mess of her side, crouch adjusted into a kneel when the drag of her hand at his collar nearly pulls him over on top of her. Decidedly not the time for that. "I can't — I can't see where the shot is." There's a metal click and skitter after he brushes over one distorted lump of metal near the surface and hooks it out with an unthinking curl of one finger, but he doesn't venture further than that.

The warm, smothering buzz of her own ability is stutters and fogs into murky existence from the splay of his left hand across the injury. The right, knife and all, goes to his collar to grasp after her damp hand there, only to resettle unthinking at the curve of her cheek when he leans over to squint at his progress.

Rain starts to fall and bounce crystals off the blue-purple top of the shining van as it eases its way out of the parking lot at a purr, past the abandoned station, through the broken open entry way and into a backstreet, leading away from the smoking remains of the brothel where hazy grey hangs suspended against the backdrop. Its acrid scent will linger along and the ruins - remains of brick and glass, of people too - will take a while to shovel away.

But the Rookery will continue, minus one less neon bright eyesore. And within a few hours, as rain gutters out the remaining flames and crushes down the stinging smoke and haziness, it'll be just another night.

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